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Irina Rachow – founder of Everwild Designs with unique jewelry collections

According to Irina Rachow, founder of Everwild Designs, when you cross a catastrophe with creativity, you get opportunity. In 2020, the flagship boutique of her retail store group in San Diego was shut down due to an ongoing flooding incident from the restaurant above. After a year of insurance claims and disappointed shoppers, Irina chose not to reopen the shop, but to pivot into something closer to her heart – design and philanthropy.

With a notebook of ideas, from fantasy story outlines to odd invention ideas, she quickly settled on jewelry design with a tie-back to wilderness protection. Thus, Everwild Designs was founded, with five unique jewelry collections, each stemming from a particular place in Irina’s experiences, musings and lifestyle. She also enlisted her teenage daughter, Fairen, to provide a fresh design perspective and teach her the structure of creating and running a business.

The idea was simple: preserve wild spaces with funds from each piece of jewelry sold. After researching, the Rachow ladies partnered with the National Wildlife Federation and their Adopt-an-Acre program. Every item sold through their website would trigger an acre to be earmarked for wilderness preservation in perpetuity. The NWF negotiates with the BLM, ranchers, and farmers to buy out the land leases and permanently retire the land from public use. Everwild Designs has preserved over 1,000 acres and plans to continue for many years.

Irina has over 30 years of boutique ownership experience and has collaborated with many designers in apparel, handbags, luggage, and fashion accessories, including jewelry. Her connections in manufacturing, marketing, advertising, events, and negotiation have enabled her to quickly launch this new enterprise.

Known as a creative, Irina produces ideas, concepts, and designs. Her most recent endeavors have led her to create a collection incorporating natural elements, the Zodiac and fairytales. Her daughter brings a youthful and social-activist perspective, and her artistic talents bring a fresh take to some collections.

The Everwild family of brands features five uniquely creative jewelry collections:

Everwild incorporates animal talismans and messages with a more natural take on jewelry.

Dark Horse primarily focuses on the equestrian lifestyle, offering one-of-a-kind pieces.

Saints & Saviors incorporates past romance with treasures for everyone. This collection transcends the ages from Joan of Arc to Fleur de Lis.

Touchstone has a modern flair, with ‘hidden’ messages in raised stones fashioned after the Braille language. The ‘Beloved’ pendant and the ‘You Got This’ cuff bracelet make great gifts.

PickleBelle is not about pickles, but pickleball – the most prominent sport sweeping the country. This jewelry collection is fun and playful and is the primary focus of the Everwild brand. They are working hard to expand this perfect niche opportunity.

As with any start-up, Everwild faces challenges in getting in front of potential customers, setting up wholesale systems, and keeping up with the demand for larger orders. The goal is to be as environmentally sensitive as possible in all processes, which often increases the cost of supplies like packaging and raw materials. Negotiating with suppliers and buying in bulk helps them keep overhead low while remaining competitive within the industry.

Another challenge is growing a business from a small start-up to scale with as little overhead as possible. To do this, Irina and her daughter design and fulfill orders in their home office, outsource graphic design and IT work to skilled independent contractors, and research best practices and trends in fashion while continuously designing.

The opportunities Everwild Designs is excited about include the popularity and growth of sustainability in all things, including fashion. This direction creates more and more resources for the brand as factories recognize the importance of procuring recycled metals, non-farmed diamonds, and gentler processes to appeal to eco-conscious designers.

The internet has opened up easier-to-test sales channels. Everwild has a website and sells collections on Etsy and Amazon. Their goal for 2023 is to expand their wholesale network into pickleball pro shops, boutiques, and catalog companies. There are a few options to purchase their products wholesale, such as Faire and Handshake by Shopify, but they feel the best way to gain a foothold is through calls and designer reps.

When asked to share advice with people looking to start something new, Irina is excited to share her passion. “Grab a notebook and start ideating. Write down what you love – an activity, a sport, a hobby, poetry, or whatever else comes to you. Do you want to make something and sell it? Do you have knowledge people would pay to know? Create a road map to make your dreams a reality. Use sites like Etsy for information – a simple search will provide plenty. Get started, write out the business’s goals, and take it one step at a time. It could be a pivotal point in your life that brings joy, satisfaction, or a learning experience.”

It’s been several months since the inception of Everwild Designs (Irina established the business on April 22, 2022  – Earth Day), and the mother-daughter company is off to a strong start. Knowing that their sales protect the wilderness, their motivation to succeed is more significant. Irina turned the despair of a flooded shop into an opportunity to work with her daughter and protect the wilderness. She is excited about the future and plans to continue designing from the heart to keep the plains, valleys, mountains, and rivers Ever Wild.

Crystal Kadir