Small Business Profile: Rachael Gladser, Owner of Rawson


How did you start RAWSON?
I started thinking of the concept with my roommate, we were really into a skater vibe that was coming out of Australia and California, and we liked Vans, and that look--masculine but funky--so we started thrifting with that vision in mind. We started doing pop-ups in Logan Square and Humboldt Park, then Pilsen eventually, and it just kind of grew from there. My roommate moved to L.A. and kept seeking out great things, so I just focused on [RAWSON] as a side project, which has been fun.

What’s your background?
I studied urban planning when I was in college, and I think I was directed towards that field because it partnered with architecture, design, community, and small business ownership, which always really intrigued me. So I studied that in Pittsburgh, and I moved to Chicago and stayed connected to small business owners, mostly women, and a few other small side jobs. Working with them, making things together, or coming up with new ideas together was really enticing, so I just want to do that all the time.

What inspires your work?
I think, lately, the most interesting thing has been looking at people who take personal style from the internet and adapting it to a liveable street style in Chicago that you can go on the train with, or casually go to an event with. So yeah, personal style of other people is very interesting. Also seeking out some general movements, and analyzing it in terms of cultural movement and what’s the zeitgeist or what’s happening right down the street, because to me, that is interesting.  

What brought you to Chicago?
I grew up outside of the city, so after school, I wanted to return and establish some roots here. I’ve enjoyed the flow of the city, so I’ve stayed.

If you weren’t here, where would you be?
Definitely Los Angeles. I’m drawn to the independent designers out there, and street style, as well as the weather. At least to try that for a year would be potentially do-able. But, I wouldn’t live in New York.

How do you spend your free time/how do you take time for yourself?
Lately, I’ve been walking on the 606. It helps solve some of the anxiety by getting some fresh air.

Why do you think it’s important for creative women to come together and collaborate?
It’s so critical because it adds warmth to what you’re doing, and that is so crucial to feeling good about yourself and what you put out into the world. Breaking down that professional barrier is something that creative people can do, and to have a group of people who are into that is so much better. I don’t like being super phony with people, and warmth can only add to your life good intention.

What is your advice for young creatives?
Just do the work. I think that’s valid. But also pace yourself, check in with yourself, pace your growth. Because the ideas will come slowly over time, I don’t think anyone can plan their concepts that far in advance.

How would you describe your style/aesthetic?
Modest in a lot of regard--modest in shapes. Simple, with a little bit of edge. But not too overt--subtle edge. I’m not sure if that’s what I’m wearing always, but that’s what I appreciate. Like a frayed hem, a pretty neckline, a rise fitting you just so. I also really like cinematic dressing. Not over the top or grabbing attention, or dressing to fit in. It’s simple color stories and shapes that are consistent.

How do you stay inspired?
I really like Clare Vivier. The way she sells her brand by putting it with women that have personal style is really inspiring to me, and to see what she is producing is inspiring. I just like how she presents her world to people. So that’s one side of it, but Instagram is super inspiring. French bloggers are really cool, they’ve got a much sexier style usually.

Morning routine?
I’d say coffee, oatmeal. Otherwise, I don’t have a routine. I did when I was at work doing a full-time job.

Favorite indulgence?
Sour Patch Watermelons.

Favorite woman run brands/businesses?
Oh so many. Jenni Kayne, Jesse Kamm, General Store, Esby Apparel, Beatrice Valenzuela, Hillary from Bliss and Mischief, Mother Mag,  and most dearly, people here that are running their own businesses like Kristen and Merl who have taken risks and keep doing it. Women-run businesses are the most inspiring.

Your star sign?

Favorite flower/plant?
I really like peonies.

Savory or sweet?

Pizza or taco?

Coffee or tea?

Saturday or Sunday?
Saturday--there is more hope.

Movie or book or T.V.?

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