Allison Reaves

Who are you, and what do you do?

Allison Reaves – owner & designer of The General Public, a lifestyle shop that focuses on curating unique goods from ethical designers. We also have an in-house clothing line which actually came before the shop and was the catalyst to the storefront.

What has been one insight or lesson that has been most helpful in your career?

To have a solid vision, but to be flexible with how that vision grows and evolves.

What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress.

I make a lot of small mistakes weekly, ranging from sewing or design mistakes to realizing something I ordered is or isn’t doing as well as I thought it would. Each one has led to a new perspective or outcome I would never have seen before, and a valuable learning experience.

Project forward ten years. How will your industry or field be fundamentally different then? What opportunities do you see?

I hope in 10 years, the slow fashion movement will have become known and understood by the general consumer. People will be more conscious in their purchases, and aware of the waste the fast fashion industry has created and its impact on our Earth. If people’s mindsets are around quality over quantity, and being thoughtful about who they buy from that will be a great step in the right direction.

What are some bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

Being in a creative industry, I don’t find myself thinking about people’s advice as being wrong. There are so many different ways of doing things, someone may just do things different from me.

In the last two years, what have you become better at saying no to?

In the last two years, I’ve become much better at saying no to doing custom design work or tailoring/alterations for people.

What is the one book you recommend most often and why?

I don’t have a particular book I recommend, but I do encourage people to talk with other people in their industry or industries they are interested in. Networking and having conversations with people about how they got to where they are, what worked, what didn’t. I think that kind of one-on-one connection is so valuable!

What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?

To try a lot of different things, network with people in your industry, and just start taking baby steps. Every big step in life is just a lot of little ones that come together over time.

What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?

I don’t really have a quote I aim to live by, but a mantra of mine since college has been “Relax into the feeling of chaos.”