We were so excited when one of our favorite bloggers, Zunera Serena, reached out to us about interviewing Rickie Freeman, our founder, CEO, and head designer. Rickie inspires all of us at Teri Jon every day, and we love that her artistry influences real women. That is why we couldn’t be more flattered to have had Rickie featured in Zunera’s series of Inspiring women. Zunera admires Rickie for encouraging women to make a statement through fashion, and we could not agree more. Here’s Rickie’s interview with Zunera, and you can also read more on Zunera’s blog.

Tell us about yourself?

Rickie Freeman was raised overseas and as a young child, spent her after school hours watching her father, a tailor, fit and sew men’s suits. Intrigued by her father’s meticulous attention to detail, he inspired Rickie Freeman discovered in herself an insatiable curiosity for fashion design. She eventually went on to pursue her own fashion dreams–moving to New York at age 17 and attending New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. Upon graduation, Rickie first worked at Evan Piconne from 1974-1976 and then was the lead designer for Elie Tahari from 1976 until 1978. It was just shortly after her time at Tahari when she founded Teri Jon, the now 35-year-old luxury brand.

What was a life-changing event and how did it change you?

Today, Rickie Freeman is not just a designer; like many of those wearing Teri Jon, she is a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. She is a motivated and a passionate professional. It is all of these roles combined that inspire Rickie to design her collection. Rickie’s vision is for every woman, regardless of her age, is to feel both comfortable and beautiful. Every woman should have the opportunity to look great no matter what size or body shape she has. With this at the forefront, Rickie personally tries on every style, ensuring it has a proper fit for all women. Teri Jon is a women’s lifestyle brand: making dresses, but also making memories.

What does style mean to you?

Good style should make you feel like yourself. With so many trends in constant flux, it is exciting to evolve and change along with current fashion. However, Rickie does have one style rule: think about yourself in a few months time looking back at pictures because you never want to regret a purchase!

Rickie aspires to bring more joy to the world. By dressing women in beautiful clothes, she wants to make them feel good about themselves and how they look. She also believes in offering kind words to someone who is down and generally trying to lift people up. Outside of her showroom in NYC, her hobbies include cooking, gardening, yoga, and spending time with her grandchildren.

What is your passion?

Rickie has a very humanitarian soul.  She is very passionate about knowledge and education. Had she not become a fashion designer, she would have gone into education. She dreams of helping children born into unfortunate circumstances learn to advance in life. The key to success is a good education, and everyone needs someone to believe in him or her. 

What women inspire you and why?

Rickie loves women for many different reasons. Powerful and smart female leaders motivate her to work harder. Soft-spoken women nurture her soul and remind me the importance of warmth and kindness. So many women inspire her. She admires Peggy Noonan for her proficiency, comprehension, eloquence, and passion for this country. She admires Diane von Furstenberg for her philanthropic generosity: Susan G. Komen, Women for Women International, and St. Jude’s to name a few of her organizations. She admires Anna Wintour because of her influence not only in fashion but also in politics and entertainment. She admires Miuccia Prada for carrying on her family’s legacy, supporting the arts, and developing international acclaim. Finally, she admire her daughters and her granddaughter; women who teach her and encourage her to grow every single day. And, of course, she could not succeed in this business without her customers. Thank you to all her loyal followers; she could not have made it so far without you!

Thank you again to Zunera Serena for this incredible interview with Rickie! If you want to learn more about Rickie, here is one of our favorite recent video interviews of her: