Margaret Barnard was born in the suburbs of Chicago. After moving to New York City for college, and subsequently falling in love with it there, she vowed that she would never return—but an opportunity to work for Piece & Co. changed her mind. Margaret feels passionate about Piece & Co.’s mission of providing artisans with consistent work by partnering with leading fashion and retail brands to create beautiful, handmade products. In her role in account management, Margaret sees firsthand the impact that sustainable employment has on families and communities.
TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE ROLE OF AN ACCOUNT MANAGER.
I’m the primary contact for our current brand partners, responsible for client satisfaction. Meaning, I work with our partners on everything from presenting new textile options to providing impact information on collaborations. With tons of raw textiles and materials in inventory, we’re able to provide brands with a wide range of style and color options. Each of our collaborations comes with a built-in story and we provide these assets to our clients via videos, photos and quotes from artisans. I stay in constant communication with our clients to keep them informed and up-to-date throughout the sampling and production phases of their jobs.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT IN BUILDING STRONG, SUCCESSFUL PARTNERSHIPS WITH CLIENTS?
It’s a combination of things—we work hard to ensure that the connection with our clients goes uninterrupted. We want them to know that we are here for them every step of the way. A lot of our customers have had problematic experiences working with other companies who source materials. We want to assure them that when they work with Piece & Co., they are in good hands. We also strive to keep things fresh—we’re always getting in new materials and we sample these textiles specifically for each individual client’s needs. We are excited to be working with these brands and we want them to know that.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT WORKING FOR PIECE & CO.?
That’s easy! I love seeing how excited our partnering brands are about the mission and the materials. It’s fun to see how our fabrics fit into upcoming trends and how our brand partners take the designs and make them part of their own brand aesthetic. Our dedication to fair and ethical employment practices is at the core of everything we do. And our clients are as equally committed to creating high-quality, fashionable products as they are to sourcing ethical textiles and accessories.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FIRST ARTISAN COLLABORATION.
The first collaboration I worked on was the Rachel Roy/FEED block print tote bag. Block printing is such an interesting technique. A high degree of skill is required for both the placement of motifs and the application of pressure. No two pieces of fabric are the same. After the totes were finalized, it was so powerful to hear about the impact the project had on the women who worked on it and their families.
ARE THERE ANY NEW PROJECTS THAT YOU’RE WORKING ON THAT YOU CAN SHARE?
We are working with a really amazing group of designers for an exclusive collection with Nordstrom for Spring 2015. I wish I could say more—but I can assure you that it's going to be amazing.
NAME THREE ITEMS IN YOUR CLOSET THAT YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
This is an impossible question to answer! At the moment, I would say a ribbed tank top (which I pair with pretty much everything all summer long), my purple silk button-up dress from Cacharel and my favorite strappy chunky heels form Madewell. Oh, and anything and everything from Sandro.