It is so easy to get stuck in a clothing rut when you have no distinct sense of style. Anine Bing, Danish influencer-turned-fashion-designer, doesn’t have this problem. Bing, 36, not only mastered her signature rocker look with ease, but she also launched a namesake fashion brand, ANINE BING, in 2012, giving her audience the opportunity to emulate her well-curated looks.
But the launch didn’t come out of nowhere. As an early 2000’s influencer who had a strong Scandinavian following, Bing was always on the hunt for the perfect white t-shirt or that lived-in-looking pair of denim and was never happy with what was out in the market.
“I … draw so much of my inspiration from old Rock ‘n’ Roll music and musician’s styles. They have such an effortless way of dressing,” says Bing. (She was also once the lead singer of Kill Your Darlings, a five-piece indie rock band, and you can see the influence seeped into her classic rocker boots, leather jackets and graphic tees.)
Clearly, Bing has done it all — from modeling, to singing in a rock band, to launching her fashion line while pregnant with her second child — but with everything constantly changing around her, it is hard for her to pick a favorite career path.
“Everything has led me to where I am at this moment and I feel so lucky for it all. Being in a band infused that Rock ‘n’ Roll aesthetic into my brand and juggling a business has taught me how to be a better mom and vice versa. All these experiences have pushed me to grow, and be creative, and take risks, and I’m so happy for all of them,” she explains.
Risks that have paid off. Bing recently closed a series A financing round (the first major investment round raised through venture capital) of $15 million led by Index Ventures, Greycroft Partners and Felix Capital, which they plan on using to expand the brand’s market presence. While a lot of brands are sticking to a digitally native model, ANINE BING recently opened up its 11th brick and mortar store.
“Our stores are a really important part of our business and have helped make us a worldwide name. Our headquarters are in Downtown Los Angeles, but we have European roots, so having a presence in Europe was really important to us,” she says.
Perhaps more important, however, is that people feel at home in her stores, an experience that you don’t get from online shopping. “Our stores are an extension of me and my style — we put pieces from our home into each store and decorate them in our signature style,” Bing says. “I think each is a really cool space where people can come and get amazing service and interact with our clothes first hand and experience the AB atmosphere.”
An atmosphere that Bing mimics in her own life. With everything going on, it would be understandable if she put self-care second. But she doesn’t. “I try to do something small each day even if it’s just a ten-minute face mask or meditation,” explains Bing. And with a hefty amount of beauty sleep — a 10 p.m. bedtime is her secret to looking fresh — her beauty routine is simple, at best. “I believe in moisturizing a lot and love a good exfoliator to remove all the build up after a long day,” she says. “Serums are a must because they feel really luxurious, and like I’m treating myself while also taking care of my skin.”
And with no signs of slowing down — ANINE BING just celebrated its seventh anniversary — it is almost guaranteed that the once-influencer has cemented a name for herself in the world of fashion. All because she couldn’t find the perfect white tee.
“Everything is so different now, it’s kind of hard to believe,” she says. “When we started, I was pregnant with my son, bringing my daughter into work with us, and packing every single box. We have the entire floor of our office building now but when we started, we had one room that acted as our office, our warehouse, our design space and everything else. It’s crazy to think it started out with me and my husband, and now we have almost 100 employees worldwide.”
And now, Bing is passing on her inside tips on how to take the leap and start your own business. One day, maybe this founder story will be your own.
- “Don’t underestimate your gut feeling and intuition — it’s gotten me further in my career than the most formal business plans.”
- “Know how every area of the business works, from customer service to operations. You’ll be able to hire specialists down the line with more precision if you know how it all works yourself.”
- “Be prepared to work really hard, and don’t expect any short cuts. It takes a lot of work, especially at first, but work hard and don’t forget to take care of yourself mentally throughout.”