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Philanthropist Renee Greenstein: “I’d like to start a movement to end the shaming that goes on in social media”

…Not allow the shaming that goes on in social media. I am beginning to preach that each of us were born beautiful and beauty doesn’t come with a pretty face or what have you. Beauty is from within and to own who you are. My leadership would be to shame those people who hide behind […]

…Not allow the shaming that goes on in social media. I am beginning to preach that each of us were born beautiful and beauty doesn’t come with a pretty face or what have you. Beauty is from within and to own who you are. My leadership would be to shame those people who hide behind a wall of social media without coming out.


For my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Renée Greenstein. Renée is Founder and Designer of Women With Control® and Attitudes by Renée®. Two top selling fashion lines featured on QVC USA and UK. Both collections are a reflection of designer Renée Greenstein’s flair, genuine playfulness, and compelling life experiences. As part of her entrepreneur endeavors, philanthropy is a large focus. For years, Renée has been an active member and donor to the Central Park Conservancy, The Public Theater, Rock, and Rule Women’s Empowerment, Hattitude for Education and WIN; “Women in Need”. Renée has had the honor of being nominated for numerous awards including 2010 Product Concept, Apparel Award and QVC’s Q Star 2012 Award for QVC Rising Star as well as winning the 2011Q Star Award for QVC Product Concept in Apparel. Renée has had the pleasure of being interviewed on BuildingNY and featured on QVC’s podcast, Shop Culture. Renée has built an inspiring cult following that she calls her Wardrobe Warriors. She has dedicated a Facebook group on social media for her Wardrobe Warriors, where positive interaction from women all around the world partake in everyday. Renee’s passion and love for her designs and customers is apparent and genuine. When she is not appearing on QVC or creating new fashions for her line, she splits her time between their Malvern and NYC residences . She is happily married to Justin besides being a mother and grandmother which is a role she cherishes most of all.

For my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Renée Greenstein. Renée is Founder and Designer of Women With Control® and Attitudes by Renée®. Two top selling fashion lines featured on QVC USA and UK. Both collections are a reflection of designer Renée Greenstein’s flair, genuine playfulness, and compelling life experiences. As part of her entrepreneur endeavors, philanthropy is a large focus. For years, Renée has been an active member and donor to the Central Park Conservancy, The Public Theatre, Rock, and Rule Women’s Empowerment, Hattitude for Education and WIN; “Women in Need”. Renée has had the honor of being nominated for numerous awards including 2010 Product Concept, Apparel Award and QVC’s Q Star 2012 Award for QVC Rising Star as well as winning the 2011Q Star Award for QVC Product Concept in Apparel. Renée has had the pleasure of being interviewed on BuildingNY and featured on QVC’s podcast, Shop Culture. Renée has built an inspiring cult following that she calls her Wardrobe Warriors. She has dedicated a Facebook group on social media for her Wardrobe Warriors, where positive interaction from women all around the world partake in everyday. Renee’s passion and love for her designs and customers is apparent and genuine. When she is not appearing on QVC or creating new fashions for her line, she splits her time between their Malvern and NYC residences . Besides being a mother and grandmother, which is a role she cherishes most of all, she is happily married to Justin.


Thank you so much for joining us Renée. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

When I was young, my aunt who lived in Paris gave me my first Epi Louis Vuitton bag and then gave me my first Chanel jacket when I was 16 or 17. I happened to like the shape of it and I would always go to Europe and see how people dressed. That’s when I said to myself, I think I would like to do this. Of course, I went to college to major in theology — don’t ask me why — but I do like dealing with people. Theology, yes I understand the religions and everything but I dropped out of college and decided to come to New York and became a fit model. During this time I realized they don’t make clothes for real women. What is up with this? And then I thought, I need clothes that will fit me, I’m a real woman. Tyra Banks says, “We all have a little something something.” I don’t care if you’re a zero, your behind is not tight like a brick, things go on and that’s why.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Since I began leading my company, people didn’t believe that I could make clothes for real curvy women. At QVC, people would go online or would call and say to me “you’re a size two how would you know” and I said, because I started out as a fit model. QVC had a store in the Mall of America and it was the scariest thing that ever happened to me because we arrived there and I’m with Randie, my business partner, and these women come up to me and say “OMG It’s our Renee!” They were these fabulous, curvy women that were so excited because what I said on air was true. I made clothes for them. I thought I was going to be at the mall an hour and I must’ve been there for hours, signing autographs and everything. They were telling me their stories and I found out that people related because I was real. I’m not just selling you clothes, I’m doing things for us.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Oh yeah! I designed something and they made the fabric inside out. Production came in wrong and I had to spin it to tell them this was the way it was supposed to be. We would’ve lost 1000 units and we couldn’t afford that. It was our money and I was totally freaking out. So I still sold it and people bought it. You know what, it also reordered. I learned that I can do anything!

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Yeah my employees, all of us — we’re a girl company, we’re all about girl power and we thrive I have to honestly say. Honestly, we can work — you’ll see us on the floor cutting out swatches and what have you. There is a comradery of passion and nobody looks at their clock for when to leave and when we have a job to do — we get it done!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Creating new fabric, creating new accessories because I know my women will like something that will be coming up first quarter of the year and it will help them look great!

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

Be honest and talk with the respect you would want given to yourself.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

How would you manage yourself? I find a lot of people will throw stuff out to people and would you do it yourself? If I come to my studio and say there’s paper on the floor, then I’ll pick it up. I’m not going to delegate and say you should be doing that when I wouldn’t bend down and do it myself. You need to have teamwork. Teamwork makes the dream work.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I was working for a company, designing a line, and when it came to presenting it, (I’m all about the packing and everything) this director at QVC saw me and said you should go on air. I would have never done that. I would have never thought of doing that, and that person evidently had insight, and here I am. I would have never done that, I would have never thought of doing that and that person evidently had insight and here I am.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Whatever time I can do I share, you know we’re all about giving back. My father always told me to pay it forward. So I do pay it forward. Women In Need and Bottomless Closet are two organizations I give back to wherever I can. The biggest thing I did was going on QVC with my line that I could have charged more money for in a retail store, but I wanted the clothes for women who could not afford but wanted to look good. With the power of QVC they can bring you clothes at a great price.

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

If you want something done, do it yourself. If you’re going to delegate, make sure your team is the right team. Don’t expect things from people that aren’t able to give because people are not going to change their spots and be able to fill in when you need them to. Don’t just sit back and think it’s going to get done for you. And give back. I believe people that work for me, I like to show them my appreciation. My husband and I will always try to at the end of the year, if we can afford to show our appreciation.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Not allow the shaming that goes on in social media. I am beginning to preach that each of us were born beautiful and beauty doesn’t come with a pretty face or what have you. Beauty is from within and to own who you are. My leadership would be to shame those people who hide behind a wall of social media without coming out.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

Life is not a dress rehearsal, live for today. When I lost my first husband, I was able to get back into the world. I was interviewed by La Femme Magazine and they wanted to know how was I able to survive and I said, when I DID, not when I wish I had. I always did and I still do. I don’t wait for things, I don’t procrastinate. You need to live for today and put everything in because tomorrow’s not promised.

Some of the biggest names in business, VC funding, sports and entertainment read this column, is there a person in the world or the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I would say Alicia Keys. I love when she did that whole thing about not wearing make-up for a day and being real, which I did. I went without make-up and I do it a lot now. I think she’s very inspiring, I mean her music — I’d love to get involved with her in clothing. She’s a real girl, she’s got curves and everything and I think she’s very talented.


Thank you so much for joining us Renée. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

When I was young, my aunt who lived in Paris gave me my first Epi Louis Vuitton bag and then gave me my first Chanel jacket when I was 16 or 17. I happened to like the shape of it and I would always go to Europe and see how people dressed. That’s when I said to myself, I think I would like to do this. Of course, I went to college to major in theology — don’t ask me why — but I do like dealing with people. Theology, yes I understand the religions and everything but I dropped out of college and decided to come to New York and became a fit model. During this time I realized they don’t make clothes for real women. What is up with this? And then I thought, I need clothes that will fit me, I’m a real woman. Tyra Banks says, “We all have a little something something.” I don’t care if you’re a zero, okay you’re behind is not tight like a brick, and things go on and that’s why.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Since I began leading my company, people didn’t believe that I could make clothes for real curvy women. At QVC, people would go online or would call and say to me “you’re a size 2 how would you know” and I said, because I started out as a fit model. QVC had a store in the Mall of America and it was the scariest thing that ever happened to me because we arrived there and I’m with Randie, my business partner, and these women come up to me and say “OMG It’s our Renee!” They were these fabulous, curvy women that were so excited because what I said on air was true. I made clothes for them. I thought I was going to be at the mall an hour and I must’ve been there for hours, signing autographs and everything. They were telling me their stories and I found out that people related because I was real. I’m not just selling you clothes, I’m doing things for us.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Oh yeah! I designed something and they made the fabric inside out. Production came in wrong and I had to spin it to tell them this was the way it was supposed to be. We would’ve lost 1000 units and we couldn’t afford that. It was our money and I was totally freaking out. So I still sold it and people bought it. You know what, it also reordered. I learned that I can do anything!

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Yeah my employees, all of us — we’re a girl company, we’re all about girl power and we thrive I have to honestly say. Honestly, we can work — you’ll see us on the floor cutting out swatches and what have you. There is a comroddery of passion and nobody looks at their clock for when to leave and when we have a job to do — we get it done!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Creating new fabric, creating new accessories because I know my women will like something that will be coming up first quarter of the year and it will help them look great!

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

Be honest and talk with the respect you would want given to yourself.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

How would you manage yourself? I find a lot of people will throw stuff out to people and would you do it yourself? If I come to my studio and say there’s paper on the floor, then I’ll pick it up. I’m not going to delegate and say you should be doing that when I wouldn’t bend down and do it myself. You need to have team work. Team work makes the dream work.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I was working for a company, designing a line and when it came to presenting it (I’m all about the packing and everything) this director at QVC saw me and said you should go on air. I would have never done that, I would have never thought of doing that and that person evidently had insight and here I am.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Whatever time I can do I share, you know were all about giving back. My father always told me to pay it forward. So I do pay it forward. Women In Need and Bottomless Closet are two organizations I give back to wherever I can. The biggest thing I did was going on QVC with my line that I could have charged more money for in a retail store, but I wanted the clothes for women who could not afford but wanted to look good. With the power of QVC they can bring you clothes at a great price.

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

If you want something done, do it yourself. If you’re going to delegate, make sure your team is the right team. Don’t expect things from people that aren’t able to give because people are not going to change their spots and be able to fill in when you need them to. Don’t just sit back and think it’s going to get done for you. And give back. I believe people that work for me, I like to show them my appreciation. My husband and I will always try to at the end of the year, if we can afford to show our appreciation.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Not allow the shaming that goes on in social media. I am beginning to preach that each of us were born beautiful and beauty doesn’t come with a pretty face or what have you. Beauty is from within and to own who you are. My leadership would be to shame those people who hide behind a wall of social media without coming out.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

Life is not a dress rehearsal, live for today. When I lost my first husband, I was able to get back into the world. I was interviewed by La Femme Magazine and they wanted to know how was I able to survive and I said, when I DID, not when I wish I had. I always did and I still do. I don’t wait for things, I don’t procrastinate. You need to live for today and put everything in because tomorrow’s not promised.

Some of the biggest names in business, VC funding, sports and entertainment read this column, is there a person in the world or the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I would say Alicia Keys. I love when she did that whole thing about not wearing make-up for a day and being real, which I did. I went without make-up and I do it a lot now. I think she’s very inspiring, I mean her music — I’d love to get involved with her in clothing. She’s a real girl, she’s got curves and everything and I think she’s very talented.

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