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Rebecca Proctor: From Personal Assistant to Creative Director

If you live in the super small town of Aurora, New York, you’re more than familiar with the MacKenzie-Childs brand, since it’s around every corner. If you’re not familiar with it, then you’re missing out. An incredibly unique brand, MacKenzie-Childs puts an emphasis on delivering alluring, one-of-a-kind designs that are sure to really bring that extra pop to any room in your home. They manufacture all over the world, but many of their products are still hand-crafted right here in Aurora through a process that could take up to two weeks for each individual product to be completely developed, making their brand the epitome of the phrase ‘made with love’.

One of the many questions people ask when first introduced to the MacKenzie-Childs brand, is how do they create such beautifully unique designs? If you haven’t seen their furniture collection, you have to take the time to check it out. The patterns used in just one piece of furniture are so diverse, yet so complimentary, that never in your wildest dreams would you have imagined putting them together to create such a radiant piece. As it is with every beautiful design, there’s a mastermind (or masterminds) behind its creation. In this case, the extraordinary design team of MacKenzie-Childs, led by their Creative Director, Rebecca Proctor.

Upon meeting Rebecca, you’re immediately captivated by her energy and enthusiasm for the brand. It’s not surprising, though, since she’s been with MacKenzie-Childs since 1991. But even before becoming a part of MacKenzie-Childs, Rebecca had a taste for all things funky and fun. After graduating from Ithaca College, she opened a clothing store in Ithaca with one of her friends, catering to the tastes of students from surrounding colleges. With a background in retail and theatre, I’m sure you can imagine how dynamic and alive the designs probably were. After some time, her friend and business partner began applying to law school, and Rebecca, being the energetic individual she is, was ready for a change as well.

Living in Ithaca, you’d think that Rebecca would’ve already known about MacKenzie-Childs. But it wasn’t until she read about the brand in a Home & Garden Magazine that she became acquainted with what would end up being one of the biggest adventures of her life. In utter disbelief that only 35 miles up the road was this company that perfectly aligned with all of her interests, Rebecca immediately knew she wanted to get involved. In 1991, Rebecca was hired by MacKenzie-Childs to fill a sales position but was quickly asked to be the founder, Victoria MacKenzie-Childs’ personal assistant. Being a personal assistant to one of the founders meant that Rebecca was able to learn the ins-and-outs of the company first hand and pretty fast. Not only did she get to work with the founders in Aurora, she also had the opportunity to travel around the world to various factories to learn even more. Not a bad gig to start out with, right?

Fast-forwarding to present day, Rebecca holds the titles of Chief Brand Officer and Creative Director for MacKenzie-Childs. Or, in her words, the “Mother brand person”, creating a positive perception, experience, promise, and future for the company. Talk about lots of responsibility. But Rebecca doesn’t have your typical 9-5 office job responsibilities. Every day is different. One day she might be working with the development and design teams in Aurora, the next day she may be hopping on a plane to Turkey. “I’ve always liked diversity and change in my role”, and who can blame her? Developing stunning designs, traveling the world, appearing on TV to talk about a brand you’re truly passionate about, it’s really quite a dream.

According to Rebecca, if your heart is really set on something, then you’re likely to fall right into it. It’s like finding your perfect music genre just by turning on the radio, we’re naturally attracted to the things we like and want to know more about. That’s how she fell perfectly into her dream job, how else would she have found something that intertwines design, sales, theater, and spunk so perfectly? “Life is full of surprises. Look through every window, and even if it’s just a tickle of an idea, try it. But pay attention to what’s going on around you, and know when to say yes, and when to say no to an opportunity”.

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