[Written by founder Ray Li | Photo of Ray & his wife Krista in the early days]
The big question when I started SENE was: could we build something that really did a good thing?
- Could we offer great design and quality without unfair markups and still thrive?
- In an industry that often sells discontentment, can we elevate art & design over consumerism?
- In a time where there's a return to American manufacturing, can we show the value and goodness of ethical overseas partnership?
- Can we build a culture with our team where pride and ambition are overcome by generosity and selflessness?
It's been a little over a year since we took the plunge and said: "Let's do this." The amazing responses from you, our customers, have been so encouraging. When we see photos of you guys wearing SENE, whether it's on your big day or during your daily walk to work, it makes all the late nights worth it.
I started SENE when Krista and I were just newlyweds. I wondered if I was crazy. But being married to your best friend gives you the courage to take on the world. Now our team has grown.
Our friend Gilonne D'Origny shared a story that has been on my mind. Her father Henri is a legend in fashion, most notably for developing the Hermes tie and creating the Hermes design language. He worked for the brand when it was just a tiny shop in Paris and they would pop a bottle of champagne if 20 people went in the shop. Though he's been with Hermes through its growth into an international fashion house, he's stayed down to earth. And what Gilonne said struck me.
I remarked: "It must be amazing that he has stayed so passionate over all these years."
Gilonne: "Well, it's what he knows. It's family."
It's a beautiful thing. So many young companies focus primarily on selling employees on an epic dream of the company mission. But so few embrace the team as family.
We're not here to use cheap gimmicks to win. We won't take shortcuts at the risk of long-term growth.
We would rather have a smaller team that is highly talented, cares about each other, works hard and is paid fairly, than a large bureaucracy that is underpaid, undervalued and just waiting for the next thing.
Glad to be on your team.
- Ray Li