Several years ago, while filming a makeover segment for CBS’s The Couch (RIP – I loved that show and crew), I met designer Ramy Sharp of Ramy Brook. Assertive, vivacious, impeccably coiffed, yet effortlessly casual, Ramy embodied her sexy, sophisticated brand. Several lunches and conversations later, I was hooked on the woman, her fashion brand (PS the Robi sleeveless top is a style staple) and the motherly wisdom she could share with me – I was a new mom with one baby, she already had three kids. I’m so happy Ramy was eager to be interviewed for this feature. She everything I think about when I envision a momBOSS*.
Pamela Pekerman: In your 20s you were a big shot advertising gal. When and why did you decide to take a break from work?
Ramy Sharp: When I graduated college I was determined to move to NYC. Once I decided not to go to law school, like both of my roommates, advertising seemed like a good field for me. It was corporate and social at the same time. After 10 years in the business, I had my first son. I went back to work on a freelance basis to keep my head in the game. However, it was tough for me to balance both work and being a new mom. So, I stopped working in advertising and took my skills into the philanthropic world where I could create my own hours, interact with adults, do good and be a mom.
Pamela: Since the launch of Ramy Brook in 2010, you’ve had tremendous success in a short period of time. Many moms have dreams, they never chase. What gave you the courage to follow your passion?
Ramy: When I launched Ramy Brook I was fulfilling a need for my own wardrobe. Every day, I would look in my closet and couldn’t find anything to wear. All I wanted was a sexy top to wear with jeans. I had no clue what I was doing, so I asked everyone I knew in the business for help. Jennifer Miller(jeweler) helped me secure the name, Stefani Greenfield (owner of Scoop) sat with me all day and taught me retail math among other things of how to build a brand. My friend hooked me up with her high school friend, Anika, a renowned pattern maker for a brand called Tuleh. Timing seemed to be on my side, as Tuleh closed its doors, so Anika and I worked day and night to create the first 7 pieces of the Ramy Brook collection. As I look back, I realize I didn’t have time to worry or question myself. I found a way to overcome my fears and stumbling blocks, because at the end of the day, I believed women needed these clothes as much as I did.
Pamela: With Ramy Brook, at what point did you realize, “Wow, I’m onto something big!”?
Ramy: I brought my collection to the famous personal shopper Betty Halbreich at Bergdorf Goodman. She had me hang my 7-piece collection in her dressing room. Betty had an appointment with Chelsea Handler’s stylist and when she walked in and saw the collection she wanted to take every top, I knew I was on to something. Chelsea ended up wearing the VR2 (very Ramy 2) in sky blue to her opening night at the Beacon.
Pamela: Who are some of the fabulous momBOSSes wearing Ramy Brook?
Ramy: Cindy Crawford is one of my all time favorite “momBOSSes” and wears Ramy Brook. Julianna Margulies, Alyssa Milano and Lisa Edelstein are some of my favorite celebrities wearing the brand as well.
Pamela: Who do you have in mind when you design the collections?
Ramy: Our girl is the multi-tasking woman who wants to feel confident in her clothing. She is busy, she is smart, she is happy and the clothes reflect that image to the world.
Pamela: What’s next for Ramy Brook?
Ramy: We have a few shops in the works, one in Southampton and one on the Upper East side. We are focusing on our website, in addition to scouting locations for a new brick and mortar store. Ramy Brook is a lifestyle brand and over the next few years the brand will grow in many other categories– accessories being one of them.
Pamela: How do you find time for YOU in your busy world? What do you love to do during Meaningful Me Moments?
Ramy: My free time is spent with my family– first and foremost. If my kids have a game, show, or school event I try to make it. Family dinners have become even more important, it’s a great way to connect even if it’s a few times a week. Because my days and nights are sometimes hectic I can appreciate the downtime more than ever before. I’m more focused when I have more to juggle.
Pamela: Quick, you only have 2 minutes to prep and pamper your face. What are you top makeup/skin products?
Ramy: Neutrogena face wash and perfect tinted toner is my savior. I like a lot of Neutrogena products– the eye makeup remover is my favorite. As for makeup, I’m a big Laura Mercier fan, especially the lip gloss. I usually carry two at a time.
Pamela: Balance is a loaded, unrealistic goal, I prefer “Happy Formula”. So, what’s your Happy Formula for managing marriage, three kids, a growing fashion/lifestyle empire, and finding time for yourself?
Ramy: I’m not sure I’ve found the answer, but I genuinely enjoy the way I live my life. My husband is my rock and a big supporter both at home and at work. My kids bring me joy every day, which isn’t to say they don’t drive me nuts, but they will always be my reason to smile! Work enables me to have a passion outside my home. I believe in what we are building at Ramy Brook and I’m excited to share it with the world.
Currently drinking Diet Coke by day and chardonnay by night.
I hope my kids think mom is smart and cool.
Motherhood is a blessing.
The best advice my mom ever gave me was “Be true to who you are.”
*momBOSS – She’s nurturing, compassionate and focused. She’s always directing, managing and scheduling. She IS home. She is the link that brings everyone together. She is her own woman. She is not perfect. She is juggling and trying to find her happy formula for a meaningful life. Her motto is Always Be Your Best You, which could mean a messy kitchen takes a back seat to applying mascara.
Are you a momBOSS or know one that we should know about? Leave a comment below and you/she could be featured next. Check back every Wednesday for an interview with an incredible mom that, I hope, will inspire you to find your happy formula, whatever that may mean for you.
PS In case you missed it, I’m hosting a new mom lifestyle show Pamela+Vanessa #momsandwhine.