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She Has It in the Bag

How Meaghan Rubey, owner and co-founder of Roubaix, launched a successful luxury handbag and accessories brand in three years

 

By Rachel Porter
Photos provided by Roubaix

 

In only three years, Roubaix has become a successful and sustainable luxury handbag and accessories brand. So what’s the secret behind the success of the owner and co-founder, Meaghan Rubey? Rubey doesn’t just sell the products; she believes in them and, more importantly, in herself. As a woman in the entrepreneurial space, it can be intimidating and competitive, but with confidence and support from other women, it can feel pretty empowering. 

Rubey has always been what she likes to call a “go-getter.” Whether working in the catering industry or a law office, she grasped the skills to be a productive and proactive leader. It was not until 2019 that Rubey decided to finally build something she loved. “My husband Robert influenced my entrepreneurship a lot. He has always encouraged me to go after any opportunity,” she said. So at the age of 46, she did!

To thrive in the startup space, one must stand their ground and learn quickly. Knowing how and where to source your product is one thing, but getting something like a fur license is another. “I wanted my products to be made in the U.S. and was completely pushed to make things outside of the country, but I put my foot down,” said Rubey. “I learned how to ensure I was compliant and understand licenses, but also really understand the business by knowing how long it takes an alligator to tan.”  This credibility and knowledge took Rubey’s business and negotiating powers to the next level.  

“I think there is a perception out there that women are still easier to roll over; there’s still a perception that women are easier to not give things to or give deals to because we won’t negotiate,” explained Rubey. “I think even dealing with some of my suppliers, I find that I’ll get a no rather quickly than a yes, whereas if Robert had the voice, he would get the answer quicker before I could.” Rubey encourages the power of negotiation regardless of what it is while still being cordial and professional; it’s all about remembering your bottom line. 

Rubey also took the time to truly appreciate the beauty of patience even when it seemed as if the business was not growing fast enough. “Don’t run into getting a marketing team right away. A lot of it is organic growth,” suggested Rubey. “Let organic growth happen before you have to pay for something you don’t have the money to. Growth of a business takes three to five years, and you must go with the ups and the flows.”

Rubey continues to believe in her product through the good days and the bad ones. “I have never been one to let things bring me down in life. My parents taught me that failing is fine, but not getting back up isn’t,” she said. “I may have a bad day, but I know the next one will be better.” She shares this style of attitude through her work and customer experience. Making sure the client is happy is just as important as if a handbag sells. “If things are wrong or late, I will compensate my customer by either sending them an extra gift or a discount because I am genuinely so sorry,” expressed Rubey. “When customers can talk to me directly, they are surprised; that excites me!”

Rubey advises any person that it is never too late to go after your dreams. “How wonderful it is that I started a business at 46,” she exclaimed. “While I am doing this, I am meeting people my age who are starting a business. It’s almost like a second life.” If Rubey was not open to new possibilities and going outside the box, Roubaix may have never been a tangible and successful brand.

“Breakout of the box. It gives you so much more of a fulfilling life than staying in the lanes,” shared Rubey.

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