They first crossed paths at a wedding in 2002—the same night Swanson Beard and her now-husband Jamie Beard also met. And in between the champagne toasts and the dance floor jams, the fates were doing their thing, ensuring the pair’s lives would forever be intertwined.
“We had a relationship separate of this business, thank God, which was about our family,” Swanson Beard said. After all, they wed siblings Jaime and Anson Beard. “I think having that foundation as sisters-in-law and being family first and also friends was really important than just two friends starting a business who could potentially walk away from each other.”
Aside from their budding friendship and shared love of Beard brothers, they also discovered a similar aptitude for fashion. While Swanson Beard had studied at Parsons School of Design and worked in the industry, including for Narciso Rodriguez and Alberta Ferretti, Miele Beard was a sartorial risk-taker on Wall Street. “I worked at many different investment banks, really high-brow, and it was a time when you wore a suit to work,” she recalled, “and it was pretty boring.” In the sea of navy blue, brown and black, you could find her unapologetically sporting red and pink. “I loved the idea of being the only woman and being feminine and being sexy at work,” she said, “and owning it.”
But there was one other significant ingredient for these business partners in the making: “We were also both product junkies and entrepreneurs,” Miele Beard described. “We were in completely separate lifestyles, lives, careers, and yet, when we got together, all we talked about was the next big idea and how we’re going to make money on something—and then this something came along and we did it.”