Braavheart : Anati Rakocz from Templa high-end performance wear
Meet Anati Rakocz, this beautiful soul just radiates esthetics and is a strong believer in sustainable products. Next to raising her 3 children, she successfully managed to launch Templa: a state of the art performance wear brand into the high-end fashion segment. Today she’s willing to share her unique journey and values with us.
First of all, can you introduce yourself and what you do in a few sentences?
Hi I’m Anati, originally from Israel, I grew up in Philadelphia, and returned to Israel at primary school age, joining the school of art. After ten years of playing cello, IDF spokesman unit, PR and working at BBDO (an international advertising office), I was offered a job as a sales girl in Paris fashion week, at the "Ann Demeulemeester" showroom. I worked for the company 12 years as a global commercial director for Ann Demeulemeester and Haider Ackermann. For this incredible opportunity I relocated to the oh-so-beautiful city Antwerp, where I met my husband, fell in love and started my little family. Around the birth of my first son I knew I wanted to combine motherhood and work in a flexible way. I left my passion as in house head of sales but stayed as an advisor for many years. I then founded my own consulting firm that mainly focuses on supporting and assisting brands in the luxury & beauty segment. I have a huge passion for esthetics. Since I was raised with an enormous appreciation to music, film, literacy and art. There’s a wonderful gratifying feeling to support other designers with beautiful products.
At around the same time, I had a big dream of starting my own cooking school for children and parents. I think it’s a beautiful moment you can spend together, cooking healthy and well-balanced meals while introducing them to a variety of new flavours and food, it’s such a unique experience. However, this business idea quickly struggled to find the right market fit: people here in Belgium were just not ready. This, in addition to the huge-food cost of organic products, my dream quickly turned into something unachievable. It wasn’t all for nothing, because I learned a lot about myself : I always try to catch people’s lives in different ways and try to make it a little bit better.
A year later I was contacted by my fellow Templa-founders, a high-fashion alpine performance wear brand. Templa’s collection is the perfect mix of technical and urban wear at the same time. You can buy a piece and wear it to the slopes as well as in the city, even to a party. Apart from my passion for fashion, esthetics, and beautifully designed things, what really pulled the trigger for me to join the Templa team was the fact that one piece can be worn for numerous aspects of life. This relates to another value I really cherish: it’s better to invest in high-end material that can sustain itself. (Rather than accumulating things we don’t actually need.)
How did you effectively develop this first idea into the reality it is today?
It all started with pitching our products to the vice president of Barneys, Jay Bell. Having his opinion was like going to Mekka, a moment that can change your entire future. Because of limited budgets, I rented a tiny hotel room in New York City, bought an alpine book and some Evian bottles to set the scene, and I asked the bell boy if I could use his cart to display all the products. Only 5 minutes in, Jay and his associate were jumping on the bed and shouting things like: “omg this brand is amazing, so soft, so technical in all the details…” I knew if he saw the potential I saw, I would be able to navigate the launch of Templa and bring it to the level of high-end boutiques and department stores.
From New York city onwards we were able to get our products into Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, Selfridges in Londen and Net-a-porter. I truly believe a business is only as strong as the people behind it and their network. In the end, it’s all about relationships.
However, it didn’t go so smoothly with all the accounts we approached, we got some ‘no’s’ from people as well. You simply can’t be loved by everyone. I strongly believe you can only grow if you hear a “no” between the times you hear a ‘yes’. I’m very grateful for every comment/refusal we got and I really appreciate every ‘no’ we received as much as a ‘yes’. With this feedback we always went back to the drawing board in order to improve our product line, set-up a wider range of price points in order to allow different pockets to be part of the Templa family.
Now I’m comfortable to say you can buy a Templa piece anywhere in the world. We had a collaboration with Raf Simons, former creative director at Jill Sander, Calvin Klein and Christian Dior. Big superstars such as Asap Rocky, Billie Eillish and Orlando Bloom are wearing our pieces and most importantly we got loyal customers returning season after season.
What’s the accomplishment you are most proud of?
Winning the ISPO Award, an award for the most innovative products in the sports industry. This recognition from the Alpine world really meant a lot to us.
Apart from that, another moment I really cherish was the moment when my children found out Billie Eillish wore one of the Templa pieces. The pride in their eyes that they were able to tell their friends at school all about their ‘cool’ mom, it’s indescribable and I really felt fortunate.
Where would you like to take Templa in the future?
Templa is already going in the future, we’re investing a lot in innovation and development and are currently exploring wool compression, we are always trying to be unique in what we do. It’s not about creating 500 pieces, it’s about creating quality that sustains for a long time. If I should ask a person: you only have one small backpack to go on a journey for a very long time, what will you bring along? If the answer is a Templa-piece, our mission is fulfilled. This would be manageable because you can wear it in numerous situations and it’s so well made people would want to live in it.
How do you manage to maintain a healthy work/life balance?
I travel a lot to all the major fashion cities throughout the world. Even though I love this enormously, I also have difficulties not feeling too absent from my family. Whenever I leave the house for work, I cook the week before. I’m a bit of a control freak and I want to make sure the kids are eating healthy and my husband is happy. For myself, I try to drink a lot of water, and I love walking. I go from meeting to meeting by foot and explore those major cities at the same time. Walking is an excellent way for me to clear my head, move my body, stay active, and get some fresh air. Apart from that I just feel that I’m doing the best I can. There is no perfect, this is as good as it gets and I’m totally fine with it.
When I can, I swim and do Pilates even when traveling.
When I’m not traveling the hour difference Antwerp-Melbourne (where my founding partners are located) also makes it challenging. Honestly I sleep little and have a lot of white hair - haha. I also share everything with my children, they know precisely when I have a big meeting or have to meet up with an important customer and then support me in the best way they can.
If you could give a 1 (ultimate) tip to other ambitious women, what would it be?
Do what you love to do, in the best way you can. If you’re able to do what you love, you can do it every day. That way it just won’t feel like working. Your drive will be unlimited and only great things can sprout from that.
Which book do you think is an absolute must-read for our braavheart community?
The World of the End by Ofir Touche Gafla. Saying goodbye is one of the most challenging things for me. The poetic way this book embraces goodbyes gave me hope and offered relief.
Who do you think should not be missing from our #Braavhearts section?
My one person I think you should not miss in your Braav community is Celine Verbeeck. She happens to also be my favorite Barre teacher :)). She is boosting with good energy, her smile is always present and she’s a real gentle soul with a lot of talent.