JR: Tell us a little bit about yourself, your backstory and how you came to be known as “Steak.”
RF: I was born ‘Rachael,’ with an extra ‘A’ because my mom is spicy, but I was nicknamed Steak because I have a savory tooth. My 300 year old tumblr was called ‘Steaktooth,’ and I think that’s where a lot of my following came from. When I started engaging more, versus just flooding people with reblogged images, I started answering the ‘asks’ on there and out of nowhere I had an advice column. That’s when Rachael and ‘Steak’ became one. People always ask me which I prefer to be called and I think it’s a mix of both. I’m from Florida originally, but I moved to Los Angeles 13 years ago. I never decided I was going to stay in LA, it’s just been fruitful and kind to me so I guess I’m just here for now.
JR: Walk us through a day in the life of you and your work.
RF: I’m a mom and a business owner, so work starts at around 6am and ends at midnight. After I drop Mars off at school, I head back home to be with the dogs for a little and lazily get myself together. My company works with the east coast and with London a lot of the time, so calls come in all the time, but my staff doesn’t get in until 10am. My office is a collaborative space and I don’t really want anyone around me if they aren’t willing to share opinions. I hired a team of people I value, and I enjoy creating along side of them. I love lunch meetings because they really get me going, so I try to have as many as I can. It’s a sort of self-care for me because I’m definitely one of those “I forgot to eat for 3 days” working types if there isn’t a reason to pause.
JR: Did you always want to be a designer?
RF: I actually did not. My first brand fell into my lap, and I had a lot of trial and error with it, and that brand has turned into the parent company for this entire thing. We have 4 brands under our umbrella, and we make merch for numerous projects. I think I enjoy the business aspect of having a brand, and I’m lucky enough to have grown up around subcultures that inspire my own way of dressing and creating. I think that’s what Hot Lava is for–it’s like my other baby. While working on my other brands and projects, I get to flex what I’m good at. I enjoy analytics and branding and I love being able to switch tones between clients and businesses.