Rachel Jones, Industry of One & Jonesy

Rachel Jones is one of those people doing a million cool things and doing them all really well. As one-half of the husband and wife duo behind lifestyle periodical, Industry of One, Rachel brings you the low-down on many an inspiring individual. And as the owner and designer of her somewhat eponymous underwear line, Jonesy, she literally has your ass covered - in soft stretch jersey that is. We don't know about you, but if you're anything like us, undies and info are crucial, making Rachel an instant favorite. So when the LSG team was last in New York, we took a moment to catch up with this gem in her eclectic Fort Greene home. Read on and find out what Rachel has to say about fostering curiosity, the reality of entrepreneurship and the best spots in Brooklyn for shameless Instagramming. Enjoy!


LSG: Hi, Rachel! Thanks for having us over. Tell us about the area. What went into creating such a cool and unique space?

I have lived in Brooklyn for nearly six years, and made the move to Fort Greene from Bushwick two years ago after getting married. I like to joke that I now live in the ‘burbs of Brooklyn given the number of toddlers and dogs you encounter, but it is truly a beautiful neighborhood that is diverse and rich with culture. My church, majority of friends and favorite restaurants all fall within a stretch of a couple blocks and avenues, so I love nothing more than to stay put within our square mile of Brooklyn, much to my husband’s chagrin. It’s definitely less scene-y of a neighborhood, but if you have a memory for supporting character actors in critically acclaimed dramas, this is your place to run into them!   

My husband has always had more of an eye for design (something that took me some getting used to!), so when we moved into together, he provided most of the key pieces (many which he’d purchased from our local flea market). Other items have been sourced from Etsy, or JOINERY, an amazing home goods store located in South Williamsburg that recently shuttered its retail storefront. I am more prone to spontaneous home improvement projects, so I’ve been responsible for things like painting our kitchell wall, fireplace, and bathtub. Recently, I’ve been falling in love with items from Schoolhouse Electric (where we bought our living room mirror from) and the In Bed store. Linen sheets are on my birthday wish list!

LSG: Can you walk us through your path? What kind of stops were on the way to where you are now?

I have a non-design background, so my trajectory has been interesting to say the least! In 2011 my now husband and I launched a lifestyle blog called Industry of One. Via that project we profiled entrepreneurial makers and creatives across the US. Adam did all of the photography and I handled the interviews and writing. We were looking to connect and learn from people we admired online, but I don’t think I realized what an education the experience was until I got the bug to do something of my own a couple years later. After watching talented, but relatively normal people launch projects and companies of their own, I had a grasp of what was required, at least at the most basic levels. Then, rather serendipitously, I had the idea for JONESY in early 2014 and from there, started researching, networking, and working with a local production partner to create prototypes.

My career background is traditionally in advertising and tech, so I’ve always felt more comfortable on the digital front. Clothing production is extremely manual and laborious, so there has been a huge learning curve in marrying those two worlds together.

LSG: Tell us more about Industry Of One. How did that start and what’s the story behind the title?

Adam originally came up with the concept and title. The idea being, of course, that many artists and creatives are essentially companies of one person. Put that way, entrepreneurship can sound like a rather lonely endeavor, but I think it’s also a testament to the creativity and resourcefulness that one person can contain. Now, as a founder of a company that consists of one and half people, the concept feels all the more relevant to me.

I’m not a very gushy person, especially when it comes to talking about my primary relationship (my husband) online, but I am extremely grateful that I began dating Adam at that time. Up until that point, my early 20s were primarily about having fun and enjoying life, not bad things necessarily, but collaborating on that project with Adam gave me an ambition I didn’t know I had. Or maybe it just exposed it to me.

LSG: What took you from running a online publication to designing underwear? How do the two crafts intersect?

Both require a shameless amount of curiosity! Interviewing people is very much about having the gumption to ask personal and thought-provoking questions. And, I think, it’s also about trying to understand someone else’s world. As a newcomer to the design/production world, the best resource I have is the ability to ask questions. It can be embarrassing to not know the correct word for something, but, at the end of the day, I need to understand the process and my product better than anyone else. I can’t blindly rely on my production partners to show me the way.

Pitching articles to online magazines also forced me to put myself out there. Building a brand online requires a variety of collaborators, whether they’re photographers, or bloggers, or retail partners. Being able to create a compelling story around something and figuring out how to partner with people (because you can’t wait to be “discovered”) is a huge part of what I try to do.

LSG: Jonesy is so simple and streamlined. One design, two colors. Are you planning to expand the line to stick to your minimalist approach?

Yep! Samples are underway for a new style of undie and bralette. I’m hoping to roll out very soon, which I’m super excited and impatient about.

Given that JONESY is funded completely by my husband and I, my approach has had to be very deliberate and intentional. It feels excruciatingly slow at times, but this strategy has forced me to focus on testing my products and proving that I have a customer base before launching a full scale line.

LSG: Who do you envision wearing Jonesy, do you have muse/lifestyle in mind?

I have no specific muse; for me, it’s more about creating something that is effortless and not overly sexed up or artificial, which in the end seems less sensual to me. New York City, like a lot of other US cities, exposes you to a huge hub of cool, interesting women who are pursuing their careers and figuring out their talents. Discovery, whether it’s style or career or relationship-related, is much more alluring to me and being able to to create a product that integrates with that journey of self-discovery is the ultimate goal.

LSG: Starting a business and working for yourself is scary, a lot of people talk about going independent but never do. What do you think holds people back?  

This might be overly cynical of an answer, but I think, that largely, it’s a money issue. Entrepreneurship, at least for most people, comes down to having access to money and financial stability, at some level. And that’s definitely a luxury that a lot of people can’t afford! That being said, it’s not just about having access to a pot of gold. Most designers and makers that I know hold second jobs, or occasionally freelance. It’s a matter of cobbling together streams of income, but, yes, you do need a financial buffer to set out on your own.

Entrepreneurship is also a journey of taking risks over and over again. Some people start a business and “make it,” but for many, it’s a matter of doing something, learning and maybe failing, and then trying something else.

LSG: As a business owner, what advice would you share with someone interested in starting a company?

Start asking questions… especially tough questions! Start collaborating on small projects with friends. Confidence is a muscle that needs to be practiced.

LSG: Do you get downtime?! What does your ideal day off consist of?

Weekend days are my favorite. Our park has off leash hours, so I’ll meander over with watermelon juice and an almond croissant sometime before 9AM to join my dog owner friends. Then, it’s a day of walking around Brooklyn, visiting my favorite stores (Primary Essentials on Atlantic is one of them), maybe walking down to the waterfront, and sipping things here and there. A perfect evening for me includes a movie, my couch, and, more likely than not, a big glass of wine. Oh to be in your late 20s :).

What should we check out while in New York City!??!

The Sisters restaurant in Fort Greene is amazing, and total Instagram bait ;). St. Mazie, a bar in South Williamsburg, is also a beaut. And lastly, you can never go wrong with Nitehawk, an independent theatre, that serves cocktails and food during screenings. It combines three of my favorite things: fancy sandwiches, cocktails, and being lazy.


Check Out Industry of One & Jonsey