All brandhelene engagements are led by its founder and CEO Helene Richman. Helene is a creative visionary, seasoned executive, product design innovator, and social entrepreneur.
Depending on project need and scope, Helene partners with designers, writers, manufacturers, and other leading experts from her extensive network to bring your work to life.
You can also check out her linkedin page here.
Helene Richman designer / dreamer / doer
Living. Loving. Creating. Playing. Thinking. Teaching. Doing. Helene Richman is a woman full of ideas and she’s not afraid to act on them. In that spirit, she founded brandhelene, an innovative product design and development incubator. As brandhelene’s Chief Idea Officer, Helene partners with large corporations and solo makers alike to bring great ideas to life through strategy, design, and execution support.
Helene’s work at brandhelene is informed by a three-decade-long career in the manufacturing and design industry, where she has overseen more than a billion dollars in sales. Helene’s reputation as a “babywear innovator” is based on her instincts, experience, and savvy in designing, developing, and bringing to market high quality, commercially successful children’s clothing that is well matched to the desires of consumers and the approach of particular stores. Her success is built upon a deep commitment to the best design principles, well-priced quality products, and dedication to the success of her clients. The grandchild and daughter of dress manufacturers, Helene grew up living and breathing the business of design, manufacturing, and marketing of clothing. Design isn’t just what Helene does; it’s who she is.
Helene has seized opportunities throughout her career to partner with a diverse set of companies and clients and oversee all aspects of the design business. She first cut her teeth working as a product designer with Macy’s. She later guided the production of new brands and licensing opportunities for Franco Apparel. Working as an external consultant, Helene repositioned the Baby Healthtex brand. At Oneita, she led design direction and development, production planning, and product development for a $40M designer layette business partnering with clients like Target, Old Navy, Disney, Federated, Nordstrom and J.C. Penny. As the VP of Merchandising for Baby Brands at Carter’s, Helene was responsible for all aspects of managing the baby brands, from design through P & L. From there she moved to the boutique babywear design firm Bon Bebe to oversee all product development. At Bon Bebe, Helene travelled extensively sourcing new trends and fabrics and building manufacturing and production partnerships. She established a new structure that expanded the business from $2M to $40M, despite the economic downturn. Committed to developing her own team, Helene hired and managed an internal design team that successfully developed great-looking products at an excellent price point.
No matter the setting, Helene believes in making a difference through her work. Committed to fair trade and decent working conditions, Helene applies high ethical and moral standards to her approach, from design to factory to retail store. She takes pride in making sure her product lines meet all social and safety compliance standards. A collector of vintage fabrics and clothing, Helene often sources modern design challenges with fresh designs inspired by the best ideas of earlier eras. A believer in the sufficiency mindset, Helene has been striving to integrate sustainability and product development long before “eco” and “organic” came into vogue. Whether designing a line of babywear made from leftover fabric scraps, seeking to empower moms to design their own fashion lines, or connecting entrepreneurial makers in developing countries to the larger manufacturing network, Helene seeks to build business that is great for the consumer, great for the worker, great for the environment, and great for the bottom line.
Helene enjoys putting her business skills and creativity behind good ideas outside the office too. You might find her creating a food coop with friends, selling vintage products at weekend fairs, or hosting clothing swaps in her community. A graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh with a major in child psychology and a minor in women’s studies, Helene has always been interested in making a difference for children and women. She has been a sponsor and mentor to many students at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. She welcomes any opportunity to share her love of the design process and clothing industry to curious minds.
She lives in Montclair, New Jersey with her husband Lee and daughter Sara.