Founder Spotlight: Irene Lee and the Story Behind Bash + Sass Kids Apparel

Founder Spotlight: Irene Lee and the Story Behind Bash + Sass Kids Apparel

Irene Lee always knew she wanted to create a fashion line. When the e-commerce veteran and former Googler became a mom, her idea came to life in what is now Bash + Sass. Inspired by her own two kids, Bash + Sass is a gender neutral brand that blends urban street style and culture to produce high-quality styles “made for play.” Lee designed each piece with the “little minimalist,” ages 6 months – 12 yrs old, in mind.

“Becoming a mama really pushed me to make the jump. I left the corporate world to carve a new career path allowing me the flexibility to spend time with my growing family,” she said. “My brand is an extension of myself, my style and directly influenced by my kids.”

The brand’s simple and creative approach to design fosters imagination and individuality while also prioritizing sustainable and local manufacturing. Bash + Sass proudly produces garments and sources fabrics in California in order to support other local, small businesses.

What was your lightbulb moment when you knew that you wanted to launch your brand?

Becoming a mama really pushed me to make the jump. I left the corporate world (most recently working for Google) to carve a new career path that allows me the flexibility to spend time with my growing family. I wanted to do something creative on my own that I felt passionate about.

Bash + Sass fulfills this more than I thought possible. It’s beyond rewarding to work really hard at something so personal and know that it’s teaching and setting an example for my kids to go after their own dreams.

Describe Bash + Sass in three words.

Unisex, minimalist, monsters.

What makes your brand unique?

Hands down, what makes Bash + Sass unique is our “Monsters with Meaning.” Each collection introduces a monster character that embodies a social value I believe is important for kids to learn. With today’s social climate, it’s critical to teach kids at a young age about self-confidence, inclusion, diversity, social justice and self-pride regardless of skin color, gender or family makeup.

It’s important for me to have a teaching vehicle associated with the brand. It allows my kids to directly learn and influence the monster meanings and opens doors for collaborations with like-minded brands to build communities that align with empowering our youth.

As an entrepreneur, what is one obstacle you’ve faced and what did you learn throughout the process of overcoming it?

I’d definitely say one of the biggest struggles I faced was around production because this was my first dive into the world of clothing. I don’t have a background in pattern making or textiles so to be honest, it was like learning a whole new language. I’m beyond thankful to have found kind and patient professionals in these areas to guide me through rounds and rounds of designing and producing apparel. They have been my mentors since the start and continue to support me through each collection as I learn and grow.

What is your favorite piece of advice you have received in your career?

“Go for it!” There’s never a “perfect” time or the “right” time. Believe in yourself, listen to yourself and just do it.  Don’t let others or society define who you are and what your limitations are. You hold the keys and will learn what works for you along your journey.

What is your best advice to up-and-coming female founders?

Surround yourself with positive people, especially women. The power of community and support is phenomenal. I thought about creating a line for years before I actually had the courage and confidence to do it. I am beyond lucky to have a strong circle of family, friends and entrepreneurial (many of them new!) ladies around me. I know I can lean on them, ask stupid questions, freak out and grab a glass of wine whenever necessary.

I would also say research, research, research and educate yourself on how to start your own business. I took a course at a local women’s entrepreneur center on how to start a small business. I was familiar with the design/marketing side of things, but financials and numbers scared the shit out of me (they still do but I have a better grasp now). I quickly learned there are so many resources out there specifically designed to help women in this space.

Do you know a female founder who we should feature? Let us know by submitting a comment below.

Written by

Stephanie, who affectionately goes by Stevie, is a walking paradox. A vagabond soul who craves adventure (she's crossed off 38 states on her travel list) but has a longing for a sense of home more than anything else. A lover of style, but adverse to shopping and price tags. A vegetarian with an appreciation for the smell of bacon. She has lived a number of lives from an event assistant to a creative writing teacher in juvenile halls to the former Online Managing Editor at Darling Magazine.