Talking founder life, community & Rowan with Founder, Louisa Serene Schneider

Louisa Serene Schneider, Founder of Rowan

Tell us about yourself! How did you get started? How did you come to create Rowan?

I had just had my daughter, my third child, and was thinking about when and where we would get her ears pierced. All of my aunts are nurses, and they encouraged me to ask my pediatrician if she pierced ears. She did not and said she didn’t know where to send her patients other than the mall. At that time, my husband ordered an at-home massage, and I began thinking that ear piercing could benefit from innovation, technology and a more concierge style, special experience. I was also working for a hedge fund at the time and studying mall-based retailers. I knew that Claire’s continued to drive foot-traffic because there was nowhere else to go, but was struggling because it was mall-based and seriously outdated. That’s when the idea for Rowan was born!

What makes Rowan different?

We believe ear piercing is a milestone that should be celebrated, and we want to provide a meaningful, safe, and celebratory experience so all of our piercings are done by a licensed nurse. We also offer a one-of-a-kind earring subscription box, because the best part of a new piercing is fun new hypoallergenic earrings.

What's the biggest transition or change that you have had to make since the beginning of the pandemic?

Working 100% remotely while building a team and fully embracing technology to bring people together. Working from home with 3 kids has also been a big adjustment!

We love your Mindfulness aspect of the brand! How do you tie your passion for social impact with Rowan?

Mindfulness has always been a core pillar for the brand, as we not only want to provide a safe environment for our piercings but also a moment of celebration of the milestone of piercing. As a company, I wanted to ensure that we encourage all of our customers, at any age, to take a moment to be present and bring joy into their day-to-day - whether that’s through a pair of fun hypoallergenic earrings or writing in a journal, just taking a moment for yourself.

Biggest challenges you have faced as a founder? What did they teach you?

The hardest part of starting Rowan was getting the first investor. However, that challenge only added to my conviction that there was an opportunity. Because no one saw the opportunity, no one had invested in such an important milestone in decades. I knew that if I could find someone who understood the mass desire for something better and the large market, they would jump at the opportunity. I had to thread the needle to find an investor who understood retail, real estate and experiential retail. I could not allow myself to be discouraged when investors—many of whom were male—repeatedly said the market was too small or that earrings and ear piercing was a cute business but should be something I did “on my own”. Ultimately, given the backing and partnership that we have received from phenomenal investors and retail partners, these challenges have become strengths because had we received a “yes” without having done the work that resulted in our current partnerships, we would not see the growth trajectory we have ahead of us today!

As you know – we think community is everything. How has your community helped you navigate your personal and/or professional life?

Community plays such a crucial role, not only with Rowan and our network of nurses, but in my day to day life as well. As many Moms know, community and family are the foundation of your home, and especially in the last year that is even more clear in the ways in which everyone has rallied together to help each other out.

In fact, it was my personal community that helped me kick start Rowan! I have four aunts who are all nurses, who played a crucial role in helping me shape what Rowan is today. Through their insights and connections with their colleagues, I was able to understand the incredibly important work they do, and how I could work to empower them further with my business.

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