- Buyer's Guide
REVISIT :: Preservation and Product
Recognizing the threat that America’s National Parks face from budget cuts, Jillian DiIorio and Brent Celek founded REVISIT, a luxury goods brand that donates a quarter of its profits towards preserving the National Parks. The brand partners with local designers and artisans to create a range of leather carry goods that are built to last so they can be used extensively and develop their own characters that reflect the journeys they’ve been on. In order to learn more about REVISIT we chatted with Jillian and Brent about manufacturing locally, what they value in designers and products, and the positive impacts REVISIT has made so far…
What inspired REVISIT? And how did it come together?
Jillian: REVISIT was inspired by our desire to help preserve our National Parks and remind people “What Makes America Great”.
Why are National Parks so important to you?
Jillian: They are the foundation of what makes America great in my opinion.
What struggles do they face?
Jillian: Our National Parks are facing critical threats of federal budget cuts. Children’s programs, trails, rangers’ jobs and other programs are facing drastic cuts all of the time.
Why give 25% of your profits to charity? Why not just blow all of your cash on ritzy champagne and holiday houses?
Jillian: I don’t look at our National Parks as a charity. I look at them as a part of our responsibility as Americans to protect and preserve them for future generations.
Can you fill me in on the projects REVISIT has helped so far?
Brent: We are happy to say that we successfully funded our first project, which was to provide new bikes for the rangers at Independence National Historical Park. We are very excited because our goal was to be able to provide them with 5 brand new bikes, but we were able to provide 10. This is just the beginning for REVISIT and we can’t wait to continue to fund more projects while working closely with the Friends of the Parks.
And what’s next on the agenda?
Jillian: Continuing to learn more about the individual Park needs and putting together a strategy as to how we can partner with our Friends of National Parks and help.
Jillian, you spent 7 years working with TOMS (a brand we really dig and respect) and played a big role in making it awesome. What was the greatest lesson you learned whilst there?
First off, being a part of TOMS was a great honor and every day was packed with new lessons. For me there were two very important lessons I learned over the last 7 years at TOMS. 1.) Every day will be different and filled with the unexpected. When you are growing a brand and also striving to do good and give back there are many more aspects of the business than you can plan for or anticipate. 2.) The second lesson that I learned is that when you put a group of passionate, driven people in the same spot…amazing things happen! TOMS was made up of a diverse group of people, some former CEOs, educators, some with no work experience out of college and some that have been a part of companies like Nike. When you put all of these contributors in a meeting and ask their opinions and then really listen to their point of view, something very special happens.
Brands like yourselves and TOMS are doing great things by giving back, but how can we make this commonplace? Any ideas?
Jillian: I would suggest two things. 1.) Determine what you are passionate about and what is most important in your life. 2.) Make a decision to help and then do something about it. If giving is a part of everyday life, it becomes second nature. We all have time to give back and explore business models and career paths that hold space for that. It would be great if all businesses made it part of their mission and DNA to give back to help others.
Who else is doing great things in this retail/charity model?
Brent: I don’t know of any companies using the quarter-back model. It’s our way of hoping to inspire others to become quarter-backs in their own community. At REVISIT we feel that it is so important to give back, and teach the children of the next generation that it truly matters and you can make a difference when you give back. It doesn’t always have to be money. It can be your time as well.
You guys are also big believers in manufacturing locally, what are the pros? The cons?
Jillian: We are learning daily about manufacturing in the U.S. and I love that. I am incredibly motivated to learn as much as I can from the talented artisans that we are able to partner with. They hold a wealth of knowledge and experience. I have enjoyed spending time with them and learning more about their stories and meeting their families.
On the flip side, it is very costly to produce products here in the United States due to limited resources. Every day we are looking for new artisans. Most of the truly talented artisans are working in their small studios or barns somewhere and cannot just be googled. The discovery happens by word of mouth. I always want to connect with new artisans. Email me email@example.com
You partner with local designers and artisans, how do you choose who to partner with?
Jillian: First we look for artisans who have a great heart and then we look at their work which tends to be a great reflection of their heart.
Tell me about one of your artisans, what makes them great?
Jillian: I am proud to say that we have a great team of artisans that we partner with across the country. They are all great. It’s just like if I were planning a wonderful dinner, if I left out any ingredient it is just not the same.
What’s so special about your gear? What makes a bag of yours worth its $1400 price tag?
Jillian: We set out to create product that would last a lifetime. Our products can be passed down for generations and even look better with age. We see them as traditional pieces with contemporary twist. All of our leather products in the Founders Collection are stained, handworked, sewn, and finished. Our lining is even hand-stained and broken in a bit to help us achieve the exact quality we want. We are using solid brass, reclaimed metal and hand-oxidizing right down to the last rivet. Every single piece is made by hand from start to finish. No two bags are exactly alike. We are proud to be able to deliver a collection with pricing ranging from $50-$1,400. 00 USD.
What do you feel is important design-wise?
Jillian: Design-wise my goal is to create products with a purpose. Products need to be timeless, contemporary, easy to use, and make you feel good.
What do you personally carry daily? And why?
Brent: I have the phone case and the backpack with me all the time. I absolutely love them both. The backpack is something that just gets better with time and it’s built to last. It will be a bag that I pass on to my kids.