President & CEO, Fashion Group International, Inc

Founder, Binata Millinery

BIO: Rowell Concepcion is a Filipino American milliner who launched his brand, Binata Millinery, in August 2020. Binata Millinery is a hat label focused on old world craftsmanship to help the fashion forward turn their daily outfits into head turners. Rowell studied millinery and fashion merchandising at The Fashion Institute of Technology and previously worked at Balenciaga and Alexander Wang. He is inspired by all things playful, quirky, and whimsical. His clients range from Lady Gaga to Janelle Monae. Rowell’s mission is to teach and train artisans the craft in his parent’s home provinces in The Philippines.


ASSOCIATION TO FGI: FGI Rising Star Finalist

Q and A with FGI President and CEO, Maryanne Grisz

What city were you born in? West Covina in LA County

What is your star sign? Leo Sun and Leo Rising. A double fire? It makes sense I’m in millinery.

What were you obsessed with when you were a child? I was obsessed with books. I’m an avid reader and I love getting lost in stories. I appreciate learning about different perspectives and how people navigate the world. The Kitchen God’s Wife and The Bonesetter’s Daughter are two of my favorites, but I’m sold on anything written by Amy Tan.

What do you value most in a friendship? Trust and honesty are the cornerstones of any relationship.

What’s your proudest moment? My proudest moment was leaving California to attend FIT and start my fashion journey in NYC. All my hopes and dreams are coming true because I chose to do what felt, at the time, risky but exhilarating.

What’s the best part of your job? I’m a full-time milliner, and I create hats that turn heads and spark conversations. The best part of my job is making a client feel confident and noticed.

What’s your biggest fear? My biggest fear is not making my mark in the fashion industry.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten? My mom is an amazing chef who grew up cooking in The Philippines and caters in the LA area. The best meal I have ever eaten will always be my mom’s Kare Kare, which is a traditional Filipino stew made with oxtail, vegetables, and a savory peanut sauce.

What’s next for you in your career? I launched Binata Millinery in 2020, and I have multiple projects in the works. What’s next includes shipping to a few more retailers and collaborations I can’t wait to share!

What’s the last thing that made you laugh out loud? Jennifer Coolidge in The White Lotus.

Who or what in your life brings you the most joy? Using my creativity in business and my personal life brings me the most joy. I love to make, craft, and learn. As long as the right hemisphere of my brain is being used, I’m happy.

How do you spend your day, or what does an ordinary day look like for you? There’s so much to do for my company, but an ordinary day includes blocking a few hats and finishing a few from the day before, mundane business tasks like answering emails, sending out orders and press pulls, and scheduling tasks for the next day. Outside of work, I usually take a spin class and take an hour at night to sit down and have a nice dinner with my life partner.

What approach would you take differently if you had to build a business from scratch today? I started my company with orders from referrals and it all happened so fast. I didn’t have a business plan, but if I had to build a business from scratch that’s the first thing I would do.

What is your favorite quote of all time, and why? I could quote Maya Angelou all day long.  Here is my favorite quote from her: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” Life is full of twists and turns, and my path to my own label was a winding one. Things don’t always work out how you want it, but success requires changing course to make everything work.

What book/s will you recommend that everyone should read once in their lives? I highly recommend The Psychology of Achievement by Brian Tracy. I heard Lululemon employees must read the book, so I read it and it changed how I run my business. I love surrounding myself with positive energy, thoughts, and people – the book highlights conditioning yourself to let go of negative patterns that don’t serve you.

How do you maintain a work-life balance? I don’t. I wish I could say I maintain work-life balance, but I put so much of myself into my work. My life partner works in the fashion industry too, so he understands everything I’m going through and what I’m striving to achieve. Here’s a brief confession: I love to work.

What are the biggest challenges you faced in your career and how did you handle them? The biggest challenge I face is production. To handle the challenge, I broke down what I needed into smaller tasks. I’m still in the process of smoothing everything out, but I’m further along than when I launched.

What is the best advice someone ever gave you? The best advice someone ever gave me came from my dad. Binata Millinery is a tribute to him and my heritage. His words of wisdom still ring true for me every day: Make it easy for yourself. Instead of convoluted processes, I always ask myself: How do I make this easy for myself? Can I streamline the process? Do I need help? Is there an easier way?

Who inspires you the most and why? My parents inspire me the most. They immigrated to the US from The Philippines and they run multiple business ventures in both countries. I aspire to be like them. It was their dream for me to employ artisans in their home provinces and that is my mission. Everything I do is to make them proud and to serve others with my talents and abilities.

What’s the next thing you’re going to do in life? I’m going to sleep in the next chance I get.

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