Co-Founder, Paravel

Indré Rockefeller

Indré Rockefeller, cofounder of Paravel, a sustainable travel brand, is a woman of many talents. After dancing professionally for five years (yes, she was a professional ballerina!), she worked at Vogue and Moda Operandi and subsequently cofounded the company she runs today. Passionate about climate change and sustainability, Indre found a gap in the market for sustainable-first luggage that didn't compromise on elegance, quality, or design. We learned so much from our conversation with her, and we're so honored to feature her as this month's Mujer.

Tell us a little bit about your life and your career before founding Paravel. And how did that experience lead you to founding Paravel?

My first love and first profession was classical ballet.  I danced professionally for 5 years but was sidelined by a back injury.  As a dancer, I used to love costume fittings and would find any excuse to hang around watching the costume designers and seamstresses at work in the atelier creating these magical works of art by hand.  Looking back, it’s probably not too surprising that I was drawn to fashion after I stopped dancing.  I began my career at Vogue and later worked at Moda Operandi and Delpozo after taking two years off from fashion to get my MBA.

How did you and Andy Krantz discover that you were well-matched to start something together?

Andy and I worked together for several years before starting Paravel and knew we had complementary skill sets and a similar approach to problem solving, which is arguably the most important skill in a startups!  Most importantly, we had a lot of fun working together.

What advice would you tell yourself month 1 of starting Paravel if you could go back in time?

It’s a marathon not a sprint, there’s no such thing as perfect, and don’t take things personally.  

You have spent time working in some of the most coveted jobs (Anna Wintour’s assistant at Vogue, e-comm at Moda Operandi, and professional ballerina (!)), what have you taken from each of those experiences that has prepared you for your entrepreneurial journey?

Discipline and stamina. 

Until recently, a lot of luggage brands have looked the same; it almost became a commoditized product. What did your travel luggage look like pre-Paravel days? What was the vision when you started the company?

Pre-Paravel my luggage was an uncoordinated assortment of bags I had collected over time.  Their purpose was to get me from point A to point B but I didn’t feel any of the brands I traveled with stood for anything deeper than that, and I certainly couldn’t find attractive luggage that was sustainably made.  In starting Paravel, we set out to create beautiful yet functional luggage that reflected the values of travelers for whom travel as an experience not just a means to an end.  

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​It’s a marathon not a sprint, there’s no such thing as perfect, and don’t take things personally. ​

Where do you see DTC brands going 5 to 10 years from now? What do you think customers are wanting (and will want) from brands?

I think almost all brands in the next 5-10 years will be DTC on some level, even those who sell through wholesale, as the customer is looking for a personal connection with the brands they shop.  I believe the key to success for brands will be authenticity and mission.  I hope sustainability will become table stakes for every brand.      

What is a big mistake in your career that you’ve learned a great deal from?

My biggest mistakes have come from moments when I didn’t have enough confidence to trust myself.  I love gathering input from others and doing my research but every time I’ve let someone else talk me into or out of something that still didn’t sit 100% with me after I had all the information on the table, I’ve had regrets. And that doesn’t mean I’m always right - far from it - but I prefer to live with the mistakes I made with conviction. 

What’s surprised you most since starting this company? 

What an important role mission - in our case sustainability - would play in our growth.  

What designers are your current (or perennial) favorites? What are you loving most in your closet right now?

I try to buy almost exclusively from designers who work with sustainable materials, fair trade practices, or artisan construction, and of course I love vintage. I’m so excited by the new wave of existing and emerging design talent turning their attention to conscious design.  

Favorite meal in NYC: 

Brunch. So many great places, but right now I’m craving the Caccio e Pepe from Maialino. 

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I prefer to live with the mistakes I made with conviction. ​

One thing you ALWAYS pack on a trip (besides something essential like a toothbrush!):

A Paravel Fold-Up Bag.  You never know when you need an extra bag on a trip and this one is ultra light and zips down to a kindle-sized pouch when not in use.  Love that it’s made from 22 recycled plastic water bottles.

Favorite ballet: 

George Balanchine’s Serenade 

What does a typical Friday night look like for you: 

Dinner party with friends or family, preferably outdoors. These days? Movie in bed.  

Favorite destination visited in 2019: 

Vilnius, Lithuania for my brother’s film premier.