Q&A With Renna browN-taher, founder of renna
Tell us about yourself. Where are you from and where do you live now?
I grew up in Pacific Palisades and reside in the West Village, NYC.
What did you do before starting RENNA?
I was a jewelry specialist at Sotheby’s auction house in New York.
Tell us about your company. When did you launch? Where are you based? Why did you start it?
We launched in 2016, it’s been a wild and beautiful ride! We are based in NYC.
What was the inspiration behind RENNA?
The first pieces we made were made from molds of shells that my mother and I found on Salt Creek Beach in Laguna when I was about nine. She saved the shells in her safe deposit box for years and made me a bracelet out of them when I graduated from UC Berkeley. The bracelet has been with me through and through. When I first started designing, I wanted the pieces to be from my heart so this is where I turned for inspiration. I will always consider our coffee bean shells the DNA of our brand even as we evolve.
What has your last year looked like?
We moved to the Hamptons on March 11, 2020. We were planning to stay for three weeks and ended up living there through October. In November, my grandmother passed away. She was like a parent to me and I just had to grieve with my mother who I hadn’t seen since Thanksgiving 2019. My boyfriend and I went out to LA and stayed through mid-January to be with my mom. Through all of this, I have been so homesick for my little West Village hideaway. I am finally home in Manhattan and loving every minute of it. I’m writing this as feet of snow fall outside my window and I couldn’t feel more content.
How has COVID-19 impacted your business?
It’s strange, business has boomed this year. We were very quiet last March and I was holding my breath about not just the future of our business but the state of the world. Around Mother’s Day, orders started rolling in and haven’t stopped. Our clients are looking to own more meaningful, unique objects that will last a lifetime. Our bespoke business has grown significantly. Covid-19 has spurred on so many proposals. Designing engagement rings is a deeply personal journey that is incredibly moving for all involved. I am always honored when we are entrusted with this task; we are looking forward to offering this service to your clients.
What is your current mantra?
“Heart open, eyes open, mind open.”
What are some routines you've been enjoying lately?
I take the Class by Taryn Toomey religiously, I couldn’t have made it through quarantine without her. Walking to my morning coffee at Cafe Kitsuné or Three Owls. Rubbing my little dog Reese’s belly.
What is your go-to outfit?
I’m not just saying this because this is a Modatrova interview, but I live in my Sold Out NYC sweat sets. I now have three pairs! My mom got me a Leret Leret sweater at your December trunk show which I adore. My thread and shell necklace and bracelet and a bunch of single studs. Cozy and easy are the name of the game for me these days.
Any books, movies, tv shows or podcasts to recommend?
Book: Mexican Gothic (page-turner!)
Podcast : The Glossy and The Class
TV: The Great British Baking Show, Masterclass, Jack Ryan
Are you planning any trips this year? What places are you most looking forward to visiting when life opens back up again?
I’m headed to London as soon as possible! I usually spend a few months a year there and I miss it and my friends there dearly.
You can shop all of RENNA's pieces on Modatrova here.
Below are Renna's Modatrova favorites.