Iva Pawling, 36, is the CEO of the San Juan Capistrano clothing company Richer Poorer, founded in 2010. Richer Poorer’s T-shirts, bralettes, socks and undershirts are sold at more than 900 retailers worldwide. Pawling and co-founder Tim Morse have owned the company twice and have sold it and taken it back to save it from bankruptcy. The company has 36 employees and is expected to generate $10 million in record revenue in 2018.
Pawling and her sister Gorjana were very interested in fashion when they grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, but there were few opportunities to fill the closet. “We are always addicted to brands and clothing, but this is something we can’t achieve,” Pawling said. “My parents are typical immigrants. This is just hoarding your money. You won’t spend it on such things.”
After receiving a degree in communications from Arizona State University, Pawling used her knowledge to reach a dream in fashion designer Kate Spade in New York and eventually to the public relations department. It gave her an industry crash course. “You can start a part-time receptionist in a half day,” Pawling said. “The other half, you will jump between different departments, so that you can really understand the full working style of fashion brands.”
Pawling later worked in the public relations department of the strategic communications department of the Bennet Group in Hawaii, following her husband, Andrew, in his military career. She is mainly engaged in fashion again. Then her sister started her own jewellery brand of the same name, and Pawling went to work for her. “I think Kate, Joan Bennet, who runs for the Hawaiian company, and my sister are very convinced that I can do it too.”