about me & zeezee
BEHIND THE BRAND
I'm Rachel, and I'm the "me" behind Zeezee!
I learned to knit when I was 10 years old, and while knitting came and went through my life as I navigated school, college, and finally, adulthood, it remained a steady part of my identity that always sparked that "next step" for me behind the scenes. I studied fashion design in school, focusing on knitwear and falling in love with the entire process from start to finish, be it by hand or machine. For the past decade I worked professionally as a knitwear designer for a major American retail brand, all the while knitting in my free time, learning to spin yarn, and gathering fiber-related hobbies one after the other.
The first summer of the pandemic, I found myself with a void - I was working remotely, and while the wonders of technology allowed me to perform my job from my home, I desperately missed the hands-on aspect of admiring stitches, feeling yarns and textures in my hands, analyzing the drape of a garment, and most of all, experiencing color before my eyes (something that, no matter what, technology just can't replicate!) That summer, I decided to try out dyeing for the first time, as a way to fill that need in my soul to tangibly create something.
I started Zeezee formally in August of 2020, launching my first collection of six colorways and enjoying it immensely as a way to expand my personal portfolio of textile-related skills. It was fulfilling, challenging, fun, invigorating... and something I decided to continue doing as my company transitioned back to the office a year and a half later. And in April of 2022, I made the scary but joyful decision to go for a huge change - and take Zeezee full time. What started as a stovetop kitchen operation (and office, basement, porch, and dining room table operation as room grew tight) recently evolved when my husband and I bought a home together at the end of 2022, and I now work out of my home studio in a space that is inspiring and has room to grow.
None of this could have been possible without you, and that is never lost on me!
BEHIND THE NAME
You know that strange feeling you get when nostalgia hits you? Sometimes it takes you hours to put a finger on the what, or when; other times the recognition of the original memory or experience is immediate. Isn't that feeling strange? Fascinating? Poignant?
Some of my strongest memories are color related. It's the detail I take with me as a souvenir from every place I visit, or any object I hold. It affects my mood and overall experience. It's often the pairing of color that becomes the match striking the matchbox, and suddenly all these waves of nostalgia come crashing in from every direction.
I'm a process person. I find the way people do things fascinating - and it's taken years for me to figure out what my own process looks like. Where does inspiration come from? What am I trying to tell you with what I'm doing? I want to share this impossible thing, this feeling I get that I can't touch. Maybe my process is simply the time commitment it takes for something to become nostalgic at all, and color is the best way I know how to share that.
What, then, does the name Zeezee have to do with anything? That, my friends, is my family's childhood meme, my sister's first and dearest stuffed animal. She wears the patina of love and use; she was repaired and never replaced because how could you? Zeezee stands for my most vivid representation of nostalgia, and continues to exist as this tangible thing as she sits atop a blue comforter in a childhood bedroom still intact.
This name came to have a second layer many years later - in the form of my cat, who's adoring nicknames eventually took on "Zeezee" as one of the many. Lamb or cat, the symbolism points towards home.