Rachel BIRNBAUM

Creative Director | REFINERY29

Rachel Birnbaum is a Creative Director on the Brand Experience team at Refinery29, where she focuses on the lifestyle category. Prior to that, she served as a freelance and full-time creative director at organizations including JWT, Saatchi and Saatchi, StrawberryFrog, Harry’s Grooming, Time Inc., FCB and more. In 2013, Rachel was named a Game Changer by AWNY (Advertising Women of New York). She has helped develop work for a range of clients such as Band-Aid Brand, Oreo, Diet Coke, Fortune Magazine, City Meals on Wheels, City Harvest, International Rescue Committee, Starbucks, Nickelodeon and others. Her work has been recognized by The Cannes Lions, The Webby Awards, The Addys, The Art Directors Club, The Clios, The One Show and The Wall Street Journal. Rachel's personal essays have appeared in Salon, The New York Times, Newsday, New York Press and her 7th grade journal. 

questionnaire

What was your very first job?  

Waitress at a local pizzeria.

Please describe, in your own words, what your job is and what work it entails.

I help develop smart, strategic and creative content programs for brands. It involves collaborating with a lot of talented R29 team members, an unfailing sense of humor and plenty of snacks.

How did you discover that the creative world was right for you? Was there a time in your life that you credit to this discovery? What was the train of events that brought you to where you are today?

I’ve always loved the art of storytelling. When I was a kid, I’d put on sketches and original plays. At 8 years old I wrote my first commercial, complete with storyboards. (Admittedly, it wasn’t very good).

In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how do you find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant?

I’m a lifelong student. I love surrounding myself with people I can learn from. Live music, travel, a walk on the Brooklyn Bridge, a messy art project with my daughter---these are all things that instantly get my brain going.

If you had to pick one piece of work or project that you are most proud of, more for the creative work and innovation it required, rather than its recognition or industry “success,” what would it be?

To launch Cynthia Rowley’s line of designer Band-Aid bandages a few years ago, our team created the Glambulance, a tricked out ambulance that treated actual fashion emergencies between runway shows at Lincoln Center. It was a fun and cheeky way to reach our target organically, when they were running around in injury-inducing heels and accessories and in desperate need of Band-Aids. 

jury

SVP Global Creative Director | SIMON
Founder, Creative Director | SLANG INC.
Global Design Director | COTY PRESTIGE
Exec. Creative Director | PERIERA & O'DELL
VP Group Creative Director | DIGITASLBI
Chief Strategic Officer | VICE MEDIA
EVP Exec. Creative Director | BBDO
Creative Director | CONDE NAST
Creative Director | HEARST DIGITAL MEDIA
Creative Director | CARHARTT
Creative Director | ARITZIA
Creative Director | REFINERY29
Creative Director | GREY BEAUTY
Chief Engagement Officer | SAMSUNG
Director of Branded Content | MACY'S
VP Group CD | YOUNG & RUBICAM
Dir. of Creative Operations | DROGA5
Assoc. Creative Director | ARNOLD WW
Managing Director, CCO | HAVAS LIFE
ECD, Managing Partner | SID LEE
Exec. Creative Director | MCGARRYBOWEN
VP Brand Design | SYFY
SVP Creative Director | DDB (AVEENO)
Exec. Creative Director | ANTHROPOLOGIE
SVP Global Creative Director | CREME LA MER
Global Digital Creative Director | KIEHL'S
Sr. Dir of Creative Production | NIKE
Exec. Dir., Creative Studio | NARS COSMETCS
SVP Executive Producer | MCCANN
Exec. Creative Director | SELECT WORLD
Chief Creative Officer | THE FADER
VP CD | AUTHENTIC BRANDS GROUP
Exec. Dir. of Production | DAVID YURMAN
CCO | AVRETT FREE GINSBERG
Head of Visual Design | AMAZON
Exec. Creative Director | SPRING STUDIOS
Exec. Creative Director | ARNOLD WW
Chairman | SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS
Creative Director | VAYNER MEDIA
Global Head of Design | CITIBANK
Creative Director | TJ MAXX
VP Brand Marketing | CHOBANI
Sr. Manager, Interactive | TIMBERLAND
VP CD | HUDSON'S BAY, LORD&TAYLOR
Sr. Creative Director | UNDER ARMOUR
Chief Creative Officer | JACK MORTON
Creative Director | R/GA
ECD | FALLON NEW YORK
VP Creative Director | PUBLICIS
Exec. Creative Director | JWT
Exec. Creative Director | NICKELODEON
Assoc. Creative Director | R/GA
VP Global Creative | MICHAEL KORS
Head of Brand Design | WARBY PARKER
VP Brand CD | VH1
Creative Director
ECD, Global Product & Innovation | HUGE
VP Creative Marketing | XCEL BRANDS
SVP, Group Creative Director | MOMENTUM
Founder | MEKANISM
Creative Director
VP CD of Experiential Design | EDELMAN
Sr. Art Director | DROGA5
Digital Creative Director | NBCUNIVERSAL
Creative Director | SHOWTIME NETWORKS
Creative Innovation Lead | GOOGLE ZOO
Creative Director | AEROSOLES
Director of Innovation | MEDIACOM
Creative Director | NFL
Chief Creative Officer & Co-Founder | SID LEE
Group Creative Director | MOTHER NEW YORK
VP Global Creative | ESTEE LAUDER / ADF
SVP Brand Creative | KATE SPADE
Chief Creative Officer | CARROT- VICE AGENCY
VP Creative Services | ALICE+OLIVIA
Design Dir., Global Brand Design | CONVERSE
Design Director | 360I
Chief Creative Officer | HUDSON ROUGE
Owner + Artistic Director | EPI
Sr. Art Director | BARON & BARON
Head of Global Creative Design | JO MALONE
Creative Services | HARRY WINSTON
Group CD | THE MARTIN AGENCY
ACD | THE CREATIVE GROUP, CONDE NAST
Dir. of Digital and Print Prod. | KENNETH COLE
Partner | THE PUB
Exec Creative Director | TIFFANY & CO
Creative Director | SHOPBOP
Artistic Director | EQUINOX
Founder, Creative Director | AIR PARIS
ACD | BERGDORF GOODMAN
SVP ECD | LAIRD + PARTNERS
Creative | AMAZON FASHION JAPAN
SVP, Creative Director | ARNOLD WW
Art Director | PAPER
Group Creative Director | RAZORFISH
Photo Director | T MAGAZINE
Creative Director | EXPRESS
Co-Founder, CD | JOHANNES LEONARDO
Creative Director | BARTON F. GRAF
Partner | WALTON ISAACSON
Sr. Social Media Strategist | ADIDAS
VP Creative Director | MCCANN
Chief Production Officer | DDB
Founder | NR2154
Creative Director | APPLE
Chief Creative Officer | SAPIENTRAZORFISH
VP Creative | MAYBELLINE
VP Group CD | MCCANN ERICKSON