You probably haven’t heard of Rebecca Allen… yet, but you’ll soon wonder why you haven’t seen her name come up sooner. In her time at Goldman Sachs, she noticed that all of the (white) women wore nude heels and she, as a Black woman, couldn’t find a similar look for her skin tone. Through that frustration came insight and she started a versatile nude shoe line for women of black and brown color. Now, she’s using that business as the springboard for other exciting ventures focused on supporting Black women and their needs.

Question Highlights:

  • Where did you get your start in business?
  • How did you fund your project?
  • What are you working on next?

We aren’t about fashion, we are about creating a solution for our customer.

Rebecca Allen


  • Inspiration behind Rebecca Allen, Inc.
  • Struggles of raising money
  • Pivoting quickly to meet demand
  • Creating tools to help Black women shine


Helaine Knapp

Founder & CEO of CityRow Go. After spending years climbing the corporate ladder, Helaine Knapp left the world of publishing for tech start-up life. Group fitness was her outlet while working hard and taking on the hustle and bustle of New York City. However, months of spin and boot camp classes left her with a lower back injury, and she began searching for a workout that was low impact, but super effective. After a friend suggested rowing, Helaine initially rejected it as something “my dad did in college,” but following a few workouts on a sexy machine, and pairing it with total body sculpting moves, her mind was changed and the concept for CITYROW was born. With a mission of delivering a smart, fun, effective workout to all fitness levels, under Knapp’s leadership, CityRow has grown from one studio in New York City to a national, omnichannel fitness brand with 12 open studios and 65 franchises sold nationwide along with a top-ranked, on-demand, global program featuring at-home rowers and a fast-growing digital subscription business. Knapp has yet to row on the water and has been featured as a business leader and a wellness expert on TODAY, Women’s Health, ABC, Harper’s Bazaar, Shape, Well + Good, Vogue, Yahoo! Finance, and PEOPLE, among many others.


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