We're back to gush on the DÔEN label again, this time talking sisterhood, motherhood + balance with Katherine and Margaret Kleveland, the sisters behind the dreamy collection of bohemian staples. We have our eyes on every single piece, as shown in the gorgeous pages of the Spring look book below. You'll find yourself coveting DÔEN's romantic, wearable clothing with a mission we certainly can get behind: small batch , ethical sourcing brought forth by a serious pack of female minds. DÔEN feels like the future..... click for the shared interview!
PS: As sisters, when did Margaret + Katherine decide they wanted to go into business together? Was this always the plan since childhood or was this a surprise venture?
DOEN: Although we have worked together in the past, we never discussed the possibility of starting a business until having babies. Once we both realized that our current work situations were not conducive to being both empowered and creative people while having a family it felt like the only option. There was also some very magical things that happened with timing and connections at that time as well. It was all very organic and added to our sense of urgency like “this HAS to happen now”. There was really no other way - were were both a bit fanatical.
PS: On that note, what aspects of your childhood would you attribute such creativity and collaboration to?
DOEN: The most unifying thing through the evolution of the project is that from inception we have always had the same goals. Understanding this makes it much easier to get through the minutiae and disagreements. We definitely did not have this perspective as kids, and in fact although we had shared experience we were always quite different. There is something about working with family and having 100% trust and faith in the intention of the other person that is incomparable. We have never been closer.
PS: We are totally moved by your idea of a Collective... and share a similar philosophy of community and engagement- we love how your customers and friends are your models, and there is a strong narrative to all you do. The fashion landscape has changed...do you think audiences are embracing this shift into a more personal, unique experience and are just plain fatigued of trend, markdowns, and poor quality in retail?
DOEN: We STRONGLY believe that more that ever people are looking for authenticity. This applies across the board to experience, purchasing power, interpersonal relationships. We are very excited by the idea of having a direct line to our customer via our selling channel and social media. We have talked extensively regarding all of the static that gets in the way of direct customer communication in a traditional wholesale model. The final product is dictated not only by the designer but also by a chain of buyers, merchandisers, and sales reps. We really value being able to share stories on our site of our real community wearing our product, and in turn getting direct feedback from our customers on the site and via social media. We are able to analyze and react to customers while remaining true to the brand ideals and aesthetic.
PS: How does Motherhood play a role in what you do?
DOEN: I personally feel that becoming a mother was one of the huge driving forces behind re-evaluating my life and starting a business. The desire to build something for my family became stronger then my fear of the unknown. In terms of the day-to-day, we both observe the way that being a mom makes you need to be incredibly efficient and a master multi-tasker. We will continue to implement practices within our organization that support people with families. When possible we encourage working from home and a flexible schedule that encourages a balance that you can’t have if your employer’s definition of being accountable is clocking hours at a desk.
PS: What is balance??
DOEN: So tough, still my biggest challenge. As the mom of a one year old I split most of my time between baby and business. My biggest take-away so far is that if the time spent with family is quality and I am able to remain present I feel grateful and balanced. When my time at home is spent being pre-occupied even when not working we lose balance as a family.
Be sure to follow the beauties at @shopdoen!