you meet KK once, and you simply do not forget her. she is so sweet, so approachable — and then you learn she founded the amazing, eco-chic swimwear brand dawne florine and you’re like…please, will you be my mom friend?
d|f is based right here in sf and its bikinis are flattering, comfortable and sustainable (+ bonus: they’re reversible).
kk shares with us her inspiration behind the brand and how she’s navigated her two very new, very important roles over this past year: ceo and mama.
we hope you enjoy our interview with KK…and read to the very end to see how you can win a free dawne florine bikini!
We absolutely love your brand. Can you share with us a little bit about your journey to how it all got started?
I am an avid traveler and felt driven to start a clothing brand that represented my lifestyle. I needed to develop timeless pieces that were minimal, yet sophisticated and something that could be worn multiple ways and in various settings. Think studio to street, beach to brunch.
During this time, my favorite brands were focusing on one product and being the best in their category. I choose to own swimwear because there are no brands targeting millennials who dedicate their heart and soul into fit, fabric, and feel of bikinis. So here I am now.
Where do you get the inspiration for your designs?
The inspiration for my designs comes from my bridesmaids. It was amazing to see such beautiful and strong women come together on my most special day and celebrate unity. Their individual characteristics helped me shape the styles, and that’s why each piece is named after one of my girls. It’s important to cater to as many shapes and sizes as possible when designing a small collection, and that’s why I offer mix-and-match because it resonates very well with my customers.
Side note: I have 3 more bridesmaids which means new designs are coming soon!
“if my life is in balance, I am winning.”
We have major respect for you launching your own brand and becoming a mother around the same time. How do you find the time to do it all? Any tips on work/life balance?
“Mompreneurs” have to shift expectations and re-prioritize our lives. Ask yourself, “what does success look like?” and I promise you your answer is not the same as it was before your child was born. My answer a year ago was very numbers driven and transactional, and now it’s about having a balanced life. If my life is in balance, I am winning.
My tips on work/life balance are to (1) be present and (2) ask for help. Becoming a mother has made me incredibly efficient. When I’m in the office, I am truly present and *get shit done* (sorry, can I say that?) haha. It’s hanging out at home that is more of a challenge for me. I have to make a conscious effort to not be on my phone/email 24/7 and have learned that sitting on the floor, playing with my daughter is so fulfilling!
So, stay present whether you’re at home with your family, or downtown at your office. Second, ask for help. For some reason, our generation thinks that asking for help is “failing.” I know that I want to be a (part-time) working mom, and it’s taken me a few months to feel confident that I am not *failing* as a mother when I ask for help. I have a lot of family and friends who help watch my daughter, and I am so lucky she is able to be raised by a badass village.
When did you start exercising again postpartum and what was that journey like for you?
RIght away! But my core is still SO WEAK. I wish I worked out more before getting pregnant.
It can be hard to find clothing as a new mom that is still stylish yet also practical and comfortable. Any brands or items of clothing you have loved wearing pre/postpartum?
YES!! Rent the Runway has been amazing for my self-confidence. I had a tough time wanting to spend money on clothes during the 3rd Trimester and their unlimited subscription is great. For the SF mamas, there is a showroom downtown too so I never order on the app, but I go try the clothes on :)
Also, Marine Layer started to make XL so I bought a lot of their clothes, too!
What is your biggest piece of advice for new moms?
Find your new identity and own it. It took me 7 months to learn that I am a “mompreneur” which means that I want to continue to run my company while being the best mother to my daughter and future children!
Finally, where is your dream destination to wear a Dawne Florine design?
Love this question, and where do I start!? How about Australia, scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef with my husband!
And if you want a free dawne florine swimsuit of your own, be sure to check out our Instagram feed on Monday — this is a giveaway you won’t want to miss!
Keep moving, mamas!