We had an incredible 2015 and look forward to inspiring you with more amazing women this year. I am excited to introduce you to Katherine Daou of Daou Denim. This powerhouse boss lady has been featured in publications such as Vogue UK, Locale Magazine, Fine Magazine, L'Orient du Jour and many others. She is changing the face of denim and I cannot wait for you to hear her story.
StilettoGal: Tell us more about your background.
Katherine Daou: My background my whole life has been fashion. I started working in a retail store at 15 years old and continued to work in contemporary retail until my early 20s. I was also a personal assistant and fashion show coordinator for a designer in San Francisco, where I attended FIDM and received a degree in merchandise and marketing. I had the opportunity to travel a lot as a kid which had a huge influence on the way I viewed fashion. Before I was 16, I went to Argentina, Mexico, Lebanon, France, and London. All these things in my life led up to where I am today, owner and designer of daou denim co.!
SG: What or who was your inspiration to start your business?
KD: My whole vision for my business started at a young age but what really happened to help jump-start the birth of daou denim was back in 2013. I was working for a high-end department store and pretty unhappy with the corporate ladder. Little things started happening to me that just brought me to a moment where I remember realizing, "this is not what I wanted for myself. I can’t settle for anything less than what I would expect myself to do”. My dad is not only my idol but he is also an incredible mentor. So, I sat down with him and talked about the ways that I could see myself being successful and it all led up to the idea of daou denim. I quit my job and spent a lot of time soul searching and really trying to figure out what exactly what I wanted to do with not just myself but with my idea of success.
SG: If you could give us 3 tips that you have learned in life that have shaped who you are as a business woman today, what would they be?
1. Awareness is always my NUMBER ONE tool that has gotten me thus far. I firmly believe in being open to one's own mistakes and successes. Mistakes are not easy to face and they may take a while to set in, but without awareness you can’t grow and change.
2. Authenticity, of course. This is something I strive for in both my personal life but I tried to adopt that same mentality to my business as well. We love authentic women who feel good about who they are and lets be honest, that’s not 100% of the time for many of us. But I think authenticity is really being honest with yourself about who you are and what you want out of life. We support those kinds of women who struggle but still persevere!
3. My third tip is to remember that nothing is perfect. Everything has room to improve and grow. Design and art can be a scary thing because you’re putting your heart into something that started from nothing and you want people to love it just as much as you do. Regardless, nothing will ever be perfect and you all always look back and say you could’ve done something better. The key is to appreciate where you are and how far you’ve come since day 1.
SG: What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
KD: I think my biggest challenge so far has been the vulnerability factor of starting a business. To be honest, Downtown LA and the fabric/production industry isn’t an easy place for a 24 year old female and even the fashion industry alone with so many different types of people. I found myself in meetings a lot with people who laughed in my face, pushed me to the side, or just wanted to know me to get free stuff and never talk to me again. Also, the fact that you’re putting your heart and soul into a product (or a few products) that are really a representation of your vision. It can be very scary to put 1 foot in front of the other at times. But even when I didn’t want to do something, I still tried. And if it seemed like I couldn’t do it all and it was too much, I would try starting and see how I felt. Most of the time, I would be even more successful than I thought I would be with whatever I was having an issue with. I also started to talk to other business owners and talk to them about their struggles and successes and at the end of the day, you know, we’re all trying to do the same thing and you can find a lot of support in talking to others, being vulnerable!
SG: What do you want as your legacy?
KD: I don’t know if legacy is the right word, I just want people to be around me and feel good about themselves and love life. I want to be the type of woman that doesn’t need the outside to define her inside. I want people to recall me and say, “Katherine was a passionate person”. Which I am, and finding new ways to be passionate all the time. It might sound odd but at the end of the day, happiness and love to me are all that really matter. When I go to bed at night, I want to feel happy and loved. Isn’t that what we all want? Diane von Furstenburg said it perfectly, “I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be."
SG: What kind of shoe are you and why?
KD: I am very big on classics!!! I love a beautiful black pump with a little bit of something unique. I bought these Valentino pumps last year on my birthday and I swear they are the best shoe’s I’ve ever invested in. That stud on the back is just enough of something to make me feel like it’s more than just a plain black pump. Plus, it’s Valentino, to die for.
To learn more about Daou Denim and Katherine, check out their social media below.