San Diego native, Katherine Daou, is an up and coming denim designer who has recently taken the fashion industry by surprise. At the young age of 25, her company, daou denim co., has already been featured in LOCALE Magazine, Glam Gal, The Pulse San Diego, and Dialogues Magazine, just to name a few. The “California lifestyle” is what has inspired the premium denim brand.
"We are focused on providing women with comfortable fitting jeans & luxurious details such as lamb skin leather, bronze, and real gold. Our designs are inspired by combining natural and contemporary aspects of a California lifestyle. We combine trend and authenticity to provide a great fit and an original product," says Daou.
I sat down with this blonde beauty and if I wasn't blown away enough by her story, spending an hour with her in person sold me! Don't let her young age fool you, she is insightful and soulful. She has a brilliant mind for business and a savvy hand at designing. She is also sweet and approachable and easy to converse with. With the looks of a girl next door look and the brains of a successful entrepreneur, we will be seeing great things from this lady in the future, so stay tuned!
How did it all start? What made you decide to pursue this career? What steps did you take to make it a reality?
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. So 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.
What/who inspires you to get through each day & overcome every challenge?
My family & fiancé are my number one support system so they definitely play a role in what inspires me every day. But there are a couple things that motivate me each day to overcome issues that I’m having.
The first thing is that I am a huge fan of affirmations and journaling. Some days I have to look myself in the mirror and tell myself “You’re going to be OK!” or “This isn’t going to define you or your life, it’s a bump in the road”. I journal every night before I go to bed. I have to remind myself and tell myself that all this hard work is part of a bigger journey than the end destination.
The second thing is my vision. Since I was a kid, I’ve had a vision and a dream. Having the example of my father taught me perseverance, determination, and working hard to never give up on something you want. My vision and my dream is generally the same with a few tweaks as I’ve gotten older. But it still remains a huge part of why I continue to work hard every day to make my dreams a reality. And one day, they will be.
What would you say is the main factor that may hinder a person from finding and pursuing his or her purpose? What advice would you give to overcome that factor?
I would say that the main factor that may hinder a person from finding their purpose is the fact that they cannot look inwards to themselves. I think awareness is one of the most important things in life to be successful. In my own life, once I started to look at myself and my life piece by piece, it was a journey of first figuring out who I was. Then I had to determine if I was OK with who I was. Once I felt that I could accept the person I had become, I had to take the next step to decide who I wanted to be. And that is where I am now at 24. I can’t say I have enough life experience to give someone advice but I can definitely say that in order to find your purpose, you must be aware.Have there been any specific hindrances or challenges that you have had to overcome to get to where you are now, personally & professionally?There have been some significant changes in my life in the last year and a half that have definitely challenged me more than I thought I was capable of taking on at once. And like I said in the question above, I had to do a lot of soul searching. I also have had to learn to trust God a lot more than I have in the past. Which in turn, is helping me professionally as well. Positivity may be the hardest thing to see in a pile of stress, but it’s the only thing that can give you a sense of hope. The most basic lessons in life become the most important!If you were to pinpoint a few tools for success, what would they be?Katherine’s Tools for Success: 1. Awareness 2. Authenticity with yourself & others 3. Persistence!!! No matter how many times you’re being told no, KEEP GOING! Someone will say “Yes”. 4. Never think anything is perfect because if it was, you wouldn’t have long term success.What advice would you give a young girl about getting out in the “real” world?As long as you love yourself, others will treat you with love and love what you do. And never change yourself because you feel that others will accept you more. BE AUTHENTIC! There’s 6 billion people on this planet, if you’re lucky enough to meet 1 that accepts you, that’s all you need.
What do you love most about your profession?
I think it’s beautiful to sit down at a table of people and bring up a topic like “what are your thoughts on…” and everyone will have a different perspective. For example, if you look at one of Alexander McQueen’s collections & runway shows before he passed, the way I see and interpret what he’s trying to say in that show is just as real to me as someone else’s interpretation is to them! It’s a beautiful collaboration of ideas and art. I love that it also gives people the freedom to embrace themselves. I almost look at is as existential.
Why do you think organizations like Lipstick Sister are important?
A couple weeks before I joined Lipstick Sister, I had been talking about wanting to join a group of inspiring and successful women. I had felt that I needed support and friendship by women who were like me, knew what they wanted and weren’t afraid to go after it in all aspects of life. The support I have received so far has been incredible and I feel very blessed to be a part of this group.
Why do you think it is important for women to love, accept and collaborate with each other for who they are & what they are doing?
Women need each other. Plain & simple. And women get each other for the most part. How beautiful is it to find a group of women who are there for each other at all times without any hesitation!
When you are not busy working, what do you do for fun?
For fun I love to exercise, go on hikes, read, stay up to date on all things fashion (i.e. browse style.com for hours), hang out with friends, and watch documentaries/learn something new.
How do you create balance in your life?
I create balance in my life by having some kind of routine. I love “me” time which allows me to re-charge and stay balanced. Journaling also helps me a lot.
Tell us about your personal style:
My personal style consists of 2 words: black everything, haha. However my personal style reflects what others would describe as “Parisian Style”. Loads of jeans, t-shirts/blouses, lots of flats, a good pair of sneakers, a couple dresses, and pumps. I like to be relaxed and comfortable but I also like to feel feminine and fashionable.
Do you have any favorite designers?
This list could go on and on….and on. Right now my top high-fashion favorites are 1. Maria Grazia Chiuri & Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino 2. Karl Lagerfeld for Fendi 3. Olivier Rousteing for Balmain 4. Michael Kors
Who is your female idol?
Demi Lovato - I find her honesty and her authenticity to be magnetic. She is so true to her journey and who she is and I find that inspiring.
Do you have any personal mantras or philosophies?
I don’t have any mantras but I am big on quotes. My current favorite is “I stopped feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere, and realized that I actually belonged anywhere I wanted to be” - Sophia Amoruso
Born and raised in San Diego, California, Katherine was instilled with a yearning to be in the fashion industry since the young age of 12. Unique denim styles were always a part of her wardrobe. Given the opportunity to create a business idea for her dad and uncle at age 12, Katherine created the seedling of daou denim co. She created DAOU (designs against our universe), an organic t-shirt and denim line. As she grew, so did the idea. With her first retail job at 15 years old, she was determined to gain knowledge and experience for future. At the age of 18, she attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco, California, majoring in Merchandise/Marketing. Her time spent there was filled with school and working for a designer in the Bay Area who created sustainable yoga gear. She continued working in retail as it taught her about management, merchandising, connecting with customers/people, brand knowledge, and networking. However she felt that there was something missing within her retail job that she knew she could find on her own. So in 2012, she left her sales position and decided it was time to pursuer her dream of launching her own clothing company. Because she worked in contemporary clothing for so long, specifically in denim, she decided she could make a pair of kick-ass jeans that were unique and authentic. Not only wanting to focus on a great product, she wanted to take her education in marketing and use it to create a BRAND.
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