When I was twelve years old I wanted to save the world, so decided to join the Peace Corps. It sounded like a good idea at the time, until preteen-me learned I’d have to leave the comforts of my Iowa home. So instead, I started bringing home stray dogs. First there was little orphan Annie, then Gypsy. These dogs needed me. My mom was a single mom, way ahead of the divorce trend of the 90’s, but never complained about the extra mouths to feed. We had a strong connection to nature growing up, hunting for gnomes in the forest and believing there were small cities living in fallen trees. To this day, I can feel the magic of the forest, so it’s no wonder I ended up designing a business that connects my love of the earth with my love of clothing.
But it wasn’t fashion that launched me into this journey. Truth be told, I had an aversion to the Fashion industry. I would like to say I had a big vision, created a business plan, got investors, and then launched my concept of soft clothing that heals mind, body, and soul. But absolutely none of that was true, and a plan would have only slowed me down.
When I began, I had no idea how to get something made, no experience working with patterns or sewing, no knowledge of textiles, and no money in the bank. A Journalism major in school, my only training was with pen and paper. But after abruptly leaving my marriage in 2006, and after spending twenty years in the corporate sphere, I was at a spork in the road. I like to think of it as a spork, because softer curves are a better way of describing the paths I wanted to forge.
My mission was to create a platform of freedom for myself and Dino, my son. To offer us the independence to grow as high as the sky, to grow without limits. I wanted to show my son what being a powerful woman means, and be present for him as he grew into a young man.
The three basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing all boil down to comfort. DINO Apparel became the essence of comfort, a catalyst for change in my own world, and a catalyst for environmental change. So as the story goes, DINO is named for my son, and is meant to represent the concept that comfort shouldn’t be considered a once-in-a-while luxury. I believe comfort, softness, and kindness are all cut from the same cloth, and that to live softly is to be kind to ourselves, to others, and to Mother Earth.
This little company has gifted us with a community that we would have never met otherwise. So if you’re reading this, thank you. With viral marketing and the power of social media, now more than ever a global community is possible. Human connection is limitless and traverses landscapes we would never have been able to travel otherwise.
So that is what this blog is for: to make a space to share what makes our heart beat, people we love, and things we can't live without. Everyone has a story. Whether it’s a caftan to soothe a mother at the bedside of her sick child, a jogger to comfort post-surgical pain, or simply soft fabric on the skin to elevate a person’s sense of well-being and happiness, when DINO plays a small part in someone else’s story, it means much much more than selling clothes.
Founder of DINO