Style Speak: Q&A With Kate Duryea of Dimvaloo Activewear
When Kate Duryea – the owner of Dimvaloo, a premium women’s active living boutique in Ladue – announced the sale of her store this fall, she quickly followed the revelation with the public introduction of her next endeavor, the Dimvaloo Activewear line. Duryea has already started the soft launch of Dimvaloo Activewear’s quality sportswear and athleisure clothing, with a full brand launch expected this coming summer.
How did you segue from the store into developing your own brand?
[Starting our own line] is a way to really better address our customers’ needs. We constantly bring in these brands that we’re always getting feedback on, and we do give the brands feedback, but they’re not as nimble, they’re not as agile, they’re not direct with the customer. We started researching what we could do – designing and making our own activewear is where we went with it. First, we went to Vietnam, and that was amazing. It was so cool to see just anything ever rumored: any factory floor, factory owner, the population in general, feeling that entrepreneurial spirit, the excitement to do business and willingness to work hard. We then looked for [the same] opportunity in the United States.
Are you doing the designing?
We have two in-house designers. We felt like we could really provide the market with what it was missing, learning from being a retailer for as long as we have, listening to our customers and what they’ve asked for.
What will set Dimvaloo clothing apart?
The quality of fabric is huge – you don’t want it to be sheer, you can’t have it pill, you need it to be soft. The fit is what’s taken the longest. We ended up developing our tights in the United States because we just needed more of that touch and feel than you can get from trying to develop something overseas. It really is an art, finding someone who can design in that manner. It’s a real talent. When you’re wearing something, people aren’t asking, “Where did you get that?” They’re asking “What brand is that?” We want to be that brand.
What products are currently in the works for the line?
We have a themed collection of holiday designs, a city pride collection and a basic collection, and then we’ll go from there. [For example], we have a spooky web print design for Halloween, a breast cancer ribbon design and a bohemian turkey feather for Thanksgiving (my most favorite design ever). The holiday designs are designed, developed and made right here in the Midwest. It’s cool to be able to see the process from start to finish, knowing the people who make your clothes in the factory in Vietnam, working with the people daily who design the fit for the pant in the States and having anyone who comes in the store interested, try on a pair, figuring out what works for them and what doesn’t.
Dimvaloo Active Living, 8813 Ladue Road, Ladue, 314-669-9164, dimvaloo.com