"In the end, we just went for it!" Meet the sister act behind one of our favourite Irish fashion brands
If you are yet to decide on a Mother's Day present for your own mum – or any amazing mum in your life (inlcuding yourself!), well, then we think this might just be the perfect gift to give.
KDK Sisters is the brand behind the most luxurious Irish-designed cashmere and modal scarves – with designs you won't find anywhere or on anything else. And to be honest, we kind of want them all.
The super-luxe cashmere blanket scarves are stocked at Brown Thomas department stores all over Ireland, and KDK Sister's Irish prints are one of Avoca’s best-sellers – so it goes without saying much else that this is one brand worth watching.
We recently caught up with sisters Keira and Dairine Kennedy (who, it must be mentioned, are busy mums of five young kids between them!) to hear all about their Mumpreneur lives and how you really go about turning a passion project into a fashion brand:
How did the idea for your company come about
We’ve both always been obsessed with photography and travel. A much-needed escape from the humdrum of working in marketing and business twelve years ago inspired us to take a trip to India. And when we got there, we were so taken with the incredible beauty, vivid colours and vibrant landscape – we took so many photos, had so many incredible experiences,
What started it all, was that we wanted to share the colours and moments. That led us to recreate one of our images on a scarf – a photo of a special moment that had real meaning to us. This inspired more designs of other special places in our lives – places in Cork where we had grown up, a weekend away to the West of Ireland and scenes from incredible Irish vistas that struck a chord in our lives.
When did you realise it was something you wanted to develop?
It all happened so organically at first, but people seemed to love what we were doing, so we went for it and created a full collection. Then, Brown Thomas picked up the collection and Avoca soon after that, and before we knew it, we were finalists for the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards.
What was your biggest high to date?
Being accepted into the CREATE initiative in Brown Thomas. This was a huge opportunity to be stocked in one of the world’s most successful, luxury department stores. They gave us a lot of young designers a lot of support and continues to give up-and-coming brands the opportunity to gain experience in a department store environment. It really gave us the confidence and push to believe in what we were doing.
How easy is it to combine motherhood with running a business?
We now have five children under 7-years-of age between us, and Dairine works full-time at Google – it’s busy. But it’s busy no matter what you do when you have children – whether you’re working in an office, packing orders or doing school runs. It’s just a crazy time in our lives while the kids are young, but our passion for the brand and where we know we can take it keeps us going.
If you started today, what would you have done differently?
Looking back, we would have done less ourselves and outsourced more to people with more expertise in manufacturing and areas where we were inexperienced. Although, by going through all the processes ourselves, we learned a lot about the industry.
What’s next for the business?
We’ve been testing our new product lines with our digital prints. It’s interesting to see the prints come to life on other mediums. This season, we launched some cashmere sweaters, next season, we’re looking at silk kaftan dresses that are perfect day-to-night dresses for wearing on holidays.