Cate Holstein, Founder at Khaite, on Cherished Everyday Apparel

What was the driving force behind starting your brand?

I couldn’t find the clothing I wanted to wear everyday; these pieces have been deemed “basics” by mass consumers. However, in my eyes, I am speaking about “cherished” items- the kind of items that one can wear 5 days in a row — the jeans one has coveted for 10 years, a mother’s Hermes Kelly bag. I had searched endlessly, but often left stores empty handed. Thus, an idea- from an idea- concept, from concept- plan. The rest is history.

What should a future founder be most aware of before launching a brand?

Always have a 3 Year Plan that can be measured numerically. Understand how capital intensive this business is. While social media has created opportunity for many designers and leveled the playing field, a small brand is competing for the same amount of mindspace as huge brands under multi billion dollar conglomerates. Today, a thriving brand needs 5 X more capital than a brand 10 years ago. Do not underestimate the amount of money it takes to compete.

How did you make your first hire? What went into that decision making process?

My first hire was in technical and production. There are so many moving parts in productions, it’s very important to hire someone that is vetted to think fast and be solution oriented. Don’t cut corners here- I promise- you will end up spending more money fixing the mistakes in the end.

What are the three tools/platforms you can’t live without for your business?

Social Media, Accounting, Ecommerce

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