Our Summer Intern sat down with K-DEER founder Kristine Deer to learn about the past, present and future of the brand.
AMANDA: Hey Kristine! I’ve been loving my summer here as the marketing intern at K-DEER and have learned so much from the whole team. I thought it would be fun to interview you and share with our community who the K behind K-DEER really is!
KRISTINE: Amanda, you are such a rock star, we’ll be sad to see you head back to Penn State in a few weeks.
AMANDA: Thanks, I greatly appreciate your kind words. So tell us, how has your vision of K-DEER evolved over the last 9 years?
KRISTINE: Yikes, I feel like K-DEER sometimes has a life of its own. It ebbs and flows with what’s happening in yoga, fitness, fashion and my life so it’s all about being present and aware of what our community needs and wants. K-DEER was once all hand made… by me. Now, we have teams that work together to print our fabric, manufacture our apparel and send it around the world.
AMANDA: That’s amazing, you have come a long way. Would you have done anything differently along the way?
KRISTINE: Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so hard on myself. But in terms of decisions I’ve made, I can’t say I would have done things differently. It’s all happening the way it’s supposed to and I’m most grateful for the team I have that has been a part of our growth and success.
AMANDA: Your team is definitely something to be grateful for. The K-DEER team truly made my experience here this summer. Obviously with any company there are ups and downs along the way, but overall what was the biggest challenge in starting your own company?
KRISTINE: Starting the company was fun because it was super exciting to just make stuff people loved to wear! I suppose my biggest challenge was trusting myself to make the right decisions. I quickly learned that there is no “right decision” as much as there is just “decisions”. If the decision doesn’t put you on the right path, you recognize it, redirect and learn from your past choices.
AMANDA: On the flip side, what has been your biggest success since starting K-DEER?
KRISTINE: Success to me comes down to impact. I don’t see success solely as the money in the bank account or the likes on social media. No one event or accomplishment defines my success. Instead it’s the little things that add up which make me feel like I’ve been successful. For example, it’s the emails I get from customers who say they never thought they could ever wear printed leggings but now that they have, they have embraced more fun, color and joy in their lives. It’s the message on Facebook that says ‘Thank You’ for bringing awareness to Aphasia because her father too, also suffers and no one ever talks about it. It’s the fact that through my business I have been able to donate over $150,000 in the last few years to organizations that help causes, communities and individuals in need. My bottom line is the impact we can make and I’m so grateful that we have been financially successful enough to do more for those with less.
AMANDA: That’s really cool, congratulations on making such a huge impact! So tell me, what advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur that you wish you recieved?
KRISTINE: Well I can say from my experience that if you are just starting out, you must define your purpose. Connect with your values and get clear on WHY you are doing what you’re doing. What impact do you want to make? Really early on, I was confident in my product but because I was so young and inexperienced in business, I doubted myself all the time. My best advice is to trust yourself, your instincts and keep people around you who have the same values and beliefs.
AMANDA: Great advice, thanks so much for sharing! Can you tell us what’s up next for K-DEER?
KRISTINE: We are currently expanding our collection and by Spring 2020, there will be lots of new fabrics, styles and something I’m super excited about sharing, dresses! I’ve always made them for myself and friends and it’s time to add them into the K-DEER collection.
AMANDA: Awesome! I can’t wait for that! I have one last question… even though I’m the intern, you’ve never asked me to get your coffee. What’s your favorite Starbucks drink?
KRISTINE: Haha, I actually like going in, waiting on line and people watching. It’s also fun to see people walk into Starbucks wearing K-DEER. My usual is an Americano with vanilla and a splash of ½ and ½. In the summer I’ll switch it up and go for a Strawberry Refresher with extra water.
AMANDA: Good to know! Thanks so much for sitting down with me to chat! I hope everyone enjoys getting to know you better as much as I have!
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