Interview with Sold Out Founders

On Monday, I highlighted Sold Out NYC, my new collection of sweatshirts that I wear every. single. day… — they are just so easy, comfortable, and good looking! Today, we meet the gorgeous, smart, and talented co-founders Kiane and Kate. Take a look, and thank you Kiane and Kate — you are such empowering and inspirational women!!!

 

Kate and Kiane — and can we talk about how cool, hip, stylish and gorgeous they are? DAMN.

 

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How did you come up with the concept of the brand?

 

I was producing a fashion event in the Hamptons and was lacking a basics brand to complete the mix. I hunted around but there was nothing that truly turned me on. I figured why not just create exactly what I wanted. I called Kate from the beach and casually asked if she “wanted to make some statement tees for an event”. She was all in and that escalated quickly. By the afternoon we had a domain, an insta account and a brand name. Kate is a creative director and I have a strategy consulting background – so it was never going to be just “making a few tees”.

 

Why the statements? Because we all need some positivity at this time in the world. We are both Aussies so by default, positivity is part of our DNA. Also, there could not be a more perfect time for woman to have a voice. We want them to feel proud of what they’re saying and look great while doing it.

 

What is the meaning of the name?

 

The name is an extension of the brand itself, a simple product truth.

 

We didn’t want to be driven by existing fashion seasons; we wanted the customers to drive the new product timing themselves. What we produce is deliberately limited edition, so once it’s Sold Out, it is time to move on to the next thing. In today’s landscape it works perfectly for us and for the customer – we can respond to change quickly, and they get to see lots of new and relevant product.

 

Limited edition.

 

I know that you two are great longtime friends — has it been hard or easy to work together? Who does what?

 

Obviously everyone has their moments, but there is almost nothing a laugh and a glass of wine can’t solve! In saying that, there are a few things that really help. First, we have almost perfectly complimentary skill sets so there is a natural division of labor. We implicitly know who will be doing what when we walk out of a meeting. Second (and oh so important), we have 100% trust in one another’s execution. Third, when we are together we are super focused. Given commitments to our families and other projects we know this is non-negotiable. Oh – and we are also absolutely not afraid to get our hands dirty. Plenty of people in the neighborhood have sighted us lugging mannequins to fashion events or hauling boxes of inventory. There is absolutely no room for preciousness – especially in the beginning.

 

Looks like the best job in the world!

 

In terms of the sweatshirts, how did you come up with the phrases on them? The fonts? The colors? What is the design process like?

 

It is certainly a process. The phrases come first. When this occurs there is absolutely wine and there is absolutely cheese. We start brainstorming and let it ruminate before we start to narrow down the list. Fonts and color come next –that’s the fun part, although still a process. It is definitely not quick and it evolves dramatically. We are both perfectionists. Kate once sent me a palette of about 15 pinks to choose from and she hadn’t slept thinking about it. I swear they were exactly the same!

 

Family and friends are incredible for feedback. We’ll often think we have come up with something brilliant, share it with a few friends and quickly realize – not so much. Befriend us and you are on the hook for multiple texted opinion requests. You have been warned!

 

A play on words.

 

You did tees first, now sweatshirts… what is the next product?

 

Oh how I wish we could tell you! We can’t give everything away.

 

Two celebrities in the perfect Sold Out NYC shirt after a spin class.

 

Who is your customer and how do they hear about you?

 

Our customer is a woman who is comfortable having a voice. She is equally stylish and passionate about comfort (we both live in tees and sweatshirts). She definitely has a sense of humor.

 

How to hear about it: Instagram will give you everything you need to know about the product and a very strong sense of our brand voice (follow us @soldout.nyc – it’s a laugh and hopefully even an occasional snort).

 

A must follow on instagram; colorful, playful, and inspirational.

 

What has been the biggest reward of starting the business together? The biggest challenge?

 

The biggest reward: how into it our kids are. They love feeling like there are a part of things. Stacking inventory, “designing” tees. My son’s current life goal is to save for a truck and be the Sold Out delivery guy.

 

The biggest challenge: time, it is always time. Luckily this business gives us total flexibility. We can go to the school play and put the kids to bed and do the work wherever it fits in between. I will admit though that Kate is a ferocious night owl and worker. A text asking for an opinion at 2am is absolutely not uncommon!

 

The perfect mixture of the Sold Out tee and some wide legged pants. Classy.

 

You are both mothers, how do you squeeze the business into your life? And will there be a kids’ capsule at some point?

 

With great difficulty and a really good attitude! We are both roll-up-our-sleeves kind of gals so we just get it done.

 

Kids’ capsule – yes, very much yes. Our kids are insisting on it. My daughter asked me if we can attempt to shrink an adult sweatshirt in the dryer for her.

 

What are your dreams for the company? Do you want to sell to boutique stores, department stores, or straight to the consumer?

 

The larger objective is to drive a successful, direct-to-consumer business, but we are never going to say no to a sensational wholesale opportunity.

 

As long as we continue to have fun and create a product that is resonating to women, we’re in it to win it.

 

Laura Brown, editor of InStyle in one of Sold Out NYC sweatshirts.

 

Which sweatshirt is your current favorite? And your favorite way to style them?

 

For me, Femme Féroce. I love the sentiment and am a sucker for red and navy. I love wearing that one tucked into slouchy leather pants with a red lip, a big earring and heels.

 

Kate loves Je Ne Sais Quoi. She rocks it with a sparkly skirt and heels or a sweatshirt / jeans / runners combo. It’s always killer.

 

The great new is that sweatshirts and t-shirts are no longer just that. There are no parameters these days for how they can be worn. Don’t be afraid to get creative.

 

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Thank you SO much, Kate and Kiane. To shop their sweatshirts go here. To follow on instgram, go here.

 

 

 

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Currently Loving December 2017

With a snap of a finger, lightning speed, here we are in December. Mid December, in fact. Not sure how time flies as fast as it does, but, it does. So without further ado, here is what I am currently loving this month! Enjoy!

 

Holiday Card Display

 

GENIUS.

 

I like how it is mid December, and we have already received 100 cards. Mind you, I also sent out my cards on the 1st of December, so just like me, most of our friends like to be early….. This holiday card ring hack has changed my life — it literally makes me so happy every day to have the cards OUT, without cluttering up the house!

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New Favorite Tee: Unfortunate Portrait

My number one fashion love is jumpsuits, but a close second is t-shirts. YUP, simple, cotton, every-day tees. And so it makes me giddy that I just bought myself a new tee that is fun and unique. My new tee is The Air Barack from Unfortunate Portrait. There are a lot to choose from, but since my love for Obama runs deep, I decided on this one.

 

Air Barack. (Sigh. I miss Obama).

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Best Beauty Secret

A dear friend of mine, who also happens to be extremely opinionated and firm on all her decisions, told me that the best beauty secret for her skin was coconut oil. Yes, yes, I am a huge believer in coconut oil for the body, and have always splurged on the expensive kinds that are made for the body. This friend told me not to buy the expensive kind, but rather, the kind in a health food store, and to use it all over your body, including your face. So, after a while of experimenting on my face and skin, I have finally figured out the right amount (a little goes a long way), and man DO I LOVE IT. SERIOUSLY, it is the best moisturizer and feels so good on the body and the face, makes your skin glow, and is inexpensive too. TRIPLE WHAMMY WIN!

 

Looks and appears basic. BUT IT IS FAR FROM BASIC.

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Salmon Fritters with Eggs

Here is Ken with a guest blog post:

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As much as I love Thanksgiving, I think I love Thanksgiving leftovers more.  I don’t get the chance to cook much due to our schedules (nor do I get time to guest post on my wife’s blog), but the four day weekend allowed for some time to do both.

 

Every year, in addition to turkey, my family goes big on the poached salmon… and there are always tons of leftovers that we never know what to do with.  It may be an Asian thing, but I get a weird sense of satisfaction from eating leftovers, and moreover, finding creative ways to make dishes from leftovers.  With that, check out this post-Thanksgiving breakfast we enjoyed:  salmon fritters with fried eggs:

 

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Welcome back to reality of school / work / routine / the busy life before the holidays…..I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. I had a great long weekend with my family and enjoyed every minute — so much to be thankful and grateful for. Although it was super low key and we didn’t do anything too out of the ordinary, each day we did something fun and exciting (more on that later). We were quite active, spent a lot of time outdoors, visited best friends, and had an overall great holiday. One of the highlights was the Macy’s Day Parade on Thanksgiving morning. We are good friends with the Macy’s Executive Chairman and so this time around, we were treated like true VIPs and celebrities (we had a detective escort us to our seats)! The one and only time that this will happen to us — and we loved every minute!

 

It was super cold Thanksgiving morning, and we knew that we were going to be sitting for several hours.  We had vests, double layered pants, and long underwear UNDER our jackets. Thank goodness, because we were still cold.

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Currently Loving November 2017

So here we are at Thanksgiving….I am not sure how or when it happened, but we are 11/12th done with 2017. Last year, for the holidays we were in Oregon (Naked Thanksgiving), the year before in Colorado (a special Friendsgiving Aspen edition). And here we are this year, staying in the city and having a mellow holiday. We have a lot of fun activities lined up (not one but TWO blow up balloon parties today for the Macy’s Day Parade, seats for the actual parade tomorrow, indoor skydiving on Friday, and visits with best friends from both coasts). So although it will be a local staycation, I am looking forward to not traveling, and a lot of downtime (always good for me to do). Here is also what I am loving this month! Take a look.

 

This is Us

 

Last night’s episode, HOLY CRAP. Ken and I both cried the entire time. It was so good — I was so hysterical that I had to sit upright (instead of lying down) because I was going to choke on my tears…..best show since Parenthood…

 

SLT pilates

 

I actually hate this class, but I like what it does for me. It is so hard that I stare at the clock the entire time dying in agony because it hurts so much. But….I feel and see my abs for the first time in a long time.

 

Kale Salad from Cook Beautiful

 

My new favorite kale salad. This is full of delicious extra goodies: cheese, apples, raisins, hazelnuts…and the tahini garlic dressing is SO good.

 

Tusia’s coat

 

Rainbows, butterflies, and flare. What is not to love? Everything about this is my favorite and I wish it came in my size….

 

Rhye song

 

Mellow, chill, and emotional……a must listen to.

 

Cheddar TV

 

For those of you haven’t heard, Cheddar is a relatively new financial news station that broadcasts live on Twitter, Amazon, and a number of other different outlets as well. Ken was on in May to promote Natori Caftan Day, and was on again yesterday too. Check his interview out here!

 

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There you have it, another list of everything I am currently loving! Do share with me what you are loving — thanks to my friends and readers that text, email, or message me what they are loving at the moment as I love to be inspired and introduced to anything new, so please share. In the meantime, have a great Thanksgiving however you plan to celebrate. I am grateful for the opportunity to write this blog and share my stories with you all, so thanks for checking in and being a part of this journey.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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November 2017 Chill Playlist

Most of my playlists are for when I run, but here is what I like to listen to during the day when I am working on my computer (writing blogs), cooking food, getting dressed, etc…  It’s a whole different feeling than my running playlists, but there is still a lot of teeny bopper pop and electronic. I love what I love! Enjoy!

 

I also like to listen to music when my legs are up the wall….

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Sunny with an A

As I get older, my network of awesome and talented women keeps expanding (one of the many upsides of getting older).  One of my newest mom friends, Sana, happens to be nice, smart, sweet, inclusive, open, interesting, beautiful, and inspiring. And not only is Sana a great person, but she is also the founder of kid’s pajama company, Sunny with an A.  I recently bought a pair for Tusia, and she literally will not take them off — they are amazingly soft, perfectly thought out, and super colorful. Take a look at the interview below, and thank you, Sana! (And mom, it may be time to start doing kids!)

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Sunny, indeed.

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Man Repeller Announcement

I used to read a lot of blogs (and a lot of magazines), but as the blogs have become more commercial and less authentic (and the magazines have become thinner and flimsier), I stopped. Now, I only check two blogs daily and after that, I like to get off my computer and get my daily inspiration of fashion / food / entertainment by talking to people and being on the New York streets — there is a lot out there by just looking around. Last week, I randomly visited a-previously-loved-blog (but now never frequented), Man Repeller.  And I found a post that brought me to tears. It was real, emotional, sensitive and raw.

 

Leandra Medine, the founder of Man Repeller, had been very vocal about her struggle with infertility over the past years. And as someone who struggled to get pregnant (I did 5 rounds of IVF), I felt for her. (More from me on the topic here). Those years of trying to get pregnant were some of my (and our) hardest, and I always empathize with anyone going through those emotional, mental, and physical struggles — so incredibly painful. Although I do not know Leandra personally (we have worked out next to each other several times in a workout class), there was always something so honest and true in her posts about her struggle.

 

She announced that she is now pregnant with twin girls in a beautiful, authentic and real post. She expresses her gratitude and appreciation and love of being pregnant, while understanding and giving hope to everyone who is struggling/has struggled with infertility. I value her words, articulation, position, and message. So please, read her post HERE. And thank you, Leandra, for being sensitive, emotional, empathetic, and real. I wish you all the best in your pregnancy.

 

Circa 2009 hiking Spencer’s Butte in Oregon. Such a baby expecting a baby.

 

Thank you for reading and understanding that everyone is going through their own sh$t.  We all need to treat each other with love and kindness. Have a great week!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Nut Butter Chocolate Truffles With Sea Salt

I always crave sweets right after Halloween, but instead of grabbing a Snickers (which are so delicious), I decided to make nut butter chocolate truffles with no sugar. They turned out absolutely delicious and I highly recommend making them. SO GOOD. Plus, once you make them, you put them in your freezer so you can have a stash for a long time!

 

TRUFFLES! Healthy ones!

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2017 NYC Marathon Recap

At this point, loyal readers are probably sick of hearing about my marathons and the recaps. I know —  I get it, in the past 4 years, I have completed 9 marathons — and in the last 7  months, THREE! There is not much more to say that is different about each race, and yet, this race is different. The NYC marathon is the most incredible marathon on the planet, and this year, when I gave up any expectations and ran to enjoy myself, was even better and more successful than imaginable. Giving up expectations, having no pressure, and just relaxing in to the moment made all the difference. I soaked up every second, looked at the views, talked to people, applauded my fellow runners, and truly enjoyed every minute.

 

Good or bad, I decided that my outfit for the marathon was going to be the exact same one that I wore a month ago for the Chicago marathon — yes, much colder temperature wise in NYC (my mistake in Chicago) but the shirt was a success in Chicago, so I went for it again in NYC. And man oh man, SUCCESS it was. Literally, once a minute, someone in the crowd would yell “Go Mama” — and I would yell “Thank you” and wave my hand up. It made me feel connected to the crowd and all their energy and positive vibes definitely helped.

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NYC Marathon- Congrats!

(Guest post from the Josie Girl’s husband)-

 

Congrats to the Josie Girl for ROCKING the NYC Marathon yesterday, finishing in a personal best 3:26 just 4 weeks after running Chicago.  She is recovering this morning and will have a full recap later this week.  Go Mama!  Congrats to all of the runners out there, especially Shalane Flanagan, the first American woman to win in 40 years.

 

More to come from the JG later this week..

 

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Greats Royale Shoes

Earlier this Fall, I saw one of my besties with the perfect shoe on, and so….I bought them for myself! They are the perfect luxe, high-end sneaker, with great Italian leather, but at an accessible price point. The brand is Greats, and great indeed they are. They are basic and subtle, but made with the most perfect quality material.

 

Biffle got the blush perforated version of the shoe.

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Josie Natori X Moda Operandi

While my mother-in-law made her name in sleepwear and bras/underwear, Natori has truly become a lifestyle brand with its establishment in a number of other collections, most notably in Ready-to-Wear.  Since she established RTW 8 years ago, the collection has evolved every year, and has reached a new high point with its Spring ’18 trunk show on Moda Operandi.

 

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Currently Loving October 2017

One more day left of October, so not too late for “Currently Loving” for the month! Here they are! Here is what I am currently loving in October 2017!

 

1. Busy Philipps

 

Her name is Busy. Her daughters names are Birdie and Cricket — now do you wonder why I want her to be my BFF?

 

I don’t know her from tv or movies, but I somehow landed on her instagram account (isn’t that how everything works these days….everything leads back to instagram…) and became obsessed with her instagram stories. She is genuine, authentic, beautiful, and oh so funny. I love her taste in music, clothes, and random thoughts. You must watch her on her stories — too funny. I also am determined to become friends with her…anyone have a connection? Sign me up please!

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Le Botaniste

One of my favorite neighborhood go-to’s is Le Botaniste. It is perfect for days when you want to be uber healthy and are looking for a quiet place to eat and relax. Le Botaniste was concepted by the creative force behind Le Pain Quotidien (more here) and serves healthy, organic, vegan, and gluten-free meals. Although I have been over two dozen times, I always get the SAME thing — I make my own bowl.

 

This meal is a rainbow.

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Nike Cropped Sweatshirt

Since I spend 40% of the time in workout gear (the other 40% is equally divided by Natori pajamas and day clothes i.e.jumpsuits and rompers), I was ecstatic to find a new silhouette of a sweatshirt — cropped and boxy. It is Nike and comes in multiple colors, and as soon as I saw it, I knew that I needed two immediately.

 

Cropped. Boxy. Petite. SWOOSH.

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Inside Natori: Megan, Receptionist

The past two months, Natori Team members have shared how they incorporate Natori (and Josie) into their lives and wardrobe. We have seen Talia (the Josie designer) and Mariah (E-commerce). And now we turn to Megan, the receptionist (and first impression to the company)! Thank you so much Megan! I love your sincere words, how you dress in Natori, and the love you have for your mother!

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Hello Josie Girl readers! It’s me, Megan Tencza, the receptionist at Natori. The month of October is almost over, and has Natori releasing clothing and sleepwear with rich colors to go with the Fall season. October is also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Natori is showing their support for those affected by breast cancer by “Glowing All In”. Natori will be donating 100% of October sales of our fan favorite, Feathers Bra in the Rose Glow color to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

 

This act of generosity and kindness from Natori means a lot to me personally since my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer 4 years ago at the age of 46.

 

Being 19 years old at the time and having your parents tell you that your mom is diagnosed with stage ­­two breast cancer was terrifying. Obviously, I assumed the worst and had begun to imagine what my life would be without her. My world seemed to just come crashing down. That was a rough year for everyone in my family because not only does cancer affect the ones diagnosed, but it also has an effect on their loved ones. My mother’s cancer luckily was not genetic, which gave my sister and I a sigh of relief for what our futures would hold for us. My mother is a prime example of why it is so important to get your annual mammograms because she would have never caught it so early otherwise. I am very grateful to say that after one surgery and a year’s worth of radiation, my mom is healthy, happy and still chugging along!

 

Breast Cancer walk.

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Sotte le Stelle

Last weekend, we went on a family adventure to Queens to visit the Queens Museum. As we decided we wanted to have dinner on the way back, I researched hip but kid-friendly restaurants for an early dinner. We landed on Sotte le Stelle, which had rave reviews on Eater as the #3 hot spot in Queens.  And… pizza.  The new restaurant was DELICIOUS.

 

The restaurant only has 30 seats and is super small and cute. All of the waiters and staff are Italian, and super nice and friendly.

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Josie Pink Pajamas

Although not a millennial, I looooooove millennial pink. I mean, come on, what is not to love about the perfect blush / pale pink? It is a neutral, but with a tiny surprise, full of romance and hope. And now Josie has not one but TWO perfect pajamas in this delicious color. Both sets are soft, luxurious, comfortable, and desirable.

 

The color of the moment. A grapefruit shade of apricotty salmon.

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