Danielle Larkin: founder of active wear label d+k

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Danielle Larkin, founder of active wear label d+k

Last month on TDP we featured eco-friendly active wear label d+k.  We were so inspired by this Australian company’s ethos of Be Bold, Be Brave, Be You, their body positive message and a genuine commitment to sustainable business practices we wanted to find out more about the powerhouse founder of the lifestyle brand, Danielle Larkin.

Find out more about what inspired Danielle to create d+k, her management style and what it means to be a successful woman in business.

Tell us about the inspiration behind d+k?
I’ve always been creatively minded, and I combined this with the idea that everyone should feel confident, comfortable and supported while working out. When I design d+k I work with the shape of the body, and I really take the time to think about how people move and feel in their clothing and what I can do to make that a more positive experience for them.  I wanted to ensure that d+k focused on choosing internal
well-being and self-love, rather than trying to look a certain way or adhere to a certain fitness regime.  This led to d+k’s brand philosophy: Be Bold. Be Brave. Be You. It’s all about you!

What was the journey to launch like?
When starting a business there’s an absolute myriad of obstructions in your way, and it’s certainly a lot harder than it looks! But I suppose the main difficulty I initially encountered was staying true to my own original vision, despite the differing opinions I would receive from those around me. Whilst feedback is invaluable, sometimes too much input can confuse you! It is important to stay true to yourself and your dream.

We truly admire your commitment to sustainable business practices and producing an ethical product.  Why is this so important to d+k?
At d+k we are aware of the environmental impacts that the clothing industry has on the environment, so I want to ensure that we do not contribute to the waste and pollution of the industry. I don’t want to live in a world that sustainability is an afterthought, so I need to ensure that it is in the forefront of my mind, prior to creating any of my designs.

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“It is important to stay true to yourself and your dream”.

What do you love the most about being a woman in business?
Ultimately it’s about the fact that this is my dream, my passion and my brand. I love being able to step back and look at what I have been able to create.

What would you say your management style is?
I would say I lead the team in an approachable but efficient way. Open communication is key for me and ensuring my team is on the same wavelength.  I ultimately want to foster a productive, healthy work environment with a team culture.

How do you maintain balance between your career and personal life, and knowing when to switch off?
I’m going to be honest – this is a hard one for me! However spending time with my family and friends is a big priority, so I make a point of making time for this in my life. Walks in the morning with my pup Otis ensures I start the day fresh but also going to the coast and being outdoors frequently helps me recharge and allows me to switch off.

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Danielle and Otis at d+k HQ in Brisbane, Australia

If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?
Surround yourself with positivity and people who not only believe in you but also inspire you!

Day in the life of a successful founder?
5.45am: I usually wake up early and cuddle my dog Otis before taking him for a walk
6.15am: Pick up a coffee on the way to the dog park – this is essential!
6:45am: Rush home (because I got carried away playing with Otis) to shower and get ready, grabbing a few mouthfuls of food from the fridge for brekkie
7.30am: Head straight in to work if I don’t have business errands to run on the way
8am: I begin the day by checking in on the production team, to ensure manufacturing is underway in the correct order. I touch base with all factory departments, before sitting down to check my emails
10am: The day is well and truly underway, so I head into the other side of HQ to check in with the Logistics, Marketing & Creative departments
10.30am: Yep… it’s time for coffee number two, and our HQ snack favourite: carrots and peanut butter
11am: I’m still nursing my giant mug of black coffee while I check more emails, as well as tracking sales and analytics to see what’s performing well, and what needs some more work
12pm: Team lunch break in the centre of our open plan office space
1pm: I usually spend an hour doing some work in the sampling department, overlooking pattern making, testing the sample garments and making sure they are perfect!
2pm: More emails, more hustling!
6pm: It’s time to head home! My evening always varies, either I work out in the HQ gym or go to a pilates class. I might go out for dinner with friends, or have a quiet night in watching Netflix
7pm: If my fiancé is away on a work trip and it’s just Otis and I at home, I usually end up working on spreadsheets (boring, I know!)
9.30pm: I always read a book for at least half an hour before getting some sleep
10pm: Zzzzz

 2019 goals?
I’m excited to see d+k continue to grow, we have some big plans! Most importantly I want to continue to spread the message of body positivity.

Thank you so much Danielle for giving us an insight into what takes to lead a successful business without compromising your ethics and values. d+k’s brand philosophy of Be Brave. Be Bold. Be You is so very inspiring and we love that body positivity is a fundamental part of your brand message (and how adorable is Otis!)

To learn more about d+k’s contribution to promoting positive mind set, supporting Australian manufacturing, commitment to sustainability and to browse the amazing range of pieces, click here.  To connect and stay up to date with all things d+k, connect on Instagram and Facebook.  Get your personal tour of d+k headquarters here (with a special cameo appearance by Otis!)

TDP xo

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