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Episode 133: Dovetail Workwear Co-Founders Kate Day + Sara DeLuca on Clothing That Works

"Our goal is to be the best workwear brand out there, regardless of gender."

This week we're joined by two of the co-founders of Dovetail Workwear, Kate Day and Sara DeLuca! Sara and Kate talk with Lisa about consumer-informed development, crossing the line between trades and outdoor, how they focus on sustainability, and building a business out of a need in the market. Grab a cup of coffee and some headphones and prepare to be inspired!

Note: Kate had some microphone issues toward the beginning of the podcast, but we were able to improve the sound as the episode goes on. Thanks for bearing with us!

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Episode Transcript

Sara: You know, we don't sit in a vacuum and try to assess what we think the market needs. We just talk to the women we work for and say, “Hey, what are your biggest pain points? And, “if you could have a dream of what your X, Y, and Z looked like or felt like or worked like or performed like, what would that be?”

[music + intro]

Welcome, all you outdoor creatives, to the Outside By Design podcast. This show is brought to you by WHEELIE, a creative agency that specializes in helping brands articulate and amplify what they stand for through human-centered creative.

My name is Iris, and I’m so excited to introduce our guests this week. They are two of the co-founders of one of my favorite apparel companies - Dovetail Workwear. I literally just spent the weekend working for hours tearing down an old shed in my Dovetail overalls and I’m wearing them again today for a day in the office - that’s right, they’re perfect for any kind of work you throw at them.

Lisa got to chat with Kate Day and Sara DeLuca, two of the incredible women who created Dovetail out of a need for high-quality women’s workwear that they just weren’t finding on the market. Kate and Sara talk about how they utilize customers in product development, workwear as a tool, implementing a growth mindset as a small company, and their focus on sustainability. Lisa also got Kate and Sara to verbally introduce a few of their soon-to-launch products that will have you yearning for fall to come as quickly as possible.

I can’t wait for you to hear this one and get to know Dovetail - so let’s get into it!


Lisa: So welcome to Outside By Design. I'm so excited to have you on the podcast today. And the first question we ask every single guest is where are you and what are you looking at? So I'll have both of you answer that.

Kate: Sara, you start.

Sara: Okay. I am in our downtown Portland location and I am looking at the series of clothing racks that’s surrounding me to muffle the sounds of trains and hammers and all the other things that go on in our office space down here.

Kate: And I'm Kate Day. I'm one of the co-founders of Dovetail and Lead of Sales. And I am sitting in my home office and it looks very white and plain behind me, but in front of me I have lots of inspirational materials related to Dovetail in our work and some family photos. And then I have a nice little window and I look out on my street and see a tree that I planted a couple years ago. And it's just about to start budding out. So it's a pretty good setup when I'm not in the office.

Lisa: And what do each of you do? Like, what's your dynamic here? Just so I kind of know who, who I'm asking what.

Kate: Well, like Sara said, we're kind of like two, I don't know, sisters from two different mothers. We're kind of two opposite, but very complimentary sides of a coin. It's kind of amazing that we've developed this professional and working relationship given the serendipity of how it all started. And we can go into that story more. But Sara and I were friends first, we were parents, we have children that are about the same ages and our kids both go to a language immersion program, a public program here in Portland. And so we got to know each other through the PTA and walking the halls of our kids’ schools.

And then I used to have a landscaping business and was working in Sara's yard a lot. And I was constantly complaining about my workwear and Sara happens to be an apparel designer and she's been in production, she's been up and down all ends of the apparel chain and working with global, big and small, you know, names. And she kind of said, “Hey, I could help you with that problem with your pants.” And that's how the whole thing got off the ground, but it was very organic.

And, now, you know, several years later, Sara still leads out product development. And we have a growing team on that side and I help lead out sales and we're in wholesale as well as in DTC. And it's a pretty ambitious venture that we're in. And so that's why it is always kind of amazing that we really switched into really full-time businesswomen roles and, and, you know, founders of a company. But we just kind of really think in synergy and complementarity and help each other in all kinds of, you know, big and small ways as we try and grow and, and build a contemporary company that's focused on women having workwear that is really worthy of them. So. It's kind of what we do and we do it every day, day in and day out. And it's been pretty awesome.

Lisa: Do you wanna add anything to that?

Sara: I would just say that I think in a small brand you tend to play multiple roles. So even if I'm working on product, I'm often supporting Kate on the sales side and vice versa. Kate's been an integral part of product development from the brand, with the brand since day one and continues to be. She's our fit model. She puts her hands in every single pocket. I call her at midnight and ask to bring over samples to put on her. So, sort of that collaborative effort around the development of the product has remained intact since day one. And I think it's helped us keep sort of a very authentic and sort of continuous view towards our product.

Lisa: I love that. So why is this your life mission now? Like, what is it about workwear for women that you feel is worthy of your time and energy and brain power and… yeah. What do you, why, why this with your lives?

Sara: You know, it's funny ‘cause it started with Kate and Kyle's landscaping business. And it was really bringing a product to market that filled a need that did not exist. And I think the minute we kind of stuck our toe in that water and understood how big the gap was and started to work with the women that were struggling to find product and struggling for- with the women who were looking for, you know, recognition that their jobs were worthy and that they were worthy of gear that was focused on them. We never looked back since then.

I mean, it's just a very compelling place to be where… you know, even from a product development standpoint, you know, we don't sit in a vacuum and try to assess what we think the market needs. We just talk to the women we work for and say, “Hey, what are your biggest pain points? And, “if you could have a dream of what your X, Y, and Z looked like or felt like or worked like or performed like, what would that be?” And it's, it's fun and it's exciting. It's super challenging. But you know, I think… Kate and I both have kids. You know, I have a son and a daughter. And for them to grow up seeing and being in a world where women are on equal par to their male counterparts is exciting. And we feel like our apparel is a means to that end.

Kate: Yeah, I would, I mean, I would just second everything Sara said. It all started in such a personal, individual way. I've worn workwear most of my life and, you know, just felt so dissatisfied. And then, you know, one conversation began to repeat with the next, and you started to see this trend and this overall, just, the shortcoming that you were experiencing individually, so many other women were having it.

And so the chance to manifest a business that could address that, it just continues to just like exponentially build on the power and the sort of opportunity and the need for it. I don't think we even realized how… like kind of missing this kind of quality, well-fitting workwear was in the market. We didn't even know when we kind of got going and it's just been like the power of the connectivity and kind of almost just like a scaling and exponential growth around like how much community and support and, kind of, recognition.

And, you know, in a lot of ways… we always just say… we make the product and we, you know, labor over the product and of course the brand and the brand articulation, but in many, many ways, it's just sort of putting a spotlight on what's already happening, like women in so many non-traditional and physical occupations working so hard, being disruptors, doing just the heavy lifting and not making claims, not wanting the spotlight, just trying to get it done, taking care of their families. And so it's just been shining a light on what's happening out there and like the sense of, I think, yeah, community and support and that there's others out there for women. I just felt so good to create a brand that has a product, but also, you know, has kind of like a spirit about it that women feel like they can tap into and be a part of. And they need it. It hasn't… I don't think there's anything else out there that kind of recognizes them that way. So, you know, every day we get up and that's a very, very powerful kind of gas in the tank.

Lisa I love that. One thing I really admire about your company is… I'm a woman-led brand and we work with tons of them. And often I feel like there's this sort of strange mindset of like the starving artist where it's like the women's brand, like, “we're a small company and we can't get any budget.” And it's like, well, I feel like that's a limiting belief and it doesn't seem that you exist in that world. And maybe that's… you do a better job hiding it, but it seems like there's a bit more of like a growth mindset and it seems like there's more abundance and a bigger scale and a huge vision for your company that you're able to tactically achieve. Is that just from the outside or… you got me fooled? Is that happening?

Sara: I think you definitely are seeing that we believe in scalability, we believe our impact can be much greater. We, actually, our goal is to be the best workwear brand out there, regardless of gender, right? Like our… we have very lofty goals. And we are scaling fast. Having said that, we are super scrappy and I think we are very cognizant of sort of business principles. So, you know, how to offset our overhead, how to really be lean and mean about how we approach really anything within our budgets and be very strategic and thoughtful and intentional. And so that's probably helped with our scalability and growth because those principles have been driving us since day one. So I would say yes to both things.

Kate: Yeah. I mean, that's such a nice compliment that you gave us and you don't, you know, we don't… we're so in the weeds, you don't really know how you're perceived on the outside in a lot of ways. And especially hearing that from another woman-led and owned businesses is such a huge compliment.

And I think from the beginning we've been… the mission is so clear and, like, the value proposition is so clean, like… there's such a dearth of quality workwear for women. Workwear should be another, like, premium tool that you have. Like, would you go out and buy, you know, a low end tool or saw that, you know, would, you know, possibly affect your safety or your productivity? No. And so it's very clear to us the value of the product itself. And it's been very clear from the beginning. Like, just like Sara said, we want to be, like, the most successful at it. If we're spending all this time and all this effort, like, we want to be the best at it. We wanna be a household name.

And so I think having just such a huge vision that we feel like we can execute on has really driven us. And we haven't really cut any corners, like we are on DTC and we wanna be in wholesale and we're on Amazon and it's like, we have to compete. And we know what that looks like. And we are working really, really hard to achieve it.

And at the same time, like Sara said, like, I think the culture is we work super hard. Like, it's still a really small team and we, you know, try to be very scrappy even about how we do spend our resources. And we watch our bottom line very, very closely. It's a really crazy world to be in, anything that has any supply chain and product is very complicated. And we actually, I think are probably fairly advanced given our, like, number of years, in terms of how comprehensively and systematically we're looking at inventory and systems. We have global supply chains. It just takes constant maintenance. And so I think we're just trying to just really look at all sides of things and it does… it is creating a great product, but we just work, work, work all the time, never taking eye off the ball.

And people sometimes say to us, “oh, you guys are so big.” And I think we look bigger maybe than we are. Think we're just really, really committed and highly productive and just making something that is resonating with people.

Lisa: I use your company as an example, all the time. Do you wanna hear how?

Sara: Yeah.

Kate: Yeah.

Lisa: Okay. It's kind of weird. You have to hang with me for a second, but… so as a creative director - and by the way, only 3% of creative directors are women, which is wild. But at WHEELIE kind of like our secret creative weapon, I call ‘unlikely animal friends.’ And I based this off of when I was a kid, I saw that gorilla Koko with that kitten.

Sara: Oh yeah. I remember that.

Lisa: Yeah. Why do you remember that? Isn't that like such an obscure reference? But everyone knows it and it's because it's this huge gorilla and this fragile kitten, and these are two things that don't go together and they've been combined perfectly. And I think that that's the secret to creativity and also business.

But you have product that I love. And you do it with one piece of pants specifically, you do it with the Christa DIY pant, which is comfortable, but it's… it's working, it's work apparel, you know, so, and those two things don't go together. It's like, why does this feel like I'm in sweatpants, but also it's so functional that I'm wearing workwear. And I think that… that's how I tell brands, like that's how you make unlikely animal friends with your products, because those two things don't go together. And yet it's my favorite pair of pants because of it.

Kate: That's so great.

Sara: Yeah. I love that parallel. That's really, that's really great. Yeah. I mean, I think we've never accepted whatever paradigm was put around workwear by the big companies for a hundred years. We just, we never accepted any of those rules. And it's, it's helped us. It's helped us like bring better performance to fabrics. It's helped us create unlikely friendships of animals in, in the Christa DIY, so to speak. But… and the women we work with and provide product for, I don't think any of them have ever accepted the rules that we're put around their respective occupations, which is why they're all groundbreakers in their own right. So, it’s… Yeah, it's, it's a fun, it's a fun place to work from, with product, for sure.

Kate: I think you're hitting on it though. Like I think we do… We are kind of, I mean, Sara is not an outsider, but - to the industry - I certainly am. And I think it has given us some real power to not sort of follow, you know, how you're supposed to do it necessarily. So it’s sort of been the best of kind of like knowing sort of how things operate, but then kind of coming at it very, you know, like not… not Maverick style, but just like almost ignoring, you know, the ways it's been done before and being so deeply rooted in like, what is the problem? And instead of like looking to the industry, looking to trends, looking to other, you know, companies in the way they're doing it, we're always only more or less taking the information from our consumers. Like, we have an amazing program and continuous feedback and dialogue, and that's like the best part of the business - I think I can speak for almost all of us that are involved in it - like, the women that we meet, the work that they do, the things they've accomplished in their life, how they carry themselves, how they show up, how they have defied, you know, gender norms and cultural norms and work norms, like they are the most inspiring.

And now, especially, like, the company of course started from Kyle and I being in the dirt and doing a physical job, but we're not doing that anymore. And so we're like, we can't… I mean, we have such a strong point of view, but we're not in the field in the same way because we're running the business. And so the only way we're gonna be able to inform and develop product is by talking to the person that's in the field. And so we just have a growing, huge network of women that are constantly giving us feedback and wear testing for us and telling us, you know, and we say all the time, like we love hearing about what you like about the product, but we're way more interested in what you don't like and how do we improve it and how do we improve it.

And so I think that that's maybe not so common and it is time and resource intensive, but that's just the way we wanna do the business and we wouldn't wanna do it any other way. And it's made such a difference in kind of how we show up. And I think also, like, even things where we've sort of had the greatest uptake initially in the outdoor world, because I think outdoor really understood technicality and technical fabrics and sort of 21st century fabrics in a way that workwear in America has not embraced at all. And so it's been the ability to sort of like move in between categories and take the best of both categories. And recognizing, like, from the very beginning, when we were talking, when we were still in our landscaping business, We'd say, you know, I'm wearing workwear for my job. And then Kyle and I would actually make like an hour in our day to go home and change out of our workwear. And it wasn't because it was dirty. We were so proud of the business that we had, but we were in old Carhartts and this was before they were trendy, but we just didn't really wanna be seen in them. And you didn't wanna wear this old duck canvas around, you know, for the rest of your day for your other activities. And we're like, you need to have clothing that works and then you can wear it in the rest of your day and you feel good and you feel good about how you're presenting and it can do both.

Sara: Most of the women we work with, that multifaceted aspect to their worlds is to really very relevant. So whether it's the woman that's running risk management up on Mount Hood and up and down on the chair lifts, and then she goes home and she has a beautiful workshop where she you know, does woodworking or, you know, the trades women we're working with in downtown Portland, who is an avid bike commuter. Like, most of the women we work with have multiple aspects to their day. And so the ability to meet them and perform for them in all ways, all days, is, is really important to us as a brand.

Lisa: Yeah. And pockets.

Sara: And pockets.

Lisa: You have the best pockets.

Kate: Yep! That's it right there. And pockets. Like, why? We just actually did a newsletter, a blog that there's a fascinating… there's even PhDs. We've had some women that have done PhDs on women's workwear and the whole history of pockets, surprise, surprise, is sort of an encapsulation of our history and sexism and the patriarchy and, you know, men's pockets are significantly bigger, wider, and there's way more of them. And it's just like, if nothing else, I think that's even, you know, we have lots of women that wear Dovetail and they're not, you know, the, you know, the site engineer on a big, you know, crew and they don't need maybe the technical side of things or the durability, but they just love that there's actually a pocket for their phone. Like, it's kinda revolutionary. And so, yeah, do it.

Lisa: I wear your pants on our shoot days. Like with our film crew, I wear your pants every time because I just shove lens caps and, and microphones and equipment, like all over the place. And the overalls are great for that. So, yeah. At WHEELIE we all wear your stuff out on shoots just because of the pockets.

Sara: Yeah. We have this internal phrase, “wear your toolbox” and that kind of encapsulates it.

Lisa: Yes. And it makes such a big difference. I love that.

Sara: Mm-hmm.

Lisa: Okay. So outdoor industry - like, a lot of our listeners are from the outdoor industry. I have not seen you at OR that doesn't mean you're not there. Do you guys typically go to OR?

Kate: We have actually, it's been our, our big trade show. We were there before COVID and it really is honestly where we launched the brand. When was that Sara? That was… 20…

Sara: June 2018.

Kate: June 2018. Yep. And it was, it was such a blast. It was so exciting. I'd never been to OR and had sort of heard the stories and kind of dropped in out from another, you know, whole livelihood and professional background. So that was fascinating. And we just had a lot of uptake and just the beginning of, you know, this rocket ship that we've been on. But then during COVID of course we haven't been there and we've been, you know, there weren't any trade shows and we've had some regional shows that we've been at just for sales purposes. And we've done, you know, some we've done a series of digital trade shows, kind of trying to just adapt and pivot during such a complicated time. But I'm sure that we will be back at OR hopefully sometime soon. ‘Cause it's been great.

Sara: Yeah, Kate's become a TikTok star, creating internal videos for us to send out on our sales channels. [laughs]

Kate: Yeah, I don't know about that, but, yes. We've just, you know, especially during COVID - that was, I mean, COVID was complicated for everybody. And there were a lot of things that were challenging, but just trying to really, you know, adapt and use more digital tools and figure out if you can't be in person. We’ve just, you know, done a lot, trying to, how can we, especially with apparel and with product and gear and so forth, like you had to get really creative. I'm sure you've been totally steeped in that Lisa, like, what do we do now that we can’t show people stuff in person?

Lisa: Oh, yeah. Oh yeah. Video has been massively helpful to every brand we work with.

Kate: Yeah, yeah.

Lisa: Yeah. So do you consider yourself an outdoor brand? Or, kind of… like, I love- I love brands that blur lines. And I'm curious, kind of, how you self-identify as a brand.

Sara: I would say we definitely blur lines. A lot of the women we work with both work and recreate in the outdoors. And I think we sit sort of at that nexus and even, you know, it’s interesting, early on we were talking to like big brands like REI. And they were doing all this background research on customers that were coming in and shopping and they were buying like, you know, that quintessential performance wool sock. But they were buying it for their work, not necessarily for hiking. But they may hike in it too. But a lot of our customers, again, sort of walk that line of both outdoor and work or they work in the outdoors. So, I don't know if that answers your question, but.

Lisa: Mm-hmm.

Kate: Yeah. And I think we've always said, I mean, we really see ourselves cross cutting various industries. We are workwear, but we don't wanna define what workwear is for the person that's wearing it and how they choose to use it. And so, I think in the beginning, when we first started, we did especially have a lot of visual identity with women in the trades. They are like the Nike consumer- they are like the Nike athletes, the elite athlete, right? Because if it works for them and the level of intensity and stress and abuse that they put on their workwear, then it will work for everyone else. We also love, you know, the consumer that is… maybe they're just hiking, maybe they're camping, fishing, you know, helping break trail or clean trail for volunteer work.

And then I think, you know, the women that work in natural resources have been such a big part of our focus. And so it's kind of always been a trifecta for us, trades women, which are a small part of the market, but such a defining sort of user, women in natural resources, whether recreation or work. And there are so many women working in natural resources. We were recently at a consumer show that was with the Geological Society of America. And there's now 50% of all women going into natural resource jobs - or, it's 50% of all people going into natural resource jobs are female, and often extremely rugged, intensive. You know, we think of the tradeswomen as the one having the most intensive environment and wear on her clothing. But many of the women, you know, in geology for instance, scrambling up lava flows and, you know, out for weeks in the field and so forth, and they're in rain and wind and, you know, it's, it's quite intense. So I think it's very valid recreationally of course, but really on the professional side.

And then we always have tried to also think of women in studios and shops and craft. And that's a very, you know, wide range of whether it's a female brewer or a woman who's a metal artist, and everything in between. So I think we don't, we just don't really pigeonhole ourselves and it's kind of like workwear for the way you want it and the way you wanna wear it.

Sara: I do think from a product standpoint, the outdoor industry has very much informed us because the women we work with have the same requirements and they're usually having some sort of physical activity. So things like breathability, UPF protection, water resistance, offering lighter weight options. All of those things have really been core to how we've developed product, because we recognize that, you know, if you have a waterproof jacket, but it's not breathable, it's probably not gonna function for you, whether you're recreating or working in it. So it's been fun to kind of look at technologies in purely outdoor brands and see how we can incorporate them for our customer as well.

Lisa: That - is that your newest product?

Sara: I think that this is fall ‘22, so it's coming.

Lisa: Fall ‘22.

Sara: Coming around the pike.

Lisa: Oh, what is it? What do you, you wanna talk about it? Can you talk about it?

Sara: Sure. Let's see. Founder's favorites, Kate, help me out here.

Kate: First can we talk about Britt Ultra Lightweight?

Sara: Yeah, please.

Kate: Well, I think just in everything that Sara was just saying, like breathability, water resistance, mobility… you know, I think we did begin with heavier weight fabrics and that's what a lot of people know and wear currently, but as we've had more time and more space to continue looking at the line and saying what's missing - and of course, hearing a lot from women, not only in the Southern part of the states, but I mean, everywhere, is getting hot now. It's a hot world. Right? So product that really works in heat. And we have women again in trades that are seam fitters and working in very intensive, kind of hot environments.

So Sara developed, yeah, a product that is so amazing and feels like nothing on your skin, but has incredible durability. And that's the Britt Ultra Light. You wanna talk a little bit more about it, Sara? Technically speaking?

Kate: Yeah, it's just, I mean, you kind of summed it up, Kate, it's… I think bringing something that's the lightest weight fabric we've been able to bring, but still has the durability and the water resistance and nice stretch and gusseted crotch. So it kind of carries forth all of the basic principles of the rest of our product, but in an offering that's way lighter weight. And we definitely have seen, you know, a real absence of lightweight. I mean, it's so intuitive. Why wouldn't you have lightweight options for women? But it just seems to have not been a big focus, but certainly for us it is.

And we are looking at a future that is warmer, to Kate's point. And so I think continuing to think about how do we meet the world where it's at, and, you know, increasing need around, you know, water, lightweight, all those things are part of our whole conversation as we look at like product pipeline.

Behind me is fall ‘22, which is not lightweight by the way. But little sneak peek, Lisa. So, one of our favorite fabrics that we developed early on, but we've kind of continued to iterate and improve upon is that all in one thermal fabric, which incorporates just, you know, all of the great things about fabric technology: wicking, Thermoregulation, but it's super soft. It has a fleece interior and the exterior looks like a rugged denim. And, you know, early on when we were talking to women that were wearing, you know, a lot of our wear testers are up in the Arctic and they're like, “don't make it too heavy because then we have to take it off when we start sweating. So make it so that it can function on its own to like 10 or zero degrees. And then we'll layer underneath as we need to, as it gets super, super cold.” So this fabric we developed early on and again, improving upon it every year. And, and now we're extending it out. So it's in this cute jacket and we put it in our, our Britt Utility, which is sort of our hardcore work pant. Now we are offering it in a slimmer fit, the Maven X. So that's really fun. And then at the top, must be your left, is our old school rugged work vest. So just, you know, going after, you know, a work vest that actually was sent to me by one of our wear testers that was in her wardrobe for like 10 years and the zipper broke and she's like, “nobody makes it like this anymore.” And I'm like, “okay, we'll make you one. And we'll put the best damn zipper on it that you'll find.” So. Those are some of the fun, little sneak peeks that are coming.

Lisa: Oh man, that's gonna be way fun. That thing, that vest looks amazing.

Kate: It is. You're just sort of, like, all kinds of snuggly and soft and it's got the canvas, it's got a million pockets. It's got a secret pocket, which we won't totally give away right now. But just when you think we couldn’t get more pockets in it, we did. So, yeah. Yeah. And actually that thermal fabric, it has more recycled poly in it. So we've got some - I mean, we've always had some really great sustainability stories. We don't lead with that, but it's sort of part and parcel for how we do our work, the manufacturers that we work with, always looking at the supply chain and certainly the fabric story. Sara mentioned, you know, like we have our no-fade black uses a waterless dye process. There's just a lot actually really engineered into the fabrics and, you know, a sort of always being cognizant as much as we can about what the footprint is, but the thermal fabric has been really improved on that side using the recycled. And it has so much stretch in it. And it's just like, it looks like a great old, you know, jean jacket, but you just can move in every direction and you got this warmth. So yeah. Fall ‘22 is rounding up pretty, pretty well.

Lisa: Ah, love it. So that kind of leads in beautifully to the last question I had prepared, which was. How do you use- well, it's on your website. Sustainability is really important to you as a company. And so if you wanna speak on that, you're part of the UN Global Compact, which I had never heard of before I went to your website today. But yeah, kind of what do you have going on there for sustainability?

Sara: Well, we look to the UN global compact because it is so comprehensive in how it looks at labor rights and sustainability issues. So it looks at things like women's rights, which most of the standards don't really look at. It looks at… just all aspects, which is one of the reasons we embraced it as sort of our leading principle. And yeah, you really, you know, you said it, sustainability is really important to our brand. It's a work in progress. As many people that work on sustainability will tell you, I mean, it's… it's complex. You choose one thing. You're, there's a trade off here or there, there is no… I say this a lot, there is no silver bullet. There is no perfect solution, many times. You're often choosing between… this is a better option. Is it perfect? Maybe not. So we take, we take all of those conversations really seriously. We do a lot of research. We try very hard not to greenwash. We tell our customer what we're doing and we hope that, that they like us for who we are and the journey we're on. But we certainly don't try to, you know, pretend that we've nailed it or we're perfect, or… we're working on, you know, trying to get rid of all of our poly bags right now. And, you know, it's like, how complex could this be? But you get to the distribution center and they're like, you know, “we don't own our own distribution center.” So we have to work around all of these, you know, just the logistics of getting our product through the pipeline and getting into the hands of our customer without it being dirty or all wrinkled or… And so I think it's, yeah, it's core to our brand. We're excited about, I think, if you look at our relative age as a company, I think we've done amazing work around sustainability issues. But like I said, yeah, we have enough humility to know that it's a long road and we're just gonna keep, we're just gonna keep working at it.

Lisa: I'm I am just such a huge fan of your brand and… yeah. I love how you show up. I love your product photography. I think your sustainability efforts are beautiful. And I, yeah, I'm just a huge fan. I think you show up very well.

Kate: Thank you.

Sara: Yeah. Thank you, Lisa.

Kate: Yep. It's a true labor of love and we have a lot of fun doing it and trying to just be, yeah, I guess like realistic and true to what it is. So, and it's an amazing team. And we've had, you know, nothing but support really from people like yourself and in the outdoor industry. And we've been really lucky and really supported, there's been very little resistance. And then, you know, the women are just so awesome. It's like, how could you not be psyched to get up and work on this all the time?

Lisa: Aw, cool. Well, thank you so much for your time. And where can people follow you online? We'll put the link in the show notes.

Kate: Yes. You can follow us on Instagram at @dovetailworkwear, likewise for Facebook. Our website is And if you wanna sign up as a subscriber, we have really fantastic content that's stories called Women At Work about just the wide range of what women are doing and to really care about the stories that are getting out there. You also can hear about promos and so forth, but I think the best part is just, who you discover through that. Those are the big ones, right Sara? Am I missing anything?

Sara: Yeah, the newsletter is my favorite. I'm the always so inspired and it's funny ‘cause I work with these women all the time. So… But then we'll do an interview and there's all these cool things that come out that I didn't even know. And yeah.

Kate: Mhmm.

Sara: I'm always emailing the team like, “oh my God, can you believe her? She's amazing.” Anyway. Yeah.

Kate: It's so true. I feel like every single time after one comes out, I'm like, “oh my God. I had no idea. I love her so much!” And then the next one. “Oh my God!” [laughs] Yeah.

Lisa: Cool. Well, thank you, you so much. I really appreciate you and your time.


Iris: Thank you so much for tuning in to Outside by Design. This show is produced by WHEELIE - a creative agency that specializes in helping brands articulate and amplify what they stand for and making really cool creative work that serves as a gift to your community. You can find us at our website,

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With that. I'm Iris. Thanks for being here!

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