Two In One Wednesday!! Meet ProFASHIONal: Kelly Dooley, Founder & President of BodyRock Sport & Check Out Our Review of BodyRock Sport’s Sports Bras!
Name: Kelly Dooley
Job: Founder and President of BodyRock Sport
People always talk about starting a business. You know the “awesome restaurant idea” or the occasional “fashion line or boutique”, but few actually get around to doing it. Kelly Dooley, on the other hand, did. For those of you doubting yourself because of a lack in technical expertise, look no further!
At some point or another we’ve all been shopping and blurted out the same simple phrase, “I wish they had ___.” So when Kelly found herself saying the exact same thing before running a marathon in Walt Disney World she then decided to create a fun, fashionable, functional, and sexy activewear line, post race, of course.
Not only was I inspired by the fact that Kelly did what most of us dream of doing, but I was also able to test the sports bras themselves. Today, Reality Chic got to do a little two in one action to see just how BodyRock rocks your body! Cue Justin Timberlake and his giant diamond earrings…
Style: The Megan ; The Denise Bra
Price: $30 Upward
Important Note: Be Sure to Check Out BodyRock Sport’s Empowerment Bras a New Fashion Forward Line for Mastectomy Patients!
ProFASHIONal: Kelly Dooley – in black
Reality Chic – in pink
How did you become interested in designing? Have you always loved it?
I have always been very creative and entrepreneurial. It’s in my genes. But I specifically became interested in designing only after realizing that there was a huge void in the activewear market for clothing that was equally fashionable, functional and flattering.
What was your Ah Ha! moment in deciding to start BodyRock Sport?
My Ah Ha! moment occurred in January 2009 when I was at packet pick up at the Walt Disney Marathon for my first-ever 26.2 mile race! I was hunting for a sports bra that was sexy, fun, special, and functional, but I couldn’t find anything. It was at this very moment that I realized that I needed to transform the activewear world.
After the Ah Ha! moment passed, what steps did you take to turn your entrepreneurial spirit into a full-fledged business?
As soon as I returned to NYC, I got straight to work. I started developing a concept gallery replete, a business plan, and branding strategy. My goal was to launch by January 2010, and that’s exactly what I did. Aspiring entreprenuers often ask me how to get started, and my response is always the same: “You start by getting started,” meaning you’ve got to grab the bull by the horns and go for it! Thankfully, I have a very supportive and diverse network that enabled me to jump start the process with very few hiccups.
Was designing something you were familiar with or did you learn how to design along the way?
Because I am artistic, design comes naturally to me. But I am not trained as a designer. My education was primarily focused on marketing and luxury consumption. Thus, you can say that I have learned as I have gone along. When thinking of what’s next, I always ask myself, “What would I want to wear in this situation?” In doing so, I am truly able to provide women not only with what they want but also with what they need.
Do you have advice for a 20 something who might have an idea and an entrepreneurial spirit but doesn’t have a clue how to sew?
Yes, as long as you have the ideas, you can hire somebody to do everything else for you. Having a creative mind is the most invaluable aspect of being a designer and entrepreneur. Every other aspect of the job can be handled by various experts.
If you could list the main steps you took to get to where you are today, what would they be?
This is an interesting question because I’ve wanted my own company since I was five-years-old. I used to always go to work with my dad to assemble bolts for his oil pan and air scoop manufacturing company, and I made quite a bit of dough for a young girl. By age 7, I had saved up $700. BodyRock Sport is result of having a dream, a pure vision, purpose, passion, resilience, and undying desire to empower and help others. To be honest, everything has fallen into place step by step as a result of the combination of everything I mentioned above.
Could you take us through the creation of a piece of Body Rock Sport clothing?
First, I have the idea, which usually comes to me while I am racing, while I am in the shower, or while I am sleeping. Then I create a sketch. Then I send the sketch to my CAD artist, who then interprets the sketch so that we can get a prototype made. Once we receive the prototype, I put each piece through extensive testing. This often takes months, depending on what we are creating. Once we agree that the piece is perfect, we go into production, and VOILA!
Could you tell Reality Chic readers the skills they should build or work on to one day become a designer?
Seriously, it’s really simple. You just need to be realty creative, entrepreneurial, dedicated, and passionate. And you can’t give up! It takes time. People are going to deny you all the time, but as long as you remain true to yourself and to your vision, everything else will fall into place.
What advice can you give to a 20 something that you wish you would have known when starting out?
To grow thick skin!!!
Do you have a typical day? What’s it like?
The only predictable part of my day is the beginning and the end. I awake around 4:30 to work out either with my triathlon team, Full Throttle Endurance Racing, which is coached by my fiancee Andrew Kalley, or to box with my instructor, Gary Stark! The rest of the day is unpredictable. My days are typically filled with interviews, meetings, product development, web design, accounts payable and receivable, trunk shows, and sometimes, even fulfilling orders. Right now, I am in LA for the IDEA Fitness Expo, so I spent the day setting up the booth with my brother Mike, who is my business partner and confidante.
What were some of the crucial steps you took to launch your clothing line to consumers?
Hiring a PR firm and creating a solid social media campaign were vital, especially since BodyRock Sport is a lifestyle brand.
Do you believe designing for a niche helps or hurts you in a market place?
I personally think that designing for a niche is a double-edged sword. I believe that we were born in this world to stand out, not blend in. Most activewear brands are generic, but they move a lot of units, because basics sell. But I am providing women with amazing product that makes them feel beautiful. So, while I often wonder what would happen if I went in a different direction, I know that what I am doing is right because women love their BodyRock Sport, and my passion shines through in each and every design.
Your line is pretty much in every major gym across the West/East coast along with being online, how did you get involved & impress these stores?
By being authentic and by offering women something that is equally functional, fashionable, and flattering. BodyRock Sport is hands down the most fashion-forward activewear brand in the world, and I take much pride in being able to say that, because I know what’s out there, and most of it is pretty boring.
I’ve heard you say that your brand grew organically. What exactly does that mean?
I started with 4 styles of bras: (1) Lock ‘em Down; (2) Keep ‘em In: (3) Zip ‘em Up; (4) Show ‘em Off. I really wanted to make my mark with sports bras, since that’s where the biggest void was in the market. From there, the line grew organically. The leggings, tanks, moto jackets, and swimwear have enabled us to create an entire look for BodyRock Sport lovers, all equally edgy, flattering, fashionable and functional. The entire line, when viewed as a whole, makes complete sense, as each piece fills a void in the activewear market in some way or another.
What advice would you give to new designers looking to do the same?
To start out small and grow from there.
Do you believe fashion school is necessary or are there other options for those who went to a typical four-year college?
Absolutely not!!! Most of the people I know who went to fashion school have no idea how to run a company. I recommend getting an MA or MBA.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
I think I would most likely be a life coach, therapist, or editor.
Last but not least, are there any new projects you’re currently working on that you’d like to share?
Yes, we are currently developing a new product to market for post-Mastectomy and post-cancer surgery patients by addressing their unique needs. One key element is providing a product that adapts to the changing body shape of women as they go through reconstruction and beyond. For cancer patients that seek to thrive, a sports bra that shifts from ‘cleavage to coverage’ is likely to meet their expectations and incite them to exercise, a critical part of their recovery.
Our mission is to empower all women to look and feel beautiful by providing them with activewear that is equally fashionable and functional. The mastectomy bra is going to be called The Empower Collection, and will undoubtedly be “The World’s First Fashionable Mastectomy Bra.” The bra will be available in a several patterns, including floral, leopard, and camouflage. Each bra has been named after a women I know who has experienced breast cancer. Each bra will be emblazoned with the words “I am empowered.” For each bra that is purchased, one will be donated to a woman who has experienced breast cancer who cannot afford an appropriate bra. I have poured my heart and soul into this particular collection, as I want breast cancer survivors to be able to rock their bodies just like they did prior to their diagnosis. The bra recently launched in October, and I couldn’t possibly be more excited!
Next Tuesday meet proFASHIONal: Jessica Kleiman, Vice President of Public Relations for Hearst Magazines & Author
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