The Women Behind Dovetail Workwear
Coming together to take on the challenge of ill-fitting and under performing workwear, Kate, Kyle and Sara have redefined women’s workwear by creating apparel for those who push their limits, challenge the norm and strive for excellence.
Meet the women behind the women’s workwear movement: a growing segment meeting the demands of women in trades, natural resources, and creative pursuits. Meet Dovetail.
Was there a defining moment when you just knew you had to start treating your passion as a business and no longer as a hobby? Or did you always know this specific passion of yours would become a business?
Kate Day: A defining moment, that we still refer to, was in the early development of our Maven Pant (now a beloved, core style in the Dovetail line). We got 20 female women in physical occupations together in my garage for a feedback session on the pant prototype and our friend Mercy M'Fon Shammah—a tall, African American LGBTQ carpenter and outdoorist—turned to us after trying her pair on and said, "When I put these pants on, for the first time ever, I feel like someone was thinking about me."
Another major milestone was a few months later, when we posted our first round of Mavens on our original website (the called Moxie & Moss Workwear at that time) in September 2018 and they all sold out before we were even into the holiday season. That was an exhilarating period because the market was confirming our theory that women everywhere needed superior workwear!
Now that your passion project has become your 9 to 5 grind, what passions do you practice to keep your creative juices flowing during your dusk to dawn hours?
Kyle Begley: That would be more like 8 to 8! Our business still is our passion but it is easy to get tapped out. We all love to garden, and it’s what brought us together in the first place. I often draw out different garden plans for my own yard, or a neighbor’s or friends with my morning cup of coffee—this gets my creativity flowing and I find it incredibly fun to dream up beautiful designs and ponder the possibilities of transforming living spaces in ways that have not been done before.
I also meditate with an app at night and some mornings—this helps my quality of sleep and focus. I also protect either a full Saturday or Sunday by not opening my computer. I can't help but engage on our @dovetailworkwear IG though.
We’ve all heard the struggles of starting a business and the questions that keep entrepreneurs up at night. What habits did you develop or strategies did (or still do) you use to keep your internal light shining bright even when you wanted to quit?
Sara DeLuca: Coming from years in the apparel industry, when someone talks to you about another fashion line or active line with a twist, it's hard to get inspired. But the chance to work on a product where we are actually solving a real problem—a problem that women face every day, that has gone unanswered and unseen for far too long—well, that's a product developer’s dream. But even when you have a true mission-driven brand, it's hard not to get stuck in the weeds. Supply chain issues, erratic tariff policies, the ongoing desire to build the best product at an accessible price (built with sustainable practices), it never really ends…
For me, it always helps to come back to our true north: the women for whom we’re doing this work. From our social media to our online newsletter profiles, to the conversations with wear testers, I derive constant inspiration from women doing incredible work across this country. These women are building our cities, farming our food, and doing all manner of challenging work with pride and ingenuity. So when I feel a bit depleted, I look to the ladies wearing our products to give me a push. If someone is gutsy enough to climb a wind turbine and do maintenance work on it while dangling in mid-air—here's looking at you Jessica Kilroy—then I can make her the best damn pants that have never existed.
What’s one more thing you want us to tell the world about your company?
Kate Day: We test the hell out of our workwear. Long before a pair of jeans or a workshirt makes it into your wardrobe, we’ve tested and refined it with our wear tester community. And then tested and refined it again. And again. Thousands of working women across a mind-boggling array of skills and job and body types generously collaborate directly with our team to improve our designs and make them better than anything else that’s out there. So when you buy a piece of Dovetail Workwear, it's fit for the job and capable of anything.