Kristine Deer | Owner + Designer of K-DEER
One of my greatest pleasures is to meet women entrepreneurs and learn about their personal journey that manifested an idea into a business. Kristine Deer’s story starts with a change in career that challenged her sense of self and steered her onto a road of self discovery. And on that path she found the gift of presence through yoga which changed the direction of her life. Kristine’s passion transformed into a desire to share her love for yoga and fashion around the world – and K-DEER was born.
One of my favorite leggings line is her Signature Stripes. Each one of her Signature Stripes is named after an inspiring woman and supports a cause that is close to her heart. Kristine’s intention is to create a platform and community that inspires others to give back. For each sale of their Stripes, a minimum of 5% of proceeds goes directly to causes raising awareness and creating positive change for individuals and communities in need.
K-DEER has raised $70, 000 to date. Yes, I love that.
The brand reflects exactly who Kristine is – on the inside and out. She is a woman that walks the talk and celebrates her style with purpose and mindful values…and I am honored to share her story with you.
I love your backstory on how K-Deer was created. Can you tell us about your corporate work background and how you envisioned your fashion career at that time – before K-Deer?
I studied fashion at Syracuse and upon graduation hunted down a job in NYC. It was much harder than anticipated and so I freelanced and took any job I could in order to get my foot in the door and learn all different facets of the fashion industry. I was never dead set on owning my own company but after watching the corporate world swallow up designers and creative people, it clicked as an option when I lost my job and started to see with a different perspective.
When you lost your corporate job, what were some of your feelings at that time and how did you work through that life change?
I was upset at first, losing a stable income and the relationships that went along with the company was impactful. Having not much else to do but search for work, I went to Bikram Yoga and it became a comfort and motivator. I reconnected with my body and got to know myself as a 24 year old, no longer a high school athlete, college student and everything I used to be. It was a fresh start and it was hard.
Would you say that yoga helped you find your spirit and creativity? How does the practice of yoga center you?
Yoga was an escape at first, then it transformed into an opportunity over time. It reignited a level of discipline that I lost and it also turned my creative spirit up once I needed to solve a problem: I had nothing to wear to class!
What was the specific “Aha” moment that put an idea into your mind to make your own yoga pants?
The ‘aha’ came from frustration and absolutely hating what I had to wear for hot yoga class. My old soccer spandex shorts were getting stretched out, stinky and as my body continued to change, they just no longer fit. My sister was a swimwear print designer and would bring me fabric samples to play with. It made complete sense and logic to use a fabric that was meant to get wet, unlike all the other brands at the time using cotton and polyester based fabrics that stretched out and retained the “hot yoga funk”.
What steps did you take to put your design idea into a sample?
I made patterns from scratch, cut and sewed up samples during the day and then wore them to class in the evening to test our the desig