DREAM CATCHER: ANNA KIMELMAN
Anna Kimelman’s Line Dry Inc. is a line of of versatile leisurewear that combines West Coast casual with East Coast chic. It was a girls’ trip abroad – to Oslo, the Arctic Circle, Copenhagen, Munich, and Berlin – that inspired her to create stylish and comfortable pieces that can fit easily into one suitcase. She recognized that women today need clothing that adapts to their lifestyle, whether traveling to different countries or shifting between their various roles in the day to day. With on-trend pieces (like the Marcella Boyfriend Tunic that can be worn as a shirt, dress, or cover-up) and directional, creative leisurewear (like the Kali Hooded Poncho that packs away into a tote bag), Line Dry offers a unique and wearable collection that can take women through an entire day, from work to family events to special occasions. Buyers and customers alike have fallen in love with the Line Dry concept of versatile leisure sportswear that has a story to tell.
How did your former career prepare you for running your own business? I have been in the fashion industry for over ten years. I have worked for both small design houses and large corporations. The smaller design companies allowed me to experience a wide range of roles and tasks within a business, while the corporations exposed me to streamlined processes and business strategies. I learned a lot from both places, but nothing can completely prepare you for starting your own business. I have learned more in the last two years building Line Dry than at any prior job – it’s been a wonderful and wild ride!
What was the biggest obstacle that you had to overcome before launching your business? The biggest obstacle for me was figuring out a plan for balancing both work and family. Without set hours, you can easily find yourself working around the clock, especially at the very beginning when there is so much to be done. To avoid burnout, it is imperative to prioritize and know what absolutely needs to be done on a given day versus what does not.
How long were you in business before you started to see real growth? What do you attribute that to? We received our first big order from a well-known retailer at the very end of our first season. We felt incredibly fortunate. I would attribute our early success to two main factors. First, having a go-getter salesperson who truly believes in the line and the concept was, and remains, critical. Second, having a fresh perspective and a unique idea intrigued the buyer enough to take a chance on us even though we were a brand new line. We strive to design beautiful, versatile pieces that buyers cannot find anywhere else.
How did you fund your dream? I used profits from a consulting business to launch the brand.
How do you organize your day to best optimize your time? Describe a day in your life. Again, prioritization is the most important element to getting it all done. One day might look like this: Drop my oldest daughter off at school and then head to the office. Make my list for the day and touch base with our team. A couple hours of desk work, which could include answering emails, going through invoices, working on a new design, or selecting new fabric. Then it’s off the the factory to touch base with that team as well as check up on production, new design development, and any other open issues. Often we will have a weekly conference call to touch base with our public relations team. I like to share information and be close with everyone we work with. I have also found that a mid-afternoon coffee (and cookie) break is invaluable.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be… I don’t know what else I would be doing!
Five years from now I see myself and my company… I envision Line Dry being a go-to brand for travel – both around the city and across the globe. I see the future of fashion as seamlessly integrating aesthetics with lifestyle. Likewise, my goal for Line Dry is to provide core pieces around which the contemporary woman can layer and accessorize. As we continue to establish our presence as a producer of versatile, easy, and cool core pieces, I envision multiple opportunities to partner with other like-minded designers and brands.
The key to balancing it all is… Prioritizing.
If I had to do it all over again I would… Identify all partners and potential collaborators before the launch of the brand. Though it all worked out the way it was supposed to, it may have been an easier road that way.
The most important thing I have learned so far… There’s been so much I have learned, it’s hard to name just one thing!
“What I would emphasize the most is the importance of trust and partnership with the people you meet and work with.”
LET’S GET PERSONAL:
I am most proud of… My family – two girls and my incredibly supportive husband. They are my biggest supporters.
My favorite getaway is… In the day to day, it’s my coffee breaks. But my favorite getaway vacation is Bhutan.
My favorite nail polish, lipstick, or scent is… My favorite scent for spring is Kai by Gaye Straza Eau De Parfum.
My favorite TV show or movie is… Mad Men.
I try to achieve mindfulness by… Time goes by so fast. Be sure to be “in the moment,” every moment.
My favorite non-business author is… Donna Tartt.
One talent I wish I had is… A mastery of multiple languages.
A woman who inspires me is… Diane Von Furstenberg.
One thing I hope to pass along to my children is… The business and the joy in not taking yourself too seriously.