On the latest edition of #LFH, our weekly Instagram Live series centered on how founders and executives are currently leading from home, Glossy fashion reporter Danny Parisi hosted Jessy Dover, co-founder and creative director of DTC bag brand Dagne Dover.
Signing on from her family’s home in Colorado, Dover shared the challenges associated with the company’s newly remote staff and the silver lining that the current “lack of physical sensory distraction” has provided.
“For the creative team, all of a sudden, we have the space to be creative,” said Dover. “Two months ago, I was [focused on] running a business, running a creative team, collaborating with a lot of different people, talking to retailers — all these different things that happen when you’re a designer running a business. Now that everything’s paused, you have a little space to design again.”
Below are more highlights from the conversation, lightly edited for clarity.
The new production process:
“We used to have all of our samples come into the office, and we have a room where we have all of our sketches — we usually review the samples as a team and go through a few different sample rounds, anywhere from three to 15, depending on the product. There’s no tradeoff for doing that in person, and I’m not comfortable launching a product without seeing it. So what we’re doing is: Our factories send the product to one of us, we review it via Zoom, and then we pack it back up along with our comments, and send it to the next person on the [creative] team. It’s like a tag-team system, where everybody can see the samples and sign off, so that we’re not skimping or skipping any steps of the process, because each is incredibly important.”
On shifting resources in-house:
“What has been incredible for keeping people connected and excited has been involving everybody in the creative process. Typically, like at any other company, you don’t have the marketing department, creative department, product development and finance all working on [the creative side]. But since this has happened, everyone has had to get involved. I had to ask our head of finance, ‘Can you take pictures for Instagram this weekend?’ It’s now a collective creative process, and it’s been really exciting to see people who aren’t typically or necessarily comfortable in the creative world just getting their hands dirty.”
The brand’s plans for opening its first store in NYC’s SoHo:
“We never really looked at physical retail as a big revenue stream. A lot of times, people who do want to shop in person are a completely different customer than who wants to shop online. It’s important that they have a destination, and as a brand with a physical product, it’s important that our brand can live and breathe. Are we going to go open a ton of stores right now? Definitely not. But we’ve always been bullish on DTC, since we started working on our company eight or nine years ago, and generally speaking, we are a forward-thinking team. So our hypothesis [on physical retail] has not changed a whole lot. Our timeline for how long it’s going to take to make the store financially worth it for us may extend, but we’re comfortable with that, because of the benefits that we’ll see in the long term from having the store.”