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Start Your Business Success Stories

Small Business Snapshot: K-DEER

Small Business Snapshot: K-DEER Credit: David Tufino

Our Small Business Snapshot series features photos that represent, in just one image, what the small businesses we feature are all about. Kristine Deer, founder and designer of K-DEER, a company founded in 2011 that creates activewear with unique prints and color combinations, explains how this image represents her business.

Deer explains...

This image was captured on a street corner in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Our photographer encouraged our model Alison Stroming to show her beauty and skill as a ballerina, while also showing the strength of an athlete. Three, four, five leaps attempting to get the "perfect shot," and the photographer said "YES! We got it!" Alison ran over to the camera to see the shot, and her jaw dropped — she had never before perfected a leap like that and you could see the pride on her face. This captured moment is what K-DEER is all about: confidence, strength, beauty and grace.

The K-DEER brand started in my childhood bedroom after recession-based layoffs left me out of a job. I began practicing hot yoga, and ultimately designed a pair of shorts that were more comfortable and functional enough for the intense 90 minute workouts. I sampled different styles and shared them with my yoga teachers and other students, and before long, I began manufacturing each pair of shorts by hand and selling them on Etsy. I outgrew my bedroom, moved into a studio space and expanded the collection over the course of the next 3 years. Today, the collection is being manufactured locally in northern New Jersey and sold around the world to yoga studios, fitness boutiques and select online retailers. Our all-female team is one of our greatest assets; made for women, by women.

Challenges are constantly occurring, but they exist so that we can learn and make improvements to the management of our processes, from sales to production. Our biggest challenge right now is getting up to speed with delivery cycles for fabric production, printing, garment production and all other elements that support those events. We are learning the importance and diligence of having deadlines, both internally and with our vendors.

Something interesting about our business is that we have a collection of prints called the 'Signature Stripes,' which are named after strong women in my life who inspire me and make an impact on their communities. At least 5 percent of profits from the sale of every signature stripe is donated to an organization or cause that has been carefully chosen by each inspirational woman. Our most recent stripe, the Josephine, has been named after a young girl from our community that lost her battle with a rare malignant brain tumor. The funds raised from this stripe will go to the research lab built by the Josephine’s Garden fund in the Children’s Hospital wing of Hackensack Hospital to help find a cure.