We go behing the bling with Floridian sisters Danielle and Jodi who are the masterminds behind the sophisticated yet edgy Dannijo line. They give us the dish on their proudest moment as designers, favorite fashion trends, and more!
Tell me about the Resort/Holiday collection.
The Resort/Holiday collection is one part Cleopatra, two parts Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s). It’s about bold statement pieces that will take any ensemble next level chic. The collection plays up our signature bib silhouettes in sparkling cosmic colors, oversized 20’s clip-on crystal studs, and Great Gatsby-esque cocktail rings.
What is something you dream of achieving but haven’t yet?
We’ve started chipping away at our main goal which is to empower and employ women in underdeveloped areas of the world to take part in creating DANNIJO. We’ve partnered with Indego Africa to work with women cooperatives in Rwanda. The Rwandan women currently make all of our DANNIJO pouches (which are individually signed by the artisan and features her photo). We’re in the process of giving the women larger projects that would broaden the scope of their work for DANNIJO.
Other goals of ours include having a flagship store in New York, expanding our product-line, and launching an offshoot of DANNIJO that caters to our younger demographic. One day we also hope to have the DANNIJO Show, inspired by our favorite 90s show, House of Style.
How would you describe your own style?
Danielle: My style is sort of bohemian, rock-and-roll influenced. I love quirky fashion, mixing and matching pattern and color and all things tomboy. I also tend towards dressing comfortably, so if I’m wearing something really girly I’ll most likely pair it with high top sneakers and a men’s watch or a worn-in bomber jacket. I’m such a mood-dresser and my style is constantly evolving, but overall my basic vibe doesn’t change.
Jodie: And I’m a bit more classic and tend to gravitate towards more tailored silhouettes. I always love a great fitting blazer. My wardrobe consists of colorful silk blouses, printed dresses, classic designer handbags and loads of vintage findings. I also have tons of leather and jeans – two things I never tire of.
What is your favorite fashion trend right now?
Danielle – High top sneakers, men’s watches and all things pleated and leather!
Jodie – plaid on plaid and color blocking
What was your proudest moment as a designer?
Landing Bergdorf Goodman as our first account was a big moment for us. It really gave us the confidence to build and grow our business. Being featured on the Today Show was another major milestone and gave cachet to the brand. Inc magazine recognized us at America's Coolest Young Entrepreneurs on their 30 Under 30 list which also really validated. DANNIJO as a solid business. Beyonce buying our necklace from Bergdorf Goodman was also a major milestone--she's a real style icon and the fact that she bought the necklace at retail really made a statement about the collection offering something new to the marketplace.
If you could give advice to aspiring designers, what would it be?
Start locally. We tested our designs on the local market (Jacksonville, FL where we grew up). It will help you develop your product and see what people like and don't like about it so you can tweak it accordingly. By taking baby steps, you'll be less overwhelmed and have a more focused approach to growing your business.
Stay organized because it will be difficult and overwhelming to catch-up later.
Find a partner or employee that you trust and that shares the same goals and passion as you. Not only is it fun to share the journey with someone, but it will lighten your load.
Be fearless, and don't be afraid of rejection or failure or else you'll never make it.
Be openminded. You never know who you're meeting or how they could help you or potentially collaborate with you. Meet as many people as you can and be social--it will grow your business faster than you ever imagined. There is nothing like the power of a social network.
Use the internet. Make a page on Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram, and start tweeting and following people on twitter that you admire. You’ll learn so much about your customer and the behind the scenes of the brands you love. Having a presence online is more important now than ever before.