Behind the scenes of KIP., with our founder, Natalie Marshall
Welcome to behind the brand, where we’ll be giving you a little insight into the behind the scenes of our KIP. family. We love getting to know our customers and followers, and thought it would be nice to have them get to know us a little better as well. We sat down with our founder, Natalie, the brain behind the brand, to learn about the story behind KIP., why she believes in investing in rest & what’s most important to her as an entrepreneur.
What inspired you to start KIP.?
I was really motivated to start the company for two reasons. One, growing up in the U.K., I would get so many great sets of PJs from family and friends and would see such a great quality of product over there. When I moved to Canada when I was older, I noticed that I wasn’t able to get product of that quality here. It was something that I truly missed. It’s one thing I feel like you learn when you're going through business school...is that it's always great to start a business where you’re the customer, where you feel like you’re being underserved, so I definitely saw the opportunity there. Number two, we were starting the business around the time [end of 2016] where there was a big influx of perfection demanding brands on Instagram. Brands like Skinny Teas or apparel products that really promoted the look of perfection in women. I personally felt a lot of pressure within that and I felt like there was a real gap in the market to create a brand and a lifestyle brand that really stood for something more than perfection, but stood for lying down and investing in rest and investing in yourself.
I absolutely love this question because for me and all of the team, I really feel like it's something more than what we put on a brand wheel or a marketing document, it's something we live and breathe every day. For us, the KIP. customer is...the definition of the modern woman...a woman that’s really striving to do her best and she’s doing it in multiple facets of her life. Maybe she’s a stay at home mom but she’s got a side hustle where she’s selling product on Etsy. Maybe she has a very buttoned-up corporate career but she’s a painter on the side and that’s her passion. That is who we are trying to build our products for; we’re building it for someone who is really trying to live the fullest life and we want to encourage them to take rest as part of their lifestyle in order to be the best version of themselves.
The second piece of this too is: as much as we’re trying to inspire these women to invest in rest and really appreciate our product, the women that we’re talking about -- they inspire us every day. We are female-founded [and] entirely female operated. Every day we love interacting with our customers and the different brands we work with because they’re great examples to us of female leadership and what it means to be the true definition of a “modern woman”.
Why do you think it’s important for women to invest in rest?
Why is it important for women to invest in rest?
I can answer this question from personal experience [in] that I did not prioritize [rest] and learned the importance of prioritizing. I was someone in my early 20s who thought they needed to go at 110% in every area of their life in order to be successful. I thought it was completely possible to be excelling at work...home…[and] with family and that you just needed to push harder if you weren't meeting certain goals and meeting certain expectations of yourself. Quite obviously, burning out occurred and I ultimately wasn’t able to execute in any of those areas because I had just overworked myself. Over the years, I’ve learned the importance of self-care, self-love and all of those things and I feel its such an important pillar as much as striving to work out [or] continuously learn and develop new skills. Taking time to just be with yourself and reflect and rest is such an important factor. Scientifically speaking as well, from a cortisol perspective, [stress hormones are] such an important function in your body that need to be managed for optimal performance. For someone A-type like me, learning that part of it was such a lightbulb moment, that I realize now is such a pillar of my health that I can’t ignore.
What is important to you, as an entrepreneur?
I love this question too and I feel like it can really be wrapped up in one word...to me that word is “integrity”. It's something personally that I always prioritize as the most important thing in my life. As a business, I really feel like we’ve grown to translate [integrity] into everything we do. Whether it be the products we make, how we make them, where we make them and being very transparent with our customer about that. Or whether it be with the different brand partnerships that we work with, setting expectations at the start and really holding ourselves accountable to them. Or, thirdly, maybe it's with our customer service...dealing with issues and treating every single customer with the care that we would want to be treated with. I think that all comes back to integrity and, like I said, setting out expectations for what you want to do, doing them, and holding yourself and your team [accountable] to that. I think that’s something that, in KIP. and in other businesses, really is valued over time. To me, [that’s] what makes businesses stand the test of time.
Favourite KIP. piece to wear to bed?
I’m one hundred percent a short set girl all day long, whether it's winter or summer. I actually love layering it with other pieces.
Drink of choice?
It definitely varies but right now i’m really loving a skinny margarita, specifically with Casamigos tequila, I love that tequila.
You can’t leave home without your...
I’m a big lipstick girl. I can be quite casual (even though I’m made fun of for not), but I always love to have a lipstick on. For me - it's [like] my mascara.
Sweet or savoury?
Sweet all day long.
Your ideal night at home consists of ___
I love creating a spa-like experience at home, as much as I can, in light of the fact that I am at home. I love doing a good face mask, right now I’m obsessed with the Summer Fridays Overtime Mask-- It's an easy one to just put on and wipe off. I’m a big tea person so I always like researching different sleep teas...to really get me in that zen mode. Honestly, I like binge watching all different kinds of reality TV, just kind of shut my brain off and have a good laugh, so it would be all of those three things, together.
Follow up on that… What’s your favorite show to binge watch?
For years and years, I have been a die-hard Real Housewives fan. All of the franchises, all year round...I have an appreciation for all of them.