We are huge fans of women doing creative, inspiring things – so when we heard about Kendra and Ennie and their organic baby products brand (that supports early literacy programs), Obébé Organic, we knew we had to sit down with them to learn more about their story and style. Check out the interview below to get to know these two lovely ladies, their whimsical brand, and their super-chic style.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELVES…
Kendra: I just adore children and their fearless approach to the world. I try not to forget to do the same... be more bold, more honest, and fearless. Just experiment and have fun. I've always pursued activities and jobs that feel “right” to me - something that serves people, is beautiful, purposeful, and challenging. I have an insane reading list and drop the daily stress on my yoga mat and in the kitchen. Cooking and food are also huge passions of mine so when I’m not working on Obébé, I’m probably doing something food related.
Ennie: When I was 10 I attempted to raise money for a cause by selling my Tiger Beats heartthrob posters on my driveway, so I think I was destined to be an entrepreneur and philanthropist. I was born in Malaysia, my parents moved my sister and I to a predominantly French speaking province in Quebec, Canada. I grew up playing ice hockey & I’m a die-hard Habs fan. I moved to Hong Kong shortly after university and love brought me to San Francisco. I’ve always been a risk-taker so naturally here I am; no salary, always hustling, working in my sleep (I literally dream about completing my tasks), and loving every moment of it.
WHAT'S the story behind Obébé Organic?
Kendra: Ennie and I met at an event hosted by a mutual friend and I immediately connected with her over her idea for an organic baby brand that supported early literacy. With my background in the natural/organic CPG/food space, combined with my former experience as an infant/toddler Early Childhood Educator, I really understood her vision. It was like the universe was slapping me in the face with a massive opportunity to build a business centered around my passions. When we both pulled up the EXACT same image as inspiration for our new brand, I knew we would be an incredible team.
Ennie: My mom has worked in the apparel industry for 3 decades in Montreal, so she taught me about apparel production over the years. I am also a Board Member of the Bring Me A Book Foundation so benefitting Early Childhood Literacy was a must! The a-ha moment came to me one day when I was re-packaging all my friends baby shower gifts and noticed that there was a need for beautiful gifts in beautiful packaging - the rest is history.
What do you love about your job?
Kendra: I love the fact that this is a massive challenge and incredible adventure. Sometimes I don’t know what I’ll be doing an hour from now. I meet smart, interesting people daily, and my work is my teacher. I’m learning non-stop. Nothing stays constant.
Ennie: The fact that I don’t consider this my job. This is my life, my passion & this sounds cliché but this is my dream. Most days are so stressful and intense that I just want to curl into a ball because we have a never ending list of tasks to complete but I honestly can’t imagine doing anything else. Lori Greiner said it best, “Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.” True story.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced building your company?
Kendra: The biggest challenge for me is to not get swamped in overwhelm or the never-ending “to-do” list. Some days I feel behind before I’ve even started, but I’ve learned that if I focus on the task instead of the fear, I worry less and enjoy whatever it is I’m working on. Ennie is great about reminding me to make the daily tasks “fun” and not take things too seriously - even if that just means turn on a fun playlist.
Ennie: I’ve made a lot of mistakes on this journey, some very costly, I’m human it’s inevitable. But I’ve embraced the reality of making mistakes because I learn from them, it forces me to find new creative ways to find solutions and I know I will never make the same mistakes again. All of my mistakes were good life lessons both personal and career. Everything happens for a reason.
What's your personal philosophy in 10 words or less?
Kendra: Get in Flow. Focus on process and you’ll nail product.
Ennie: Coffee first. Success won’t happen overnight. Be patient. Never stop hustling.
Tell us a bit about your style...
Kendra: I like to pair clean, well-fitting, minimal basics with edgier pieces - a funky pattern, textured fabric, or something vintage to keep it interesting. Cozy knits, versatile dresses and chunky boots are working their way into my closet this fall - but in San Francisco, I tend to wear “fall” fashion year round thanks to our good friend Karl the Fog.
Ennie: I recently cleared out my entire closet and focused on making sure I have a dozen key items in my closet that are all interchangeable, so whenever I shop I need to ask myself if I can wear that same item with multiple looks. If I can wear it for brunch, meetings and a night out, then we have a winner! I’m all about blouses, blazers and long fitted skirts, I love my heels but my feet don’t so I always keep my Tieks ballet flats with me.
How has your industry influenced your style?
Kendra: I spend a lot of time on Instagram, so I see a ton of gorgeously styled outfits that I clip and add to my personal style board on Pinterest for later reference. When I shop, I look for timeless pieces made with quality fabrics that I can wear for years to come. Lately, I’ve been in love with color - rich yellows, reds and blues - maybe it’s something to do with kids and Crayola.
Ennie: Being in the baby space, we work with beautiful soft organic fabric so I love comfortable, soft and light fabric. And my first job out of university was for a big fashion company, my mom working in the apparel industry definitely has a huge impact on my style. I’ve also been modeling since I was 21 so over the years I got the opportunity to work with amazing stylists.
What’s your go-to power outfit?
Kendra: Blazers. You can throw them over anything and feel put-together. I generally reach for a fitted sheath dress, pumps and a blazer. Dresses are great because you don’t need to fuss over layers or find matching pieces. It’s one piece of clothing and done!
Ennie: Fitted long black skirt, black top, white blazer, black lace pumps. I like to keep it simple, no distraction. Black and white means BUSINESS.
What are your favorite brands/stores?
Kendra: Calvin Klein for basics - it’s really minimal, clean, and fits perfectly. Theory for business attire, Reformation (a super chic sustainable brand out of LA), and anything vintage when I’m looking for pieces that are more interesting.
Ennie: I love supporting local designers, but my favorite brand is BCBG, it always fits me perfectly.
Tell us about a recent fashion discovery that excited you...
Kendra: Elizabeth & Clark just did a Kickstarter for their Unstainable White Shirt. I bought a classic white blouse which is a wardrobe staple - coffee and wine, etc. just slip right off if you spill. I’m constantly running around so this top is a lifesaver. I wear it all the time because it travels well, doesn’t wrinkle easily, and stays crisp and white throughout the day.
Ennie: Haute Hippie long sleeve asymmetrical tuxedo lapel dress. You can wear it on it’s own during the summer or with leggings and boots in the winter. The ultimate power look. Love it.