Mom Talk: Q&A With Shaiyanne Dar of Dolkii
This Honolulu-born mama of two had to shift her mindset in order to achieve the work/life balance she needed.
Now known for its super soft graphic tees and loungewear for women and kids, Dolkii started as a fashion blog by Honolulu-born mama Shaiyanne Dar. Today, the popular brand offers buttery soft clothing and accessories made in Los Angeles, inspired by her home state of Hawai‘i.
In 2018, Dolkii launched its most notable tees, featuring the word “Wahine” boldly yet simply across the chest. The Wahine collection—still available today and including more designs—is in partnership with Women’s Fund of Hawai‘i, a non-profit dedicated to empowering women and girls statewide. Since its launch, Dolkii has donated more than $35,000 to WFH and other non-profits that improve the lives of women in Hawai‘i.
We caught up with Shaiyanne to talk about her brand, babies and some of her favorite local businesses.
When did you start your business? What sparked it?
Dolkii started in 2014 as my personal online fashion blog! I was working in New York City during my late 20’s, and this blog was my creative outlet away from the stresses of work. After about a year into blogging, I decided to turn my blog into an online shop. We started off by carrying other brands and in 2016, I moved from New York City to Los Angeles and eventually decided to start Dolkii’s private label, which meant manufacturing all our garments from fabric to finish in downtown Los Angeles.
What makes your brand special?
In recent years, there have been so many new brands popping up selling graphic tees (which is what we are known for), but I think what sets our brand apart is the way in which I approach our design process. Everything is designed with attention to intention. There are stories behind every graphic. It often ties back to something I am experiencing that I think my customers will relate to—which is why so many of our graphics recently have been about motherhood. Our ready-to-wear and loungewear pieces are designed for all women, but there are specific details considered to support pregnant and postpartum moms.
“I try my best to always give them the best version of me. To this day, I always remind myself that my business does not need me as much as my kids do.”
Any advice for new moms, for those starting a business or both?
Just take things one day at a time… one HOUR at a time if it’s just too overwhelming. Trust me, I’ve been there. I still go there! My first year of motherhood was so hard because I was so overwhelmed with everything, no matter how small the task. I found myself easily overstimulated, worrying about everything the baby needed but also trying to keep my business operations moving with minimal sleep. So instead of thinking about everything that needed to be done that week, that month, that year (and spiraling), I tried my best to just slow down and focus on getting through the day. That approach really helped me get through my first year as a first-time mother, and it’s actually helped me become a stronger, more present mom and business owner.
How has motherhood changed you?
Motherhood is still changing me. The biggest change has been in my work/life balance. Before becoming a mom, work was my life. I missed out on a lot of family events and celebrations with friends because there was always something I needed to do at the office. That work ethic paid off and helped build the company that I run today for sure, but once Willa was born, I learned to be more mindful of how I spent my time. I learned to create a more balanced life where I still work very hard in the office but always prioritize my energy for my kids. I don’t ever want them to feel like they get my “leftover” energy because I burned through everything at the office. I try my best to always give them the best version of me. To this day, I always remind myself that my business does not need me as much as my kids do. It won’t be this way forever, and before I know it, I’ll be able to pull long nights at the office again and crank out new collections every month. But for now, I’m enjoying reporting to my two “bosses” at home (lol).
What are your favorite activities to do with your little ones?
Beach, pool … any water play! I love that my girls are such water babies, so we try to do as many outdoor water activities with them as we can.
What are some of your favorite local businesses?
There are almost too many to name! For clothing, I love wearing Yireh, Lexbreezy Hawai‘i and Salvage Public. For jewelry, I’m always wearing Ginger13 and The Two Daughters. And for food, I have to shout out all my favorite spots in Kaimukī: Chubbies, Koko Head Cafe, Kim Chee II, Maguro-Ya, Via Gelato, Sconees and Crack Seed Store.
What’s new or coming for Dolkii?
We’re currently working on a few fun co-branded collaborations for holidays that I’m so excited about! This past Mother’s Day, we launched a beautiful loungewear collaboration with CAMP, which sold out in just a few hours. Our loungewear pieces have become so popular with our customers, so I love being able to do these creative capsule collections for them. They’re limited quantities and one-time releases with deep meaning behind every aspect of the design process.
Before the holiday season, we’ll be releasing our first ever T-shirt dress! This is something our customers have been asking us to do for a while, so I’m so excited to finally be releasing them! Plus, we will have new colors for our Tank Lola soon, too!