Kula Adventure Series - Mallory Ottariano, Founder of Kind Apparel Co.
- Who are you and what excites you the most in life?
I’m Mallory Ottariano, and I design women’s outdoor clothing for gals who get after it! I own Kind Apparel, an athletic clothing brand that celebrates the uniqueness of each woman and inspires to her to be her truest self. These days I’m really excited about the future. My work is my life, and I’m highly motivated by what lies ahead. The challenge of the unknown inspires me to keep climbing and trying new things.
- What does Leave No Trace mean to you? Why is it so important?
Sustainability, and stewardship of the land is not just a millennial trend - it’s a necessity and, damn it, we ALL need to start understanding this. Leave No Trace is important to me and what I do, because the planet is my home, and I treat my home with respect, and keep it clean safe and healthy. Without a healthy planet, we are not healthy people, and without our health, we do not live a full life. Leave No Trace principles strive to preserve the natural beauty of places that are vital to my mental well being, my physical well being, and my livelihood.
- As an entrepreneur in the outdoor space, what drives you to create? What is the most rewarding thing about being an entrepreneur?
I do what I do for the women who support my brand. I design and create clothing for them, that is a direct response to what’s missing for women in the outdoor clothing space. Women shouldn’t have to sacrifice apparel performance for appearance, and there shouldn’t be a choice of technicality over expression. I strive to include both. The most rewarding thing about what I do, is seeing women use my products and the excitement they exude. Running in to someone on the trail wearing a Kind Apparel hat, or at a bar in a new city wearing a Kind Apparel dress. It’s surreal, and amazing.
- If you could snap your fingers and live your absolutely perfect day, what would look like?
It sounds cliché, but I have a pretty great day almost every day. Sure there are challenges, but I truly love what I do and where I live. I love to start each day with exercise before the sunrise, except I’m on the injured list for the next several months – can I snap my fingers and change that? One of my favorite experiences is running with my dog, up the mountain near my house (I live in an amazing valley) in the dark and watching the sun rise from the top, and the city spring to life below. If I don’t get outside at the start of my day, things never really click. A good breakfast, a good cup of coffee, then digging right in to my business and doing good work. I love meeting people, and I love surrounding myself with people who inspire me to do better work, and push myself. I also love summiting. Literally and figuratively. Tackling a big project, or being on top of the world for a few minutes, elevates and rejuvenates me. What I don’t always do a great job of, is making time for others. I wish I carved out more time to spend with the friends and family I love. A perfect day would have a better balance of work and not-work.
- 'Kula' means community. What does community look like and mean to you?
Community is integral to the work that I do, and to me it means support. Although my business is product-based, it’s heavily story-based which inherently creates a surrounding community. My business would not be where it is today without the incredible women who support me. I think we are all part of many communities, and they each provide independently necessary support. Friends, family, colleagues, customers, mentors, idols, teammates – they’re all part of who I am!
- Free space - this is where you get to write anything else that you are passionate about and want to share!
Fun facts about me!
I live in Missoula, MT with my fiancé Jeff and our dog Luna. Jeff and I met in high school in Massachusetts and have been together for 12 years! Luna always looks guilty and loves Wutang Clan. I have a younger brother and, when we were kids, we built a crazy 3-story treehouse from construction scraps with a hatchet and a hammer. My childhood was pretty special – I was homeschooled on an arts-based curriculum, and got to ski every winter morning before school. I am not good at relaxing, and I drink Dunkin Donuts coffee almost every day.
Connect with Mallory: www.shopkindapparel.com