Ergobaby x Doen: Women in Leadership

We are so excited to announce our partnership with DÔEN, an LA-based women-owned clothing brand.  DÔEN was founded by two sisters in the early days of newfound motherhood – the brand is and always has been inspired by family and driven by a desire to create something special with the transformative strength that motherhood imbues. As Ergobaby-wearing mothers themselves, the partnership between DÔEN and Ergobaby was borne out of mutual appreciation and rooted in a shared desire to support women through the ever-changing seasons of life – a quality embodied by the timeless, feminine carrier designs created for this collection.

We are thrilled to share this collection during Women’s History Month to celebrate women and pay homage to the journey of parenthood. As part of this collection, we are also launching a content campaign featuring inspiring women-identifying individuals that are paving the way for social change and advancement in reproductive health, so be sure to follow along.

DÔEN is known for its timeless, feminine styles and nostalgic, California wildflower-inspired florals. The Ergobaby Limited Edition Doen Collection is a springtime reverie – timelessly feminine styles in nostalgic, California wildflower-inspired florals.

To launch the series, we invited Margaret and Katherine Kleveland to share their beautiful story.

Tell us about yourself.

Hi! We are Margaret Kleveland, CEO of DÔEN and Katherine Kleveland, CCO of DÔEN.

MK: We founded DÔEN in 2015, driven by our personal experiences in the apparel industry and the desire to offer something different. We had noticed how atypical it is to see women at the helm of fashion brands, and so collective ownership shared amongst a group of women-identifying creatives was something that was included in our early conception of the brand. From the start, DÔEN aimed to improve upon the traditional business model in the fashion industry by supporting women in the workforce in all aspects of the organization, supply chain, and community.

KK: I think we both feel that the courage to start DÔEN came from our transformative and empowering experiences of new motherhood: We were also relatively new mothers during the initial stages of the brand — Margaret’s son was only a few weeks old, and my boys were 1 and 3 years old. DÔEN absolutely came from our reflections on that metamorphosis to being new mothers — and how much it deepened our connection to our women-identifying peers. We felt a real desire to create with them and for them. We were on a mission to cultivate a community of people who empower each other and build one another up — a truly inclusive, supportive environment, through both our collections and making space for ongoing dialogue.

Tell us about your personal contribution to fashion? Why is it important that there are more women-owned businesses within this field?

KK: Firstly, it’s truly a thrill seeing all of the beautiful and inspiring people in our community who wear and live their day-to-day lives in our pieces. We deeply believe in the strength of community, and are proud of the one DÔEN has created — it feels so connected to the brand, with our interactions going above and beyond what is typical of a customer/retailer relationship.

MK: We are always striving to use fashion as the entry point to meeting others, and connecting with and building relationships with them. We consider the DOEN environment to be safe, authentic, and a place where people can lean on one another. We are unabashedly feminist, and, as a women-owned business, we have been so moved by how receptive our audience has been to how we use our voice and our platform — something we consider a responsibility.

KK: Running a company by women for women drives us to create the best product in an inclusive, supportive atmosphere. Since day one, our goal has been to foster a creative and collaborative environment where we can tap into the incredibly talented community around us, who all come with different strengths and viewpoints — we have always felt there is real magic and inspiration in that.

What does leadership within your industry mean to you? Why is it important for women to lead?

MK: Since 2015, we have worked towards being a responsible advocate within the fashion industry ecosystem, and a business built on values and ethics deeply rooted in feminism. Our mission is supporting and empowering women-identifying individuals, and we openly take political stances on issues surrounding women’s rights. We have found real beauty in nurturing partnerships that are respectful and progressive; this also happens to stand out, I think, in contrast to our peers and predecessors in the fashion space.

KK: We are steadfast in these beliefs — so much so that we prioritize production partners who share our values and are equally dedicated to supporting those who identify as women in the workplace. We have chosen to work with women-owned, or co-owned, manufacturers; we also look for manufacturing partners based on any internal programs they have in place for employee welfare — for example, our vendor in India funds the education of the daughters of their employees, and reports a Triple Bottom Line. To put it plainly, we want to run a business with a female perspective, a soul, and a purpose that speaks to, represents, and celebrates the people who are our peers and customers.

MK:  Through our long-term partnerships with Room to Read, Planned Parenthood LA, and (more recently) Kindred Space LA / Birthing People Foundation, we also are able to support women’s healthcare and education. Our customer knows that by supporting DÔEN, they are purchasing from a brand that is owned by women, and in turn, stands behind these organizations, both vocally and financially.

How do you navigate self-care and motherhood? How are you cultivating joy these days?

KK: With safe local day trips, baths, walks, space, forgiveness, breathing, sweating (seriously, getting in some exercise is key!). And finding delight in revisiting one of my first great joys: horseback riding! It is one of the things I loved most in my 20’s, pre-pregnancies, and now I am taking the time to come back to it.

Share how you have navigated motherhood, owning a business, and self during COVID?

KK: It’s been an evolution, both chaotic and calm. Nothing gets to be somewhat compartmentalized, like it once was; now, boundaries don’t exist, focus is fractured, energy is spread thin. I feel like an octopus most days! With that said, I think the brief moments of reconnecting with the California nature — so restorative for me, and always a constant source of inspiration for DÔEN — have been key.

Share a quick tip that you wish someone would have shared with you regarding motherhood, business, etc.

KK: I must admit that I don’t spend a lot of time in reflection, because we are still so in it. The time flies; it can be thrilling, and I have so much gratitude to be able to have the parallel adventure of starting a business and experiencing the life-changing magic of motherhood; I don’t think I would be great at either without the other.

MK: One of our most important lessons has been to have strong mentors and partners. We are so grateful that we have had honest, authentic mentors in all different fields. They have helped guide us to the point we are at today, giving advice at pivotal moments in the past three years since we launched — and in turn, we feel strongly about empowering those around you.

What was the inspiration behind this collaboration? What role has babywearing played in your personal lives?

 KK: Ergobaby has played a huge role in both of our lives. Margaret and I have shared the same carrier, which has gone back and forth between 5 babies over the last 9 years! We keep going back to the importance of having a carrier offer both physical support for the development of our babies, as well as emotional security through carrying them close to our chest and bodies. I used my Ergobaby SO much with my kids between the ages of 0 and 4 years old. It allowed me to travel solo on work trips, which otherwise would have been intimidating to do alone. I took my daughter Prairie to Europe at three months old, and was able to seamlessly get through security in the airport, ride trains between countries, take appointments, and experience everything I wanted to.

MK: I’ll never forget my first trip outside the house with my son Julian: It was a trip to the beach with the help of our Ergobaby carrier! As a working mom and busy parent, I love the opportunity to hold my new daughter Georgie close while having hands available to get things done. It is such a gift to be hands free and know your baby is safe and supported! In partnering with Ergobaby, we’re excited to be able to offer this tool, in addition to apparel — it really is a helpful and accessible aid for our customers who are parents and caregivers.


Introducing Ergobaby’s Limited Edition Dôen Collection. ⁠
⁠Now available for pre-sale. The Ergobaby x Doen Collection will ship in late April. ⁠


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Brandi Sellers-Jackson

Brandi Sellers-Jackson is Ergobaby’s Social Media Manager, a Doula, Baby Wearing Educator, and the founder of #NotSoPrivateParts + Co-Founder of Moms In Color. Brandi lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband and their three boys, Jax, Jedi, and Jupiter.

March 11, 2021