The Chic Activewear
A few months ago we met this amazing human & fell in love with her brand instantly. Please meet Katharina, founder & designer of INA KESS. She's the mastermind behind the incredibly comfy and chic Luxe Léger Track Pants that makes every ones life so much better, trust us, ladies! If you’re a I-just-wanna-live-my-best-life-and-chill-in-my-sweatpants-allday-everyday (but-still-look-stylish) kinda gal (like us), you will be so excited about this brand.
We love Katharina's drive and ambition, the way she thinks and approaches things. Read all about this charming girlboss, how she got her business started and how she even got Olivia Palermo to wear her designs. And then make sure to head over to her website and get your hands on the comfiest pants everrrr.
For our readers who don’t know you yet, tell us a little bit about yourself, where you’re from and what got you here.?
I am founder, designer and owner of INA KESS. My background is in the IT/Telecom sector, I did my masters in economics at the University of Zurich. I always had a passion for textile, clothes, to a lesser degree fashion/trends.
Together with my sister Isabelle I founded INA KESS to develop nice looking sports clothes, for yoga classes and beyond. That brought us into the world of functional fabrics, and we wondered: Why has this not been developed yet? Functional, good looking clothes, that have the comfort of sports clothes, yet don’t look like sweatpants.
How did you come up with the name INA KESS? When did you first start putting the wheels into motion for your business?
I used to do a lot of sports while working my daytime job at an office and that got me wondering why there weren't any sports clothes, that were made for women like me. A classy, feminine style that looked stylish, not funny, not too colorful or too branded. That basically wasn't available.
The part INA is a short for my name Katharina, while KESS is a word used in German to describe a pragmatic, charismatic, slightly cheeky attitude (“eine kesse Art”). Together, INA KESS stands for feminine (INA), technical (KESS) clothes.
I quit my job in June 2015 and started the business right then.
We've seen Olivia Palermo wear your designs. How did that happen?
I met her on a plane from Zurich to New York :)
What is something about your work that people don't know to that surprises them?
The importance of a very good pattern maker.
What is the secret behind those AMAZING Luxe Léger Track Pants? Honestly the fit is so perfect, how did you do it?
My above answer – to have an amazing pattern maker :) That would be the answer today, back then we didn’t have one yet, unfortunately. We tested those pants on soooo many women, with different body shapes, sizes, needs etc. It was one of our first pants and it really took us about 40 prototypes to get it right. I think the secret is that we involved so many women and took into account all sorts of critical feedback. Plus, the fabric obviously is amazing, and our Portuguese manufacturer a very supportive and perfectionist partner.
Covid-19 hit really hard, how did it affect your business?
It was quite tough. We sell our clothes through 40-50 stores in Switzerland and internationally and being confronted with an immediate lockdown where all our partners were at risk over night was tough. Our online store was very helpful though. We tried to do everything possible to continue giving our customers the best experience when ordering online. We have very loyal customers, and the chocolates and flowers that were sent to the Team from some customers were really supportive :) We were lucky to have designs that are tailored exactly for home office seasons – comfortable but still very chic.
What’s one thing you’ve done in your career that helped you succeed, and that very few other people do?
I grew up on a farm and had to get my hands dirty at a very young age. It taught me to never feel too good to do something and that working hard, if you like the work, can be very fulfilling.
What’s motivates you every day?
My Team (including the cats, of course).
Zodiac sign: Gemini
Favorite quote: If you don’t know what you want, you will never have it.
Currently listening to: Ibiza Global Radio
Fav color for the Luxe Léger Track Pants (next to black)? Still black :) And crystal grey.
How to unwind after a long day at work: Pizza on the couch with friends and good music.
Ultimate happy fix: Music
Can’t live without: Salt
Most used emojis: 😂🌞🎶
The best food day; where and what would you eat? In my favourite city Rome, with friends, at my beloved restaurant La Montecarlo, having the most delicious pizza ever.