I met Billi Doyle some time ago ( don’t really remember where or how LOL ) but she is an Oklahoma native and migrated to Dallas, TX. I have worked with Billi numerous times and I love her drive, work ethic and attention to detail. The time and dedication she puts into her business really reflects in the quality of everything she produces. On top of that, she’s a single mom! I introduce to you all Billi Doyle of Honeybee Swim and Doyle Design House below:
I recently saw that you are expanding and will be launching Doyle Design House in addition to Honeybee Swim, congrats! Could you share a little more about Doyle Design House?
The Doyle Design House was started as a small manufacturing company but we also offer new designers consulting services, pattern making, sourcing, sample production, and just in general we can take a new designer from concept to the point where they are ready for production. I had so many designer friends asking me for advice and honestly even random people emailing me asking for help that I decided to launch this company. It kinda just fell in my lap over night really after I was forced to start manufacturing my own swimsuits in house. The other side of the Design House will be the launch of my new clothing line.
When and how did you discover your passion for design? What was the first piece you created that you were proud of?
I started designing when I was a kid in Oklahoma. My grandmother always made my moms clothes and every western shirt my grandpa owns she made. She taught me to sew and really just sparked the interest in me to create. I’ve been designing ever since and made a lot of my clothes in high school because of my curvy shape I had a really hard time finding things that fit me. Of course I had no clue really about the process so I moved to Dallas and attended design school at the Art Institute. The first piece that I was really proud of was a fitted pink dress that I did some texturizing to the material, it turned out really cool and I actually saw years later that Gucci had made a swimsuit that had the exact same thing done to the material.
Where do you find inspiration for the pieces that you create?
I find inspiration in different prints, art, and music, but mostly in the curves of a woman’s body. I love the idea of accentuating the parts we want to show off and hiding the other areas that we as women aren’t so confident about.
What is a normal day like for you as a designer?
My sweet puppy Nori wakes me up every morning to go for a walk, that’s the first thing I literally do every day. Coffee, breakfast, and then head to the studio. I’m usually at my studio shipping orders or cutting new pieces until about 6 everyday. I don’t typically draw at my studio so sometimes I skip the studio and go find a place where I can feel more creative and sketch new pieces. I work all day long though from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep. Owning your own business basically means you are on call 24/7. If someone emails me about an order I typically respond to them within an hour or less. My customers really appreciate that and they continue to order from me because they know I won’t leave them hanging if they have questions.
What obstacles have you faced as a woman in the creative industry?
I think the biggest obstacle was starting Honey Bee Swim. I originally tried to get an investor and had the hardest time getting anyone to take me serious. I ended up just saving the money up myself and investing every dime of my savings into the brand. I feel a lot more confident now though after doing that.
As a female entrepreneur, what is the most rewarding part about being your own boss?
I own 100% of the brand and that’s a great feeling. We actually are an all woman run company now. Who needs a man anyway, I’ve always been really independent in every aspect of my life. My mom made me this way, I started working at the age of 12 and hard work has never scared me. I’m also a single mom so the best part of being my own boss is being able to spend so much time with my daughter and where else can you take your kid and your dog with you to work.
What’s a word of advice that you would give to other ladies look to become an entrepreneur / fashion designer?
Do your research!!! The fashion industry looks so fun from the outside but there are a lot of really important details to starting a brand. If you don’t know the process and really know all the cost to start producing your ideas you will get frustrated very quickly. You have to know this is not easy. There have been days were I just cried all day and asking myself WTF are you doing. Giving up is just not an option for me at this point and that has helped me get through the hard times and keep striving for success. We always fail when we don’t try so just remember that and go for it. You’ll never be truly happy if you don’t follow your hearts desires.
Bonus* You are such an insp-her-ation! What can we expect to see from you this upcoming year with Honeybee Swim and Doyle Design House?
We are releasing the new Spring collection currently, it was a bit delayed because the fabric arrived really late from Italy but we are working day and night to launch now. The Doyle Design House is growing really fast and I’m hoping to launch my other brand under that name as soon as we get everything in order and start producing the first samples. We are also looking for a design intern in Dallas and a really aggressive in house sales rep, email firstname.lastname@example.org if you or anyone you know if looking for a position like this.
Thanks so much for letting me share a little piece of my story!