NAME: Kathi "Kat" Chandler & Alison "Ally" Boris
AGE: 31 (KC) & 37 (AB)
COMPANY: AllyKatStyle ("Sass-essories" for Kittens to Cougars)
FOUNDED: Los Angeles, 2007
FAVORITE SONG OF ALL-TIME:
KC: That's like picking your favorite child. Here are my top three for today: "NARC" by Interpol; "Rich Girls" by The Virgins; "Straight Outta Compton" by NWA.
AB: "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" with George Michael and Elton John. And no joke, Alfonso Ribierio does an amazing rendition that I love too.
1. What are some overlooked fashion accessories?
AB: Black Gloria Vanderbilt jeans from the late '70s and '80s. With the competitive designer jean market out there today, I think one of the original icons should be brought back. Her jeans were the first time consumers looked a jeans as special or dressy.
KC: The keyboard necktie. Fashionable AND educational. How many fashion pieces can you say that about?
2. What's the best way to spend a rainy Saturday?
KC: Being from San Francisco, I love inclement weather. Any good rainy Saturday starts with a big breakfast of bacon, bacon, eggs and bacon. And lots of black Peet's coffee. I balance the day with an independent or foreign film, a nap and more coffee.
AB: I have two baby girls under 3, so this favorite way hasn't been done for some time. Napping, maybe cozy clothes and a Law & Order marathon and more napping.
3. What's your favorite movie trilogy?
KC: The Rocky trilogy. There were six of them, so it's twice as good as other trilogies.
AB: It hasn't been made yet. With a little embarrassment, I would say if Legally Blonde made a third, that would make the perfect trilogy for me. The first two were guilty pleasures for me. A film about a woman being empowered, outrageous fashion and Washington, I'm in.
4. What's the weirdest or wildest thing to happen to you on vacation?
AB: I was in Paris visiting the Notre Dame on Christmas Eve in the late '90s and I decided to light a candle to ask above for guidance with my life. And then my coat caught fire. Not sure if that was supposed to be a sign or just bad luck.
5. What's the silliest clothing item you still own?
AB: Oh my God, I have a teal green pair of Ostrich Cowboy boots. I guess you can take the girl out of Jersey, but not the Jersey out of the girl. At least they weren't white.
KC: OK, it's not mine. It's my fiancÃÂ©'s. He has a Luchador mask and it gets pulled out when we want to make with the silly.
The 27 Word Question
Did you see M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening some months ago? I thought it was the worst movie I've ever seen. What's your opinion of the film in 27 words exactly (no more, no less)?
AB: Night cast me in The Sixth Sense, in Philadelphia. I plead the fifth. I look forward to working with him soon (please). Can anyone say "kissing up?"
KC: Didn't see it, but Ally worked with him, putting me one degree away. I want to meet Kevin Bacon someday, so I'm sure The Happening was amazing.
You mean Mark Wahlberg?
KC: I definitely have what can be considered a "random" sense of humor. The Kevin Bacon reference is just the idea that everyone is six degrees from Kevin Bacon and now that I am one degree from M. Night, I am even closer.
The Beatles Question
Who was your favorite Beatle?
AB: Paul McCartney. He is timeless and still marketable after 40 some years.
KC: Sammy Davis Jr. He was the Candy Man. He'd mix my mixtape with love and make the world taste good.
Wait, Sammy Davis Jr.? Do you mean that you choose him over any of the Beatles or were there secret Beatles that I was unaware of?
KC: Just random. You are right. I don't care for the Beatles one way or another, but I didn't think that answer would be very entertaining, so I made up who my favorite Beatle would be.
FANCY BUSINESS QUESTIONS:
1. What keeps the balance of being good business partners and good friends? And, if you two have such different interests and strengths, how do you compromise?
KC: Ally and I have different areas where we excel, and we respect and appreciate that about each other. She's very creative with lots of ideas and has a strong intuitive marketing bone. We deal with problems by collaborating on a "Perfect World" solution and a "Plan B." For both, we do our best to get on the same page. You don't have to agree, but you have to try and understand where your partner is coming from. This is imperative for partnerships.
AB: Communication. We are fantastic partners. A true yin and yang. The Ally Kats even use a career coach, Barbara Deutsch. She helps use get past blocks, deal with difficult decisions and keeps us communicating currently. She helps us keep on the same page and allow our individual voices and strengths to help our collaborated vision. I also believe that you must acknowledge your partner's talents, ideas and strengths. For me in business, there is no Ally Style without the Kat Style. Plus, we are great friends with a lot history that makes us who we are today.
2. What advice do you have entrepreneurs looking to start up their own fashion company?
AB: Do what you know and love. Keep your vision clear. If not, it is easy to get side-tracked by others' opinions and lose your vision. Your vision has to be supported by your passion. So again, stick to what you know and love. One other important thing: Remember your seed money is that...seeds for your crop. Don't panic about it. You will recoup it someday. Let it hang in the back of your mind the first year, not haunt you.
3. How do you adapt to trends and competitors?
KC: Quickly. Ally and I are able and willing to adjust taste and price. We want the women who buy from us to be happy. If that means carrying purple bags even though we don't gravitate toward it, or keeping a design in stock even though we have had it for six months, we will. It's important to listen to the public, not just the runway.