Ogiekanogie LogoWhen was the last time you took your favorite dress or coat and put it in the washing machine? I’m willing to bet it is dry clean only, unless it is from Ogie Kanogie.

Co-founders Jamie and Massiel launched their business in September of 2007. Since then their business has grown to include up to 15 different coat and 3 dress styles.

What was the inspiration behind Ogie Kanogie?

Massiel is a California surfer. She wanted a coat that would be perfect to wear after getting out of the cold water. She couldn’t find one she liked, so she made one for herself. Ultimately, it was stolen. She took that as a compliment and made another. Knowing her friend Jamie was always feeling cold, Massiel brought the coat to show Jamie.

How many products are listed on your website?

15 coats, 3 dress styles and one hoodie top. Many come in a nice variety of colors or fabrics. There are heavy, medium and lightweight coats, jackets, sweater coats, hoodie dresses and a great hoodie top.

Who designs the clothing that you sell?

Jamie, Massiel and their kids all take part in designing every product. We want coats to be more fashionable and colorful. Since we wear ours even indoors–when the air conditioning is blasting–we wanted some of our coats to be more like another layer of clothing.

What sizes does your clothing come in?

Sizes 2-8. Because of customer requests, we are planning to offer more sizes.

What separates you from the competition?

We design, wear, wash and critique every style. Our products are comfortable and extremely wearable. We make quality items that are beautifully styled, reasonably priced and machine washable. We were determined to have our products made here in the United States. We are a small, family run company. We’re women owned. We use eco-friendly materials. We are shoppers ourselves, including online shopping, so we made sure to create an easy to use website and at this point we offer free shipping and return shipping so customers can shop with confidence. We also have quick personal, attentive customer service, because we know that’s something a small business can offer and how important good customer service is. Our customers are so appreciative when they get a return call or email quickly.

How has your business evolved since it launched in September 2007?

Our first sample coat was good–but not quite right. So, we made changes. We decided we wanted our long coats not just long, but floor-length. We made them a little more sleek, added more detail to the pockets, hardware and closures. We all wore the coats constantly so we’d know just what adjustments to make. We’re always evolving. We began with some of our coats in-stock and some as special order. But having customers wait two to four weeks was not what we wanted. Now, what’s on sale is in stock.

What goals haven’t you reached yet that you would still like to reach?

We’re considering moving into storefronts.

As a family, what part does your children play in the business?

From the very beginning, the kids helped with design ideas, picking fabrics, wearing the coats for comfort, fit and durability. They even came up with the name Ogie Kanogie.

How do you balance your personal time with the business? Do you have any tips that you’re willing to share?

Blackberries. I have two. And I have a satellite connection for my laptop. That way I can work and be with my family. I believe that you have to be available to your customers and be committed to answering questions in a timely manner. People really appreciate it when they get a quick response, and when we’re friendly and helpful. That’s what a small business is about.

Do you have any advice that you’d like to share with other aspiring entrepreneurs?

Be flexible, ready to make changes, keep a keen eye on quality control and always, always make time for your customers.