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Meet Kay Sides of HATCh in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kay Sides.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am so grateful to have had a privileged professional career so far… I’ve only had 3 jobs and all fated and amazing experiences… On my way to graduate school and a twist of fate landed me at Chanel then to Maxfield, and on to HATCh. I opened HATCh a little over 15 years ago with my former partner and good friend Betsee Isenberg.

At that time, I had no idea that fashion in DTLA even existed as I spent the majority of my time in Paris, Milan, London, Hamburg, Florence and Rome. I had met Betsee as I was quite certain that the future of fashion was about to change with a whole new segment of contemporary American designers… I started buying Katayone Adeli which was unheard of in an environment like Maxfield where I was only focused on luxury designer International brands for quite some time.

But, I thought this new bourgeoning segment was cool and fresh and forward in a different kind of way… We met and instantly decided to do something together… my vision, with her solid foothold and understanding of contemporary we created a really innovative lifestyle space that was unheard of at that time. We were the only dimensional agency and opened representing a cool juxtaposition of projects from Rick Owens, Katayone Adeli, Lacoste, Henry Duarte, Devon Mccleary, Lena Wald, Michelle Mason, a cashmere dog line, and James Perse.

I thought it was fresh to have Rick next to Lacoste, next to James with beautiful jewelry in an inspired environment that had oversized Japanese cushions on a long low lacquered bar for people to sit. I can remember walking into that first HATCh space years ago, it was a nonprofit space where gang members used to make t-shirts to sell. The whole space was covered in porn! I just fell in love with the gritty DTLA vibe and all that beautiful natural light and just saw it as a hidden jewel. That first year, I was a young new mom, and we were growing so fast, I was still consulting at Maxfield which I was so grateful for as it enabled me to not pay myself and hire a couple people. I would work all day at HATCh and then go to Maxfield around 4 and work till 7 or 8…

Looking back I don’t know how I did it but just remember feeling super invigorated, and inspired, tired but with a happy heart, challenged and excited and focused on being the best mom, a wife I could be as well as creating something special that I believed in. We quickly opened HATCh Paris and then NY. And, soon we had the vision to expand and reconfigure the Manufacturer’s Bank that was on the first floor. It was such a fun time working on designing that beautiful and gorgeous space. Eventually, we opened Dallas as well and Betsee and I both found ourselves needing more space and having separate spaces everywhere except for LA…

About 6 years ago we decided to officially be independent but still shared the LA space for 2 more years. 4 years ago, I moved to an incredible space in the cooper design building where we are today. Today, what I am most proud of are the inspired and healthy environments that our team thrives in. It’s a whole team effort and everyone has a lot of pride in the honest, supportive, transparent and safe environments we work hard to create. It feels like we just keep getting stronger in this area and are always looking within and to ourselves each season as to how we can get better and provide even more elevated service to both our manufacturing and design partners as well as our retail partners.

There is a lot of invigoration in our agency and we are all super grateful for the constant expansion on many levels. We have amazing partnerships with our brands and honestly love working with each and every one of them. We also feel the same way about all our retail clients big and small. We have no ego and I am always pushing our teams to reset, refresh and renew and it’s a unique environment where everyone is always open to expand and strengthen in new ways and skills constantly. We continue to expand and innovate on many levels. We have amazing partnerships with our brands and honestly love working with each and every one of them. We also feel the same way about all our retail clients big and small.

We have no ego and I am always pushing our teams to reset, refresh and renew and it’s a unique environment where everyone is always open to expand and strengthen in new ways and skills constantly. HATCh has remained true to its roots and the multidimensional environment… It’s never been more meaningful to have not just the awareness but data that we don’t live in a bubble. We are not just strong in women’s but men’s, not just contemporary but young designer, streetwear, activewear, footwear, accessories and outerwear. I love working with our teams, our brand partners, our retail clients, my consulting projects and move thru my days with gratitude always being the forefront.

Has it been a smooth road?
There have absolutely been struggles… I think anyone that has had the privilege of owning their own business for a number of years will tell you that it’s really about being able to survive those tough times and figure out how to thrive in them that make all the difference. It’s about having the emotional, and mental stamina to manage your stress when you are going thru these periods. As life continues swirling and just because one area of your life (work is challenging, especially as a parent and partner, it doesn’t mean that you can take a back seat in other areas).

We’ve had a few periods that were super challenging, where I felt pushed to a point of stopping… the game changer was developing a different relationship with stress, where I learned to really embrace it and not to see it as something negative but positive. We all need stress to grow and get stronger and it’s not something I look to avoid but work on creating the path of the least resistance as thoughtfully and strategically as I can. But, as we all know unexpected things happen all the time and we don’t control everything in our industry and things go wrong so it’s about migrating through and figuring out solutions instead of focusing on the problem.

In one specific area, we figured out how to make something that was the most challenging and disrupting part of our business into an area of great strength. Creating different revenue channels has also been strengthening…. we own our own project, have equity in a few partnerships as well as have a vibrant consulting arm as well.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the HATCh story. Tell us more about the business.
HATCh is a sales agency but we operate more like a complete partner. We are involved in everything from product development on down. We pride ourselves in helping build great lasting brands and part of that is strategically integrating a sales, marketing and distribution strategy that we implement and then manage all the sales, marketing and distribution for the U.S. and international markets. We are known for our level of integrity, our rigorous work ethic, and exceptional level of service we provide to both manufacturing and design partners as well as retailers.

We are not interested in just pushing the product but building sustainable, lucrative brands for both our brands as well as our retail partners. Each brand is something of great integrity. Each brand has a clear vision, an amazing designer that lives and breathes that brand that they stand for and a clear point of view. We spend an inordinate amount of time developing outside of the box ideas with our brand partners and retailers, traveling all over the country to service retailers as well as our manufacturers and have really close relationships with both our manufacturing design partners and retailers…..

I previously touched on what I am most proud of which are my teams…in the section prior to this one… I am also so proud of our segment of Fashion for Good. From the inception of HATCh, integrating a service segment has been so important for me.

We have done some very meaningful projects including and not limited to working with Waves for Water and Jon Rose in funding and installing over 300 water filters in Nicaragua, and Baja del Sur, providing funding for a new home for a family that was in impacted in Hurricane Sandy, generating over $300k for Architects for Humanity and Waves for Water in a joint event with Fashion Girls for Humanity and countless partnerships with Shelters for women and children. This week we are so excited and will be taking 75 3rd graders into nature on an environmental hike with one of our own brands!

What role has luck (good luck or bad luck) played in your life and business?
I truly believe that you create your own luck… I do always say… anyone that has had the privilege of owning their own business for 10 years or more… I know for certain that that is not just lucked LOL!!!!! In all seriousness, I truly believe, working hard, diligently, focused, and not looking over your shoulder but staying true to yourself, working with integrity, honesty, kindness and gratitude reverberates in many ways…

You can’t cut corners, make excuses and have to really be aligned in every arena of your life. And when you are, people and projects that are not your vibration will fall away, and the more on this true path of integrity you stay, great people, great projects and luck will continue to cross your path and light the way

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