Create Your Own Vision: Katy Gyi

Create Your Own Vision: Katy Gyi

In the second post in our series featuring inspiring women in business, we sat down with Katy Gyi - Founder of Days of Dwam, a kidswear brand made from upcycled textiles in East London.

Days of Dwam Website

Days of Dwam Instagram

  • Can you share a bit about your journey in the business world and how you reached the level of success you have today?

  • I worked as a buyer for UK high street brands for 13 years, where I collaborated with designers to create trend led womenswear. I left this job last year to set up Days of Dwam, an upcycled kidswear brand made from pre-loved textiles. Everything is sourced, designed & made in East London, making one of a kind garments that are reducing clothes to landfill. 'Dwam' means to be in a daydream state, and I feel like this epitomises my brand. It's a slow & mindful brand, re-imagining existing textiles into something new.

    What has helped promote my brand so far is the small business community. Community is the key, women supporting women.

  • As a successful businesswoman, what challenges did you face in your career related to gender, and how did you overcome them?

  • The retail industry was predominantly female led, so there were less challenges when it came to gender. It was a competitive environment, as the nature of fast fashion demands being ‘first to market’. What I was craving with my career change was working in a collaborative, supportive environment. I am still mostly surrounded by women, but the competitive element in absent…everyone wants you to succeed, regardless of whether you are selling a similar product or concept. It is incredibly refreshing and shows the power of women working together.

  • What are three habits that have helped you get where you are today?

  • Working within a creative industry, trusting your gut is key. If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t right. Don’t push to follow a ‘trend’ with product as you often end up creating something more desirable bucking the trend. I love the creative freedom that comes from making kidswear.

    Find what gives you energy and protect that. For me, it is designing clothes but with my brand, I need to do things that aren’t as natural for me such as content creation. I manage this by giving myself dedicated time to design so I don’t become overwhelmed with the elements of the brand that don’t come as naturally to me.

    Prioritising kindness and empathy. A key focus of the social enterprise I work with is the wellbeing of their workforce and there is such a positive energy whenever I am at the studio. I feel content knowing the garments are being made with care and attention, in a nurturing, inclusive environment.

  • Do you think it’s becoming any easier for women to succeed in business, and if so why do you think that is?

  • Yes, and no. There are more examples of successful women in business, and within that a more diverse range of women. Having these role models and influences at the top is a positive change for promoting females in business. A big barrier that I found came with wanting to start a family. We still have ways to go to make it so that women feel fairly supported in the workplace when making that decision, and are not unfairly penalised when returning to work.

  • If you could give one piece of advice to other women aspiring for similar success in their industries, what would it be?

  • Lift others up, collaboration is so important and there is room for everyone.

  • Who are some of your female role models?

  • My role models have changed with my career shift, where I now value people working hard to showcase small businesses and push for positive change. There are a host of amazing women out there who are working tirelessly to promote brands creating a slower and less wasteful retail future. Sisters Daisy & Liv, the creators of Salad Days market, do just that and have created such a wonderful community in the process. Freya Simonne has inspired me to make the leap and set up my brand. We worked together many years ago and she has worked hard to build a conscious brand designing beautiful clothes, building her own loyal community in the process.

  • What’s your favourite pair of OQs?
  • Roxana - stunning