Neighbor Sit-Down: Kristin Mayer of Betty Designs

We have an interview with Kristin below, but while putting it together, I found this video.  Which basically defines who Kristin is. So, although it’s a promotional vid, and we are NOT about promotions, it’s clear that this one defines who Kristin Mayer is.  So, enjoy.  Share with your daughters.  Then, read on for the interview.

How long have you lived in Cardiff?
I have been in North County since the winter of 1994 and in Cardiff since 2013. I have one son who is a sophomore at San Dieguito Academy.

Why did you start a clothing business?
The main motivation was a life change that took place in 2010. My husband of almost 15 years and I split up. I was running a decent freelance graphic design business but as a single mom that life was not sustainable. My options were to take the easy route as a corporate art director or risk everything and start my own business. At the time it was terrifying but working in a cubicle and missing out on picking up my son from school every day or taking him to sports practice was just as terrifying. My number one priority was to be a good mom.

A guy friend of mine (who is now my husband!) suggested I sell my own clothing because I was already doing a lot of freelance for teams and clubs and coming up with kit designs. After the initial panic and self-doubt, I took it on in small chunks. I did not have much in the way of spare money and was not willing to take on a loan of any kind so I started really small. I purchased 30 jerseys. Once they sold, I put the profits back into the business while I continued to freelance. I was lucky because I already had a lot of contacts in the business. Local manufacturers took a chance on me and I could not have done it without their help.

Where did the name Betty Designs come from?
I have always had a design aesthetic that is bright and bold. I was always drawn to surf brands + surf culture and get a lot of inspiration there. Surf brands like No Fear (where I worked in the 90’s) always inspired me. I wanted a name that was playful and reflected that I did not take myself too seriously. At the time I was freelancing under the name of Brand Betty as the name Betty is slang for “cute surfer chick”. The jump to Betty Designs was a no brainer when I launched my line.

Are your clothes in stores?
I have a few things in a local shop, Nytro Multisport in Encinitas, but other that I sell direct to consumers online at bettydesigns.com.

Are they only for triathlete women?
I design 98% for women who cycle, swim, tri, run and just love endurance sports. I dabble in designing kits for men, but not often. Our clothes are worn by women from those who have been racing endurance sports / triathlons for decades to the beginner triathlete looking for designs that are different, bold, edgy.

Who creates the designs?
I do all the design for the brand.

Why is your brand so edgy?
The concept for our skull/butterfly logo came from the fact that I believe women can be both strong + beautiful. Just because you are a woman doesn’t mean you can’t play, train or race hard, or mix it up with the boys. I’m a total tomboy at heart. Our philosophy is to design gear with attitude that empowers women to be badass. Badass doesn’t have to mean butch. I would describe my designs as bold. Edgy. Bright. I bring in different elements that come from the high fashion world and I look at how they work in sport. My goal is to approach each new season trying to design something that looks unique from anything done before from motifs to patterns, to color to how it plays on the garments.

How do you manage being a single mom and running a business?
I’m not sure that now I am called a single mom since I am remarried. Do you know how that works? When I started the brand back in 2010 I most definitely was a single mom. I got remarried 2 years ago. My son was the main motivation for starting another business out of our home.
What advice do you have for people thinking of starting their own business or own clothing line?
Take things in small chunks. Don’t take on investment money. Make sure that if you are not from a design + marketing background you hire those that are. Building a brand is a combination of the product and the image / brand personality. Ask a lot of questions and don’t be discouraged if people say “no”.

What is the best part of living and working in 92007?
WOW. Well I think we live in one of the most incredible places on earth! I love the beach, being outdoors and the smaller, intimate community that Cardiff brings. It feels like family. We have everything we possibly need right here in our little town.