We count ourselves proud to be women business owners, and will never forget the sweat equity we’ve put into building our brand from a simple idea. But we’re also not shy about recognizing a few good men who’ve offered more than the occasional assist along the way.
With Father’s Day approaching this weekend, we’re taking a moment to celebrate the “Dudes of Dudley”—our Dad, Rick, and husbands Graham and John—who have been fans, special teams and clutch players for the brand from the very start.
Husband of Kaki; Dad to JJ and James
On being a Dudley Dude. “We spend most of our long car rides and dinners talking Dudley Stephens. I like to think it helps Kaki to talk about the brand outside the office. The fact that Lauren and Kaki have gotten DS to where it is today—and where it will go tomorrow—all while having and raising four kids between them makes me most proud.
“When Kaki and Lauren went to Nantucket recently, our oldest, JJ, asked where Mommy was and I told him she was in Nantucket with Auntie La for work. He looked at me and said, ‘But Dad, that is where you go for vacation!’ Yes it is, JJ, yes it is.”
On being a Dad. “The cliché is right—they grow up fast. I swear our almost 5-year-old is almost 10 already.”
Husband of Bonnie; Dad to Lauren and Kaki
On being a Dudley Dude. “I became a believer in the Dudley Stephens idea when Bonnie predicted success—she has an almost-clairvoyant ability to identify trends. We then put our full support behind Lauren and Kaki as they took the reins. I believe the success of the business is attributable to their all-out commitment to whatever they take on.
“You hear a lot about family businesses and potential conflict; those that work seem to have an unspoken rule that disagreements won’t affect their relationships. To see Lauren and Kaki work so well together, understand their individual roles, and share in the success is especially rewarding to Bonnie and me. My role has been to simply be a cheerleader and occasional sounding board.”
On being a Dad. “I think we have always tried to be there for them, to provide support through unconditional love and not be overbearing. The decisions that have been made and the success they have realized belongs to them. My guiding principle has been to help set them up for success and get out of the way.”
Husband of Lauren; Dad to George and Elle
On being a Dudley Dude. “Our home was turned into an insane 21st century e-commerce factory for the first year or two, and I moonlight as an Instaphotographer from time to time (read: 100 percent of the time)—but the reality is, they’ve absolutely crushed it and haven’t needed all that much help.
“I knew I was lucky to meet and marry Lauren, but with this I’ve been completely blown away. The genesis of the brand came from a combination of our infertility (which we fortunately overcame) and Lauren’s and Kaki’s shared desire to build something new together. Watching it unfold truly makes you pause and count your lucky stars.”
On being a Dad. “These kids come into the world and—BAM!—you’re totally in love, totally responsible and totally at their mercy (good thing we both love cookies!). I don’t think of parenting as a challenge or a reward—I just think how lucky we are to have amazing children.”