Our co-founder, Bonnie Dudley (AKA BonDud), raised daughters Lauren and Kaki—then together, they raised Dudley Stephens from an idea to a community of devotees. In honor of Mother’s Day, we asked Bonnie to share her perspective on bringing up a brand alongside her girls.
What’s the best part of launching and growing DS with your daughters?
I always knew they were bright and capable, but to see them passionately involved in moving the business forward has been inspiring. Every day, I get to see the fruits of our labor as parents—it’s so rewarding to think we did something right!
You raised two driven, confident, independent women. What’s your secret?
I’m not sure there was a particular formula, but I treated them with high expectations from the beginning. They have a wonderful Dad, a great provider who was present with us when he wasn’t traveling for work. So I felt, “to whom much is given, much is expected.” I wouldn’t let them take things for granted. In my mind, gratitude is everything.
What was the most surprising aspect of being a mom?
How hard it is! No one tells you that. They tell you that you can do everything so go ahead, have some kids. But it just doesn't work that way. No one tells you how much you’ll love them, that your kids then become your everything.
You have an incredible eye for style, and aligning DS designs with of-the-moment trends. Where do you get your inspiration?
I’m passionate about current events; I love people and watching what goes on in the world—pop culture, politics, fashion, wellness. I love having a finger on the pulse of what’s new. For me, it almost feels like protection for my family to watch what’s coming and prepare. I also think there’s a cycle to fashion, a definitive “Wheel of Retailing” that keeps changing—and I love to follow along.
Last question: How do you Dudley?
This is my perfect Dudley day. Last week, we took a two-hour car ride to a Florida resort with friends. I wore a long DS Jersey dress for the car ride, because I knew it would be comfortable, wouldn’t wrinkle and was Navy to hide any car coffee spills (they happen). I took my favorite beach hat with me. We had lunch at the Beach Club, then went out for a beautiful on-boat dinner. After that, we had coffee and dessert at the inn’s restaurant. I wore the dress all day! Not sure anything else could have gone the distance.