Kiko & Ollie want you to feel your best, wear-ever you are.
Our mission is to create convertible style and designs to compliment the many layers of our personalities and passions.
“Wear-ever you go... there you are.”
It was March of 2020. We each remember that month all too well. I had recently moved back to Michigan after living on the East Coast for six years; finding my footing in my Midwestern hometown wasn't easy after the hustle of New York and Boston, but the COVID-19 pandemic complicated matters further.
Although freelancing was slow and it was a challenge finding relevant, full-time work in Michigan, I refused to sit in quarantine and worry.
I had just spent the past three years working on myself in Boston after a shift of perspective in New York; tackling my own sobriety, mental health, and writing for various websites to share my story.
Many people thought I should keep my past in the past, but I knew I needed to share my experience not only for me to get better, but to give others hope, too.
December 11, 2016
Leaving NYC in July 2016 was a difficult period in my life, but my move to Boston was the beginning of a new spiritual journey- and building solid foundation within. From meetings to treatment programs, I slowly learned to be myself- no matter what others thought.
Back in October 2016, a few months after I left New York, a therapist at my treatment program suggested I write a positive affirmation on a post-it note each morning during my time in Southaven, Mississippi. Since I loved doing this, it later translated into canvases, journal entries, and blog posts.
Arlington, Massachusetts- May 2017
So, on April 4th, 2020, I took matters into my own hands, bought some paint, and began painting words on rocks, leaving them around town early in the morning before people (if anyone) were out and about for the day. I knew what helped me heal- artwork, words, and connection- so I hoped my little messages would lift someone's spirits, too.
From there, I serendipitously discovered the joy of mixing colors, repurposing old pieces of art, and designing prints for friends.
Ollie Orlando the cat by my side, my paintings quickly turned into tote bags, t-shirts, and home goods. I spent the summer riding my glitter-covered bike around town with a colorful mask, to-go mug, and matching clutch, gaining inspiration for new pieces and prints.
Putnam Valley, New York- a tote for my friend Molly Schrader
Although I was living in Northern Michigan, it was important for me to keep as much of a city mentality as I could- I continued to live car-free, active, and maintained a core versitle aesthetic.
Living a "less is more" mentality is crucial to my mental health and overall well-being, so as I created my collection, I imagined convertible, reversible styles to pair with any color palette. To me, being a girl on the go means a few things: she’s practical, efficient, and always prepared for whatever the day brings her way.
Wearing the Kate tote
As I reflected on people I love and the places that felt like home to me, I began painting designs to represent the inspirations behind my brand. Whether it's a retailer on Fifth Avenue or a design spotted at The Met, my work is highly influenced by my life in the city and being a girl on the go.
I believe everything we experience is a stop on our journey of life- whether it's a job, relationship, or interest, we are all multi-faceted creatures. Kiko & Ollie symbolize the many colors within ourselves, what we love, and where we wish to be.
I was able to return to NYC for a visit on 9/9/20, where I spent a day at The Met, went to the top of the Empire State Building on 9/11, and even spent time at The Sabrina, my first building in the city. It felt like the completion of an old chapter, making room for whatever was next.
Life always brings unexpected events- and despite my joy for my creating, I felt stuck in Michigan. Ollie was the one constant in my life, but his health began to take a turn in October.
After bouncing back to health, Ollie unexpectedly passed away the day after Thanksgiving, leaving a hole in my heart. I almost decided to pack up and move back to New York then and there, but when I came across a white and orange cat on Craigslist who needed a home, I knew I had to meet him.
On December 7th, 2020, I welcomed Kiko home- and two days later, I decided to show my appreciation to my "quaranteam;" the two felines who kept my heart filled with optimism and joy throughout this challenging year.
That Wednesday, I bought the domain kikoandollie.com, sketched out a logo, and smiled- at last, my creations had a name I absolutely adored- and it embodied what helped me heal, grow, and stay steady during the most difficult year the modern world has faced.
As I created in 2020, it was important to show my love for the city that made me truly feel at home, especially in the midst of a pandemic, in a world where I never quite "fit." My time in Michigan helped me confirm what I wanted out of life, and the pandemic brought to light more than simply health and social injustices:
My purpose finally seemed clear to me.
New York is never lacking creativity, individuality, or inspiration, and it became clear to me during the pandemic I needed to return- no matter what anyone had to say about my old patterns.
I knew myself and how much I had grown. Anyone one else was simply judging without seeing.
That was all I needed.
"In the darkness, be the light."
I finally landed in New York on February 23rd, 2021, with a fresh page and a new home in Brooklyn. Now officially based in NYC, Kiko and I are so excited to continue sharing our stories through art, photos, and words.
The Sabrina duffel
Since being back in New York, I've never felt more alive. With a clear mind and Kiko by my side, we bringing our dreams to life while shining light in the world around us- even on the gloomiest of days.