Just an idea in the summer of 2016 and a year later, Dao Fitness is officially launched. Founder of this female athleisure brand that sells both active wear and lounge wear, with the aim of bringing African prints to fitness, Dominique Dao answered some of our questions.
Tell us about Dao Fitness and how it all started
Dao Fitness is a female athleisure brand that sells both active wear and lounge wear with the aim of bringing African prints to fitness and thus, revolutionizing African prints by making it a lifestyle and not just a statement piece. We incorporate Kente prints in a contemporary and subtle way.
Dao Fitness was founded by medical student, Dominique Dao after the idea was brought to her by her sister Paule-Carine Dao, founder of Dao London, a lifestyle fashion brand that also incorporates African prints. She brought the idea to Dominique because of her passion for fitness as she workouts on average 4-5 times a week.
There are a lot of fashion brands that use African prints as their main selling points, however none have thought to bring this to health and fitness. It was just an idea in the summer of 2016 and a year and a few months later, in November of 2017, Dao Fitness was official launched. Dao Fitness is a branch of Dao London.
What do you offer your customers, and where do they find you ?
As a start-up, Dao Fitness first collection is called Kente. The Monochrome Collection. We have managed to come up with a small but versatile collection that includes two different stylish kente sports bra’s, a pair of kente workout leggings, a pair of kente workout shorts, a kente hoodie, a pair of Dao Fitness monochrome Kente sandal slides, a kente leather cap, kente raceback vest top and a protein shaker bottle. Customers can find us on our website daofitness.co.uk, and soon on the marketplace Gova Boutique.
Where are your customers located and what products do they like the most ?
Most of customers are located in the UK. Our most popular product is the monochrome kente side panel leggings.
Who/what influences you, and how does this contribute to pushing your brand forward ?
In terms of influencers, I wouldn’t say there is any particular person that influences me, however after reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso, I was inspired and decided to dip and dab into business with something I am passionate about.
What are your future projects, more specifically those related to Africa ?
As we expand both our businesses our plans are to go back to our roots, Ivory Coast/Ghana to step up our own factories, and work directly with local business to print our kente, ankara, wax or batik prints. Our long-term plan is to open our first flagship store for both Dao Fitness and Dao London called just DAO. However, our dream is to start a charity foundation focusing on mental health for the Black community both here in the UK and back in Africa. We just want to increase awareness about mental health in the black community, and help those who suffer reintegrate back into their community. Alongside that, we want increase employability in Africa with our very own manufactures and first flagship store.
Founder of Dao Fitness