Tiller’s founder, Kathleen Sheppard, sat down with Baskin Champion to continue our Female Founders/Creators spotlight. Baskin launched Basky in August of 2020 with the goal of creating affordable, versatile and trendy pieces to promote female empowerment and confidence.
Tiller: Tell us about yourself!
Baskin: I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama and absolutely loved it, had the best upbringing, had many siblings and I love Alabama. I actually went to school at Auburn University and I only did two years, but in those two years I was majoring in apparel design so I was learning about all design, how to sew and so many different things. Around that time, I had the opportunity to move to LA and start working as a model full time and obviously I took that opportunity. But fashion has always been something that I’ve been so passionate about -- I love it, so starting Basky has just been a dream come true -- it’s always been a dream of mine.
T: What sparked your interest in fashion and kind of going that route, even when you were in college?
B: You know, I think I was born loving fashion, there wasn’t a definite moment for me that was like “Oh, now I love fashion”. I never saw what I wanted to wear in Alabama, so I’d see a shirt then I’d change it up in my mind kind of saying “if only it looked like this then I would love it!", so when I was in school that’s what I wanted to do. With modeling I’ve had such an amazing opportunity to be on the other end where I’m wearing other people’s designs. I’ve always known that I also wanted to wear my own designs and bring those to life.
T: So going back to your modeling career, was that part of your life before college or did you kind of stumble into it while you were at school?
B: Yeah, I did sort of just stumble into it while I was at school and then like I said, I had the opportunity to move to LA full time so of course I took it, but it has been so amazing to get to do both sides of the industry.
T: I’m sure as a designer that’s the most eye opening part because now you know how things are supposed to fit, how everything is supposed to go behind the scenes, so now you’re kind like let me run the show a little bit on my end.
B: And it also gives me a newfound appreciation for those designers that I’ve worked for because when they get to see the designs on me as the model for the first time they are so excited and I’ve always understood it, but I’ve never been able to quite feel what that feels like. So now being able to feel that and have that connection with the designer that I’m working for, it feels so special.
T: When did you start Basky and what was the inspiration behind it at this time in your life?
B: I started Basky in August of 2020 and it has always been something that I wanted to do, but I’ve been working so much that I haven’t quite had the time. Due to COVID things slowed down and I was home a lot so I started looking more into it. So I just decided to go for it, it was the perfect time and here we are! I can’t believe it.
T: I think that’s the positive side of COVID - if there even could be a positive side - is that people are feeling cooped up and their creative juices started to flow and it gave a lot of people the opportunity to follow a path that they may not have thought that they were going to follow or that they didn’t have the time for before.
T: How have your previous experiences shaped the brand and what makes Basky so unique?
B: What’s most unique about the brand is that I’m both a model and a designer, as I said earlier. I just truly want the brand to empower women. Being a model and wearing so many different clothes, I’ve worn things that I don’t always feel comfortable in and I want women to feel empowered and beautiful in everything from Basky that they put on.
T: I absolutely love all of the pieces you’ve put out so far. Can you tell me a little bit about your aesthetic and style and how you were able to create those designs?
B: Being from Alabama and living in LA, I wanted to bring the two places together. I know the styles in both places are super different, so I wanted something I could wear in LA but also bring home to Alabama and wear there. I love things that are versatile, that you can wear dressed up or dressed down, just to be able to switch things up. I tried to make everything super trendy and cute but also modest, covering and comfortable so you can wear it anywhere. Sweatpants are my staple, so every shirt I have I at least have to be able to wear with a pair of sweatpants.
T: So talking about your journey and coming from a smaller town and moving to LA, what advice would you give to other young women who are aspiring to launch a company or maybe follow some other big dream that they have, no matter where they are coming from in the country.
B: That’s a great question. The advice that I’d give them is to just go for it. I’ve been so scared to start this for so long. It’s scary to have your name attached to something, it has held me back and I wish I had done this years ago. I’ve been out here for six years and so I could’ve done it so long ago. I do wish I had done it earlier. The worst that can happen is you have to start over and try again and that’s amazing, you know?
T: So I’ve noticed that you have drops here and there, what has been the structure been for how you’re launching products and what is the rationale behind that?
B: I’m trying to do drops every Wednesday, but some weeks I just get excited and then I do two drops. Sometimes we do not have a drop because I was honestly just overwhelmed and needed a week off to catch up and so I decided to just take it and let myself have that rest. But yeah, I try to do every Wednesday, that’s my goal. But if I get really excited I’ll just try to do two drops in a week.
T: I’d love to know what the future holds for Basky and what we can expect to see next?
B: My goal for Basky right now, we’re so new we’re two months old, so I’m just hoping to continue growing the brand and to get more customers, and loyal customers who want to come back and love to see what we are putting out. I’m really just focused on growing!
T: Thank you so much for taking the time! Where can everyone find you and Basky?