Why I started DTL!

I can't begin to explain the feeling of writing this email to you. When I first started DTL I didn't know if it was just a silly passion project of mine at the age of 20, or if it was genuinely going to turn into something bigger than just myself. Now at the age of 25, I can proudly say that DTL is now a team of women and over 6,000 community members who all wear DTL. 

This doesn't come easy to write, I must admit. A lot of raw and vulnerable feelings here and I never have quite opened up like this before.

I started DTL with honestly one thing in mind. Community. Now this may seem a little sad but it's just the truth. Growing up I didn't have any female guidance, no close group of girlfriends, nothing. It was just my Dad and I. I always wanted a group of girlfriends or guidance but for me, it didn't come so easily. So I set out to create a community around loving yourself and being a part of something that would always include you. For me, the meaning of 'inclusivity' isn't purely about size, it's about feeling like you belong and will always be welcomed. 

Just to set the record straight, I had absolutely no idea what, how or where to start. I was a dream-filled 20-year-old with $10k savings after working 3-4 jobs at any one time living in a 1-bedroom apartment.

I just started researching and eventually bought my own second-hand sewing machine and rolls of fabric from Spotlight. 

I made my own samples and drew my own designs (which were terrible by the way - we've come a long way!). I then went searching for a manufacturer, found one and started sampling. I was so so so bloody picky and I know for a fact my manufacturer hated working with me because I was so bloody detailed. Traditionally it takes 4-6 weeks for sampling. It took me 18 months for the original 'Booty Sculpt Legging' and the 'Support & Compress Sports Bra'. To be fair though I was a first-time designer with no experience and these manufacturers were working with big brands ordering A LOT more than myself. I was lucky they even took me seriously. 

But I finally received our stock and I launched my first-ever collection in January of 2020. I packed my little Ford Fiesta car and went to every Gold Coast market and pop-up shop in a mall that I could afford to rent in pretty much every weekend. March of 2020 hit and I had sold out of sizes before I could arrange another restock, Covid was announced and my manufacturer closed for 6 months.  

Our Reality Now

After Covid, I finally got my hands on our-then newest collection. In 2021 in September I relaunched after having next to nothing for over a year. We suddenly were being noticed. We had magazines, media, articles started writing about us and everything started going so so so well. We had the chance to work with some incredible people in the media and again..... we sold out. I hadn't worked out how to manage stock and inventory at that point. 

At the start of 2022, I decided to go 'all in' on new designs and started to be innovative with new pieces. I wanted to design a high-impact sports bra for women sizes XS to 4XCurve. 

It took me 18 months again to design this bra. Finally launched it in May of this year (2023) and it has gone insane. We moved out of my garage and into Danica's bedroom (I'll need to introduce you to Danica. She is my right-hand woman) to then move into our first-ever warehouse. Where we are now!

Things have been growing so fast - hence the 'sold out' sign across multiple pieces. Luckily I have been so blessed that I can now employ my dad, who by the way is so incredibly pedantic and OCD (wonder where I got it from) and now he manages inventory and stock so I can focus on the designs and create pieces and collections our community have come to love. 

 It's important to me, for you to know that you being here, being a part of DTL means more than I think you may know. I was just a 20-year-old with a dream. Now at 25 going on 26, it's a reality. I am incredibly grateful and I hope you can feel the love and the care that goes into every piece you collect throughout the years. 

With all my love, 

Rhi x


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