THE BLOG
01/20/2015 04:48 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Entrepreneur Series: Growing Up and Doing Business With... Kimberly Caccavo and Kate Nowlan of GRACEDBYGRIT

In the legging-filled coast of California, it's actually tough to find a pair that fits well. Enter Graced by Grit. Makers of what I call "the spanks of tights", their Everyday Leggings lift and shape the body, and are versatile enough to squeeze in a round of sun salutations before running off to do the errands. The ladies behind the apparel line, Kimberly Caccavo, 52, and Kate Nowlan, 35, have been only been in business for a year and revenue is forecast at $1.25 million in 2015. Available to buy online and in pop-up shops, GRACEDBYGRIT is about to open their first store in San Diego.

Enjoy the sixth installment of Growing Up and Doing Business With... Kimberly Caccavo and Kate Nowlan of GRACEDBYGRIT.

What kind of kids were you growing up?

KC: I was a tomboy who LOVED to read.
KN: I grew up in a big family and loved to be active so joined as many athletic teams as possible.

What did you want to be, professionally?

KC: I wanted to be an astronaut. I studied Chemical Engineering at Berkeley and worked at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories and Rockwell International on the Space Shuttle.
KN: I always wanted to be a business woman. I studied Sociology and Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst because I was fascinated with understanding people.

Who were/are the major influences in your life?

KC: My friend Subra Suresh and my husband Jim Caccavo.
KN: My immediate family--particularly my parents as they are the most motivated people I know.

Tell me about why you started the Graced by Grit brand.

KC and KN: The idea for GRACEDBYGRIT was conceived during a run. We talked about how our friends regularly complained about the lack of choice in high-performance, flattering workout gear, especially for running and water sports. We knew that with our combination of athletic expertise and business experience, we made a powerful team. So we put our heads together and designed clothing that made sense for land and/or sea. Next, we had to come up with a name. We thought about what it was that we had in common. We had each experienced a major life event that forced us to learn what we were truly made of.

Every woman has a gritty moment that could make or break her. It is how we make it through those moments that define us. It's realizing that grit is often what gives us grace.

What were the most challenging aspects of going into business?

KC: Balancing work, home, social life and spirituality.
KN: Finding the balance between it all and never getting enough sleep!

Who are your mentors? How have they helped you?

KC and KN: We have been lucky. Kimberly's husband Jim has invested in many clothing companies and has helped us with critical business decisions for the apparel industry. We are also fortunate to be surrounded by so many fantastic women that contribute to our everyday decisions.

What qualities do you most admire in people?

KC: Honesty, integrity and work ethic.
KN: A person that does what they say they will do.

What skill do you wish you possessed?

KC: The ability to sing.
KN: The ability to sleep for 8 hours straight.

What has been your greatest work achievement?

KC: Launching this company and doing 250k our first full year of selling.
KN: Launching GRACEDBYGRIT with Kimberly and surrounding ourselves with incredible smart, hard working women to grow the brand.

How do you find balance in your life?

KC: It is hard. I try to exercise every day, have family meals, pick the kids up from school, attend their games and performances. But, finding time for myself is hard. I often walk the dog listening to a book on audible so I can tune everything out.
KN: That is the constant struggle. Being a single mom I am constantly doing something --folding laundry, cooking dinner, driving my kids to/from their activities and school. When I drive the coast to work, I blast my music and take some deep breaths because I know that will my only time alone for the day. My favorite time alone is when I run but that doesn't happen often enough right now.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

KC: Yikes. I hope to be skiing and living in New York full time.
KN: Spending time with my family as much as possible while staying active and still sporting my GRACEDBYGRIT apparel. I'd like to run a marathon with one of my daughters.

Comment on:
Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram?

KC: My children's instagram
KN: Instagram. Quick and easy.

Book or Kindle/Tablet?

KC: Kindle for the iphone
KN: Kindle.

Favourite fictional character?

KC: Dagny Taggert
KN: Superwoman

Best decade? Why?

KC: This one. My kids, my husband and GRACEDBYGRIT.
KN: This one for sure -- family, kids, supportive boyfriend, fabulous friends, GRACEDBYGRIT and feeling confident about who I am.

Kale Chips or Potato Crisps?

KC: Potato chips
KN: Kale chips.

Snow or sea?
KC: Both. Okay, if I had to choose: sea.
KN: I love the mountains but I'm a water girl at heart.

Coffee or tea?

KC: Coffee
KN: COFFEE!

Mac or PC?

KC: Mac
KN: Mac

Where is home?

KC: Solana Beach, CA
KN: Cardiff, CA

What advice would you give to your younger self?

KC: Make good choices, trust your gut and always do the right thing.
KN: Take time to think before making decisions.

THANK YOU GRACEDBYGRIT!

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