The boutiques stock high quality brands such as Panache, Cleo, Curvy Kate, Miss Mandalay, Ellenny Swim, Cake Maternity, Hotmilk, and Cyberjammies. The collections have been carefully selected to offer every woman the style she likes in the perfect fit, whether she is looking for every day, special occasion, maternity, sports or swim wear.
TKD’s specialist staff provide a complimentary bra fitting service to all customers, ensuring they get both the right size and the best bra shape to support, enhance and flatter their figure.
L’Officiel Arabia meets Kate Kikano, Managing Director at TKD Lingerie.
L’Officiel Arabia: How did it all begin?
Kate Kikano: It was back in 2010 when the idea for TKD Lingerie first took shape. Having never been able to find my favorite designers nor my size in Dubai, I’d always bought my bras and swimwear on my annual trip back ‘home’ to the UK. However, that November I was due to have my first baby and was in desperate need of bigger bras. So heavily pregnant, hormonal and with ankles the size of an elephant’s I hit the malls. If I thought I’d found it tough as a 32E to buy bras, as a 38H I literally was in the desert. At the end of an exhausting day I’d been poked, prodded, laughed at and even looked up and down and informed quite haughtily “we have nothing to fit YOUR size, Madam”. At the fifth mall I gave up and went home in tears – to be fair that was more likely the hormones than the fault of the unsuspecting sales assistant! So, I ended the day quite despondent, then I got mad. Why, when there are over 150 different bra sizes did many stores only stock 25? Surely, I wasn’t the only “big boobed” lady in this town? I started talking bras to practically every woman I met and quickly realized it wasn’t just me having such a negative experience. As a result of all these conversations the core values of TKD Lingerie were formed.
L’O: You are a mom and a businesswoman. What was the hardest thing about founding your business? And have you ever found it harder to achieve your goals as a woman?
KK: The hardest thing was lack of sleep. I started TKD Lingerie at the same as starting my family. Young children and a fledgling business both demand a lot of time and energy. I had to learn how to manage my time well and set achievable goals. As the kids have got older I now have more time to focus and grow the business and I have a larger team to support me in this. I’ve never felt disadvantaged as a woman doing business in the Middle East; in fact, quite the opposite, the support and encouragement I have received over the years has been tremendous.
L’O: What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
KK: Surround yourself with the right people. As a small team, we’ve seen the impact of not always having the right people on board. We have put in place a great recruiting system to ensure our team share the values that we live by and they all pass the “rocket ship” test. Basically, it takes 7 months to get to Mars, who would want on your crew? Is there anyone in your organization that you wouldn’t want on that 7 month journey?
L’O: What’s is the motto you live by professionally?
KK: Never ask anything of anyone that you would not do yourself; and be kind. Kindness is definitely the new cool!
L’O: Who are your biggest supporters privately and professionally?
KK: My family; they put up with me living and breathing TKD! My retail manager or “work wife” Bridgit; she is a breath of fresh air and makes it a pleasure to come to work every day. I also have some great friends that are fellow business owners and we often brain storm and problem solve together.
L’O: What are the biggest challenges of owning the small business?
KK: We have pretty much the same challenges as multinationals, but with much, much fewer resources. You have to be prepared to wear many hats, get creative and put the hours in.
L’O: TKD is orientated to…?
KK: At TKD Lingerie we are all about providing a stylish choice of underwear and swimwear for women that are D cup and above. We stock over 120 bra sizes and cater for UK dress sizes 6-26. From everyday essentials, strapless, maternity & nursing bras, sports, fashion, bra-sized swimwear or a little something something special, we work hard to include every style you may need in your lingerie wardrobe. And if you can’t find it…just ask. We will go the extra mile to source what you are looking for.
L’O: What do we need to do to find the perfect bra?
KK: Our amazing team of bra fitters can help guide you to the right size and style, through our virtual fitting service (WhatsApp +971 555 115 996) or in person in our Town Centre Jumeirah boutique. Across Dubai we also offer a concierge service where a member of our team will visit you with ah selection of lingerie and swimwear so you can get the TKD experience from the comfort of your own home. All our collections, plus a comprehensive bra fitting guide can be found at www.TKDLingerie.com
L’O: What’s your dream vacation?
KK: I would love to return to The One and Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives. Possibly THE MOST relaxing and picture perfect vacation I have ever had. We cycled across the island to a different restaurant each evening and the caliber of the cuisine was out of this world.
L’O: Favorite book?
KK: Oh, that’s a tough one! I am a voracious reader. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an incredible author. Her novel “Americanah” is a really engaging story of immigration to the US and very relevant in these current times.
L’O: What advice would you give to those who would like to follow in your footsteps?
KK: Owning your own business is a rollercoaster ride, so make sure you’re ready for the highs and the lows. Do your research, reach out for advice – you will be amazed at how generous people are here with their time and experience. Female Fusion facebook group is one example of a wonderful network here in the UAE. Put a solid business plan in place, be clear what your values are and what unique offering you are bring to the table. Then work hard and don’t be afraid of failure.
WhatsApp Bra Fitting Line: +971 555 115 996
* This interview by Tanja Beljanski first appeared in the July 2020 issue of L'Officiel Arabia.