Kristina Pittam isn’t just your typical fashion blogger with over 20,000 Instagram followers — she’s a girl boss. Inspired by an entrepreneurship class she took while she was in university, Pittam launched La Reyna in 2018, a company that sells bodysuits.
After graduating from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2017 for communications, Pittam worked as a freelancer overseeing social media for her clients. However, she couldn’t deny she had caught the entrepreneurial bug. She was hesitant to pursue her dream of having own business but eventually decided to sacrifice other opportunities to focus on starting and building her business. In this exclusive interview, Pittam discusses the hardships of running a business and about her ever-changing style.
You said you were inspired by an entrepreneurship class in university, how was your experience taking that class?
KP: My friend told me to take the class. You were supposed to apply any business idea you may have so I thought I would do a clothing line for sure. However, not having a design background and trying to create a clothing line can be a little overwhelming. At the time I had an Instagram following of about 7,000 and I knew I could convert all my followers to potential customers. The whole course was about creating a business model and testing it out. It was essentially testing your market to see if people actually wanted the product.
Do you think if you hadn’t attended university or had taken that course you would have never started La Reyna?
KP: I think I’ve always inherently had an entrepreneurial spirit. My dad is an entrepreneur himself and watching him grow up definitely had an impact on me. I’d also credit my interest in entrepreneurship to a friend of mine who is very business savvy and self-motivated, he definitely influenced me to pursue the course as well as take action to become a self-driven individual myself.
What are some of the difficulties you faced while building your business?
KP: Figuring out how to start is the hardest part. Finding people that can help guide you and mentor you through the process is key. I didn’t have a specific mentor but I would always ask questions. Obviously I don’t know every single thing about running a business so I’m actively trying to interview people, or talk to people who are in the industry — whether they are designers or are knowledgable about business and building a brand.
Just talking to key people and getting advice is super important and helpful. Personally I didn’t know anything about creating a brand or a clothing line, so I had to find where to find a seamstress, where to find a pattern maker, etc. Obviously it didn’t necessarily work out the first time, so I had to find another one and it’s just learning how to find the perfect fit for the fabric that I want and where to source the fabric. It’s all been a huge learning experience for me, and it’s definitely been a process.
KP: I had a personal struggle with finding bodysuits that were cute and didn’t need to wear a bra with. A lot of the bodysuits that I found on the market were cute or sexy, but didn’t really support you due to the low-back styles. Sometimes the material is thin so even if I wanted to wear it without a bra, it would show through the material. The fabric wouldn’t compress or hold anything up.
So taking that all into consideration is how I came up with the idea for my first design. It’s super simple. It has a cup element built into it — there’s no underwire, but it’s created with the seams and the way the fabric is laid out. It’s also lined with two layers, so you don’t have to worry about any coverage. The fabric kind of moulds to your body. It cushions you up for support and holds you in. That’s personally something I never found before with other bodysuits, which is why I really thought I had something.
What are your future plans for La Reyna?
KP: My projection for the brand is to launch luxury bodysuits that are definitely more one-off pieces, which stems from my personal style and growing up with that European-Spanish background. Going to Spain, my mom and I would always come back with really unique pieces and everyone would be like, “OMG where’d you get that?” I think the notion of having something unique is what stuck with me.
How would you style a bodysuit?
KP: I launched my core collection, which includes the simple everyday bodysuit that you can wear all day, or you can wear it at night. You can wear it to work with a blazer, or you could wear it on a night out with a denim skirt or with leather pants. So it’s the versatility in the collection that I think will resonate with a larger group of people with all different types of styles. That’s why I wanted to launch my core collection first.
How would you describe your personal style?
I really like experimenting with new trends. I like to wear certain basics that go through rotation in my daily outfits. Currently, I love an oversized blazer look with a pair of light washed blue denim, paired with pointed toe booties, with either a white tee or a black bodysuit. Right now neon has made a comeback and I would love to experiment with that. I’m definitely not afraid to express myself with what I wear because it is such a big part of my personal brand. My style is a mixture of edgy, chic, and constant experimentation.
You talk about how starting a business was a learning process. You didn’t know how to start a clothing brand but you still did it. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who have hesitations about starting their own business?
KP: I think the best advice that I’ve been given is to just start. You’ll figure it out if you’re driven and passionate enough about what you want to do. What really separates entrepreneurs from people who have an idea for a business is taking action. So as long as you start, you can always learn to figure out the next steps as well as seek advice from mentors and professionals to help you along the way.
Here’s how Kristina styles some of her bodysuits:
Photos By @sophiesahara
Photo credits: Sophie Sahara