Inspire


By Kayla Cote 21 Jul, 2017
The last couple of weeks have not only been exciting for Dak & Co, but the've been exciting for a multitude of reasons. The first one being that ast week we were able to team up with our friends at Shirts From Fargo to debut the Dak & Co apparel line at the Fargo Downtown Street Fair. It was an incredible experience to share live and in person. It was also felt great as an artist to share the story of how Dak & Co. got started. Bringing goodness to the community is what Dak & Co is all about, and there is no better way to do it than live and in person.Along with our apparel line, we also got to hang out with the crew at Grain Designs, who had a display of their original pieces, including our very first Dak design, a wall hanging crafted with reclaimed wood and a metal cutout of the design.

Collaborating with these awesome people has helped get the ball rolling with Dak & Co. I'll admit, it hasn't been an easy process bootstrapping the business. We had to think about everything from design, to business model, to sales, to production. The list of tasks seems endless. Like most start up businesses, it truly takes a team effort to effectively get through the process.
By Kayla Cote 07 Jul, 2017
Our apartment, two months ago when we signed our lease. We had no idea how beautiful this would become.
By Kayla Cote 23 Jun, 2017
Image by M.Schleif Photography
By Kayla Cote 16 Jun, 2017
photo by M. Schleif Photography
By Kayla Cote 08 Jun, 2017
(1) The future home of the Dak & Co store (2) A few of our current apparel pieces (3) Our original Dak the Bison wall hanging
By Kayla Cote 01 Jun, 2017
…pretty much sums up how I feel right now as Piet and I prepare for our Dak & Co apparel launch happening on June 9th. My mind has been in a fog, overwhelmed with the never-ending checklist that seems to be only growing as the number days is shrinking until the launch. It’s been an incredible journey so far, and will be fun how to see it grow and change, but as optimistic as I am, the fears and uncertainty of change is always in the back of my mind.

There are so many unanswered questions that I wish I knew the answers to but I don’t. Until only a few days ago, I was letting these thoughts and worries take over my mind. I finally reached a breaking point and told myself that I had, because it was becoming nothing but destructive to me. Now my focus is shifted from the “what if’s” to “why not’s.” Why not take a chance, and make a real effort to make this work. Think about it, if Steve Jobs let his uncertainty and difficulties overcome him, and he didn’t create apple, life as we know it would look much differently.
By Kayla Cote 24 May, 2017
Piet and I recently has been collaborating with local businesses to help bring some creative ideas into reality. And We've found there are so many incredible benefits to doing as much local business as possible.

First of all, it connects you with your community on a whole new level and opens your eyes to the world of the incredible people behind the storefronts and studios. Shopping local also helps keep the community thriving and helps plant and grow even more businesses. ( And who doesn’t like to see a unique, beautiful community filled with vibrant shops and boutiques? I know I do! ) Thirdly, local collaborations can be inspiring and bring new ideas to life, which has definitely been the case with the Dak & Co showroom.

It's In The Name

Dak & Co is short for Dak & Collaboratives, and how we got started was with a creative collaboration with local makers,  Grain Designs on a bison artwork design called Dak the Bison. Since then, the Dak & Co mission is to create opportunities to work with local businesses to bring ideas to life.

As a creative business, we've found value in working closely with others. Collaborating seeds new ideas and inspiration with people who we may have never met if it hadn't been for creating collaborative opportunities. The biggest takeaway from us (so far) is that I’ve been able to find everything I need through local businesses. These businesses have been more than excited to jump on board.
By Kayla Cote 17 May, 2017
Right away when Piet and I decided to move into our new showroom, my mind started spinning with decor ideas. We decided to go with a color palette which reminded us of my husband’s homeland of South Africa. Deep sea teals, sandy browns, sunset oranges, floral blush and grassy greens will be used to evoke the feelings of the beautiful country. Rich textures, metallics and vintage glassware would emphasize the colors in an elegant way.

Ever since I was a kid, I was mesmerized by vintage glassware, and have many memories of exploring my Mom’s collection. The pieces reminded me of beautiful gemstones and crystals which were found in caves and buried treasures. And to this day, I still have the same warm feelings towards vintage glassware. I light up when I find a piece, especially Carnival Glass, at a yard sale or vintage store. Right away the memories of Mom’s collection on the farm rush into my mind.
By Kayla Cote 11 May, 2017
It’s January in my senior year of high school, and I’m thinking of what most teenage girls are thinking of, their prom dress. I hit the sketchpad, drawing design after design, trying to come up with something I wanted to wear, since my mom and I planned on making my dress that year. Despite our efforts, a harsh illness stopped us from completing the design.

All ended up well, and everyone came through ok. I went to prom and wore a beautiful gown I had purchased from a local shop. But I still held onto the dream of creating a gown for myself.

Who would have thought we would ever have that opportunity again, but serendipitously, we did, and in a way we would never expect.

Fast forward a few years later, when I hear about an adult prom happening right here in Fargo. Then it dawned on me, I need to make my dress. The timing was great, since I was already designing for an upcoming showcase. I presented the idea to my mom, and she was more than excited to be a part of it. We spent the next month and a half designing the gown. We ran into difficulties since we live 4 hours apart, but were able to get the gown finished in time.
By Kayla Cote 04 May, 2017

As all new business owners know, launching your first business is simultaneously thrilling and terrifying. It is that thrill of conquering challenges and bringing innovative design concepts to reality which keeps me going. My first business, Cote Creative , is a design business which focuses on bringing together the worlds of graphic design and art. And I cannot think of a better  place to continue such a journey than in the community of Fargo, North Dakota. The community rallied behind me, support my business, my design and my dream. 

That deep-rooted appreciation sparked another leap.  At the beginning of 2017, I launched one of the biggest and most challenging projects yet tin my career as a designer. And at the time, I didn't even know it. It all started with this inkling of an idea, a desire to express my appreciation for Fargo in art form. I spent some time conceptualizing the idea in my sketchbook for a unique take on something familiar. All the classic icons of Fargo came to mind, and I eventually settled on incorporating the Bison; both a nod to the Dakota's prairie wilderness, and an iconic symbol of a football team's fame. 

When design after design didn't work, I finally took to the framework of the Bison, and designed the word "Fargo" to fill the space. And boom. When I saw it, I got this feeling -- that gut feeling when you know you've hit something on the mark. I spent the next couple of weeks further refining and defining the design.

The bison design, christened "Dak" by a Facebook name contests, now needed a way to come to life. It was a steel-wood sign for local startup Tellwell that brought the Grain Designs team to mind. 

Grain  Designs is a local company that specializes in reclaimed wood furniture, home goods and art. Grant Koenig of the Grain Designs team said they have been recently looking to collaborate with local artists. 

"This community has so much talent," Koenig said. "The more we can help get that out, the better."

When I approached them with the Dak the Bison design, they saw it as the perfect ode to Fargo. The challenge, then, was turning a 2-D design into a 3-D composition. I had to think of how to keep the look of the original design incorporated into a 3-D structure. With good teamwork, the piece eventually came together. 

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Wife, stylist, designer, lover of cats, wine and all-things art, believer. Experience life to the fullest and with 
a joyful heart.


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