January 31, 2017, at 6 AM, in Solana Beach, CA, Kimberly Caccavo began the day with her usual morning stroll along the beach, with breathtaking views worthy of a San Diego postcard. Accompanying her are her dog Buddy, her GRACEDBYGRIT Chelsea Leggings, and me! Yes, that’s right, “ME.” This bewitching hour was the best time of the day for Kimberly to speak with me.
She is a very busy woman. As CEO and Co-Founder of socially conscious and beautifully designed wellness clothing brand, GRACEDBYGRIT, there are many demands on her time. Balancing personal time, family time and a thriving business doesn’t leave room for much else- hence why I happily obliged the 6 AM interview.
Kimberly is a Montana, NV native, who moved around a bit before settling in picturesque Solana Beach, CA. Before moving to California, she lived in New York City with her family but her husband’s career suggested it was time to pack up and head west. And, thank goodness for the shift, because it was in California that Kimberly met her now business partner, Kate Nowlan.
Seven years ago, former run and swim coach Kate was tasked with the job of helping Kimberly train for a triathlon that was only 3 weeks away. The triathlon was in honor of teenage jogger, Chelsea King, who was raped and brutally murdered by a known sex offender. Her attacker had admitted to committing a similar act of violence, in the same park, just one-year prior.
During their workouts, Kimberly noticed that the clothes she bought to train in were nice, but weren’t extremely flattering. It was then that the two began to explore conversations about developing a line of athletic wear that was flattering, functional, safe and that could stand the test of time. So, in 2013, GRACEDBYGRIT was launched. The company grew rapidly, selling product by the 4th quarter of the same year through trunk shows.
This brand is quite dynamic. The undeniably soft and decadent fabrics used are sourced from Italy, but the clothes are designed and made in San Diego, not far from the ‘former’ Sans Diego Chargers stadium. It is a quaint operation that employs about 20 women from all over the world. GRACEDBYGRIT is committed to empowering women and is dedicated to supporting two very special social organizations: Chelsea’s Light Foundation and Beth Steele – Badass.
Beth Steele is a GRACEDBYGRIT Influencer from Ohio, a badass mom, and a breast cancer survivor. She discovered a lump in her breast after attending a Patriots game that promoted breast cancer awareness. After her diagnosis, she began to collaborate on blog posts with GRACEDBYGRIT to share the story of her journey from awareness to survival. Inspired by her courage, GRACEDBYGRIT continues to support Beth each October by donating 20% of all pink purchases, both online and in-store, in support of her participation in the Susan B. Komen breast cancer awareness walk.
Chelsea’s Light Foundation is dear to Kimberly and Kate. Chelsea King’s murder could have been prevented, had there been stricter laws against sex offenders in the state of California and had she been running with a whistle, or pants able to hold her cell phone. GRACEDBYGRIT has launched the Chelsea Collection in honor of Chelsea. Thus far, the collection includes the Chelsea Legging and the Chelsea Headband. Chelsea was passionate about sustainability and recycling. Both items in the collection are made from recycled water bottles. The leggings are designed to compress all your “lumps and bumps,” making for an extremely flattering fit. Lastly, each GRACEDBYGRIT product sold comes with a whistle to keep women safe while they’re out doing what they love. Each garment has an easy to reach hook for the whistle to stay put while exercising. In the event that a woman’s safety is in jeopardy, they can use the whistle to call for help.
In our interview, I said to Kimberly, “athleisure is a term that is being used often, as it relates to workout clothes. How would you categorize GRACEDBYGRIT?” She shared a story about a time she and her husband made plans for a night out on the town. She was away from the house and asked him to bring her a dress from home. When they met, Kimberly realized her husband forgot her dress (surprise, surprise!) Luckily, she was wearing her GRACEDBYGRIT and had a pair of cute shoes in the car. When she changed out of her tennis shoes and into these cute flats, her workout apparel became functional enough for a night out. She said, “our clothes are designed to go from working out to any other activity. They are great layering pieces for day to night.”