Boss Bitch Spotlight: Okko
Okko is a women-run brand based around intimates and making women feel confident in what they’re wearing underneath as well as overtop. They’re comfortable, price-friendly and the brand as a whole is environmentally conscious whenever they can be! I was gifted the brown and pink sets of their bra and undies and have been living in them for a few weeks now and can say, fearlessly and authenticity, that they are my favourite undergarments I’ve ever put on my body. I would recommend Okko to anybody. With that being said, I got a chance to interview Leigha and Phoebe from Okko about their brand, themselves and their hopes and dreams. Meet the women behind Okko:
What inspires you?
Leigha: Being around all the people that I'm fortunate enough to come across in my career and life who are out doing incredible things motivates me to do the same – or at least give my best effort to try for that.
Phoebe: Giving back to the people who have helped me along the way. I wouldn’t be where I am today, if it weren’t for the selfless support and guidance from my parents, friends, colleagues, and the like.
What’s your sign and how do you think that plays a part in your life?
Leigha: Gemini – but I candidly don’t pay much attention to astrology 😉
Phoebe: Leo (rawr)
What is the main purpose of your account/brand?
We want to help women feel as incredible as they look.
The reality that women ever have to waste time searching for the “right” underwear is a totally absurd fact of life- so we want to change that.
The issue is that most intimates brands treat this category like any other segment of the women’s fashion apparel industry, with seasonal colors, styles, and materials. This can make it difficult and/or expensive for women to consistently find the seamless basics that they crave for all-day comfort and all-outfit-and-activity versatility. We want to be your “best friend” staples every time you get dressed – open your drawer and put on Okko and know you are ready to take on the day, every day.
What is something you love deeply about yourself?
Leigha: (same answer as best thing about me)
Phoebe: I really try to be a reliable, compassionate friend. I’m an only child raised by a single father who had to work a lot when I was growing up. So, my friends ended up filling roles that siblings normally would have played in my life. We played together, did our homework together, and got into the occasional tiffs. Even as an adult, my friends continue to have the same amount of importance in my life, and I want to be there for them, no matter what. They’re like family – but better in some ways!
What’s some advice you have for girls revolving around confidence?
Leigha: (same answer as what makes me feel confident)
Plus no one ever goes on Instagram and then says “thank god I just saw what was happening on social media, I feel so much better about myself”. Literally never. Even when every part of our brain intellectually knows that a lot (most) of what is presented there is not reality, it still doesn’t help the emotional parts of our brains to see images of people with a “better” life. But at the same time, it can be unrealistic to try and avoid it altogether. So as a very practical manner, try putting your phone charger in your bedroom away from your bed – just cutting out social media from being the first thing you see in your waking moments or the last thing you look at before falling asleep at night can immensely decrease how much it can impact your own self-confidence.
Phoebe: Completely agreed with Leigha’s points. One thing that I would add is that being different is a beautiful thing. It’s sometimes hard to feel confident when you don’t conform to a certain body type, like to do certain things, or wear clothes that are “in style.” What I wish I knew when I was younger was uniqueness is totally ok! Lean into what makes you happy, and confidence will emanate from that happiness.
What makes you feel confident?
Leigha: First, I surround myself with friends that I trust to give me tough feedback. It sounds counterintuitive, but knowing where I could do better and taking an active role in working towards that makes me feel much more confident than just having to guess on my own. It also means that I know a compliment from them is truly genuine 😊
Second, “if you’re feeling helpless, help someone.” Basically every religion has some dogma to this effect, and there’s plenty of evidence in psychology research to back this up. This doesn’t mean you need to give up your career and personal life to volunteer in an underdeveloped country (although all the more power to you if you do!); rather, even small, seemingly mundane forms of help can serve as an incredible reminder of your ability to positively impact someone else’s day -- just don’t be helpful for the sake of outside praise, or get too self-congratulatory!
Lastly, and this is far more tactical, is my mindset towards fitness. I used to workout with the goal of looking fit; the workout endorphins were just a potential side benefit. However over the past couple years, I’ve switched these priorities (I’d be a liar if I said I rid myself of the vanity benefits completely) -- this makes me less backwards looking self-critical for not working out as often or as hard as I “should”, less frustrated for not getting the results I want, and more productive in getting myself to a class and thankful for any workout I can fit in!
What have you had to overcome that’s made you who you are?
Phoebe: I mentioned earlier that I was raised by a single father. He is the most caring, selfless, cool dude I know. However, we had a really small family of two without a maternal figure I could model myself after. I had to teach myself a lot about becoming a woman: how to style my hair, when to start wearing a bra, figuring out this monthly thing called a period, and dealing with boys. I sometimes had the wrong role models, such as older girls who I viewed as cool and popular, but they weren’t the best people to look up to and I developed some bad habits. Over time, I ended up figuring it all out – thanks to my friends and their mothers. Today, these experiences taught me to not be afraid to ask questions when I don’t know how to do something and taking ownership of my future. Fingers crossed that these traits will translate to being a successful entrepreneur!
What’s your beauty/fashion go to?
Leigha: My veja sneakers, because I can dress them up or down and know that I’ll be comfortable enough to get around all day long. OUAI Rose Hair & Body oil -- I love that it serves double duty for my insanely dry hair & skin, plus smells incredible (but very subtle).
Phoebe: A pair of Levi’s high-rise jeans that I purchased from Amazon for $40 a few years ago. They are perfectly high waisted, aren’t too tight, and have a sweet retro look. I also really love dresses from Reformation, which are effortless, feminine without being girly, and sustainable.
What would you say is the best thing about you?
Leigha: I love to make people laugh, especially at my own expense. By humanizing myself I think it gives me an ability to be put in a room with practically anyone and have an enjoyable conversation (… at least I like to think so 😉 ).
Phoebe: Wow, I couldn’t agree more with Leigha about her best trait! For me, I love to bring together from different parts of my life. I know some really awesome, kick ass individuals who (I think) should know each other! I never want to be that person who intentionally excludes some people from the party, but not others. That’s mean.
Also, I've had a few people mention that I have nice hands and should consider becoming a hand model...Back up plan?
What does feminism mean to you?
Leigha: First and foremost, being a “feminist” by definition means a belief in and advocacy for women to have equal rights and opportunities as men. Keyword “equal”. For this reason, I really don’t like phrases like “the future is female”, or anything that indicates that women are categorically “better” than men. It's hypocritical, and just isn’t true – there are things every human is better at and worse at than other humans, and making blanket statements like these can alienate the men that we need on our side.
This mentality can negatively impact policy too; for example, we don’t just need just longer maternity leave, as this propagates the idea that it is the woman’s job by default to handle more of the child-rearing. Instead we need longer/equal paternity leave as well.
Second, for me feminism means supporting other women in whatever way they want to express themselves, both aesthetically and behaviorally. Yes women should have the freedom to not wear heels in an office or to be more emotive than male colleagues and still be respected; but they should also have the freedom TO wear stilettos and a tight dress and makeup and not be called anti-feminist, or to act more “aggressively”/unemotionally “like a guy” without being called a bitch 😉 Only by working together in a unified manner in collaboration with men, rather than infighting about whose form of “feminism” is right or wrong, and/or making it a battle of the sexes against each other, will we be able to see progress.