kai conversations with…..robin dienhard of angel montecito, kai’s first-ever retail partner

we couldn’t be more thrilled to share this week’s kai conversations with robin dienhard of angel montecito, kai’s longest standing retail partner who first began carrying kai 23 years ago!  angel is a luxury women's clothing & accessory boutique that is a part of the wendy foster & pierre lafond family of companies.  they have been an amazing retail partner to kai all of these years, and we are wholeheartedly grateful for their support.

our ceo & founder, gaye, recalls a beautiful memory from this very special moment when angel first decided to partner with kai and carry the signature perfume oil: 

“when i still had my store in malibu, i was developing kai - the perfume oil was our first product. in the summer of 2000, i went to a trade show in new york and met the buyer for angel, who was so sweet. i loved this boutique in montecito and thought it would be perfect for kai. i asked her to give the perfume oil a shot. i was so excited to get my first order i drove that case of perfume oil to santa barbara myself! years later we took the train to santa barbara for a day trip. i stopped into angel to do some secret shopping and the whole wall behind the counter was filled with kai. i was so proud to have this perfectly curated store represent my line for so long. as the girl behind the counter was ringing me up, she looked down at my credit card, looked at the wall behind her, turned back to me and asked, “are you gaye from kai?” it was such a special moment. angel holds a lot of good memories for me.

robin with her immediate family 

how are you taking care of yourself and your business during this time? are there certain
things that are proving to be sources of motivation/inspiration?  if so, please feel free to

i keep a healthy work/life balance. it’s taken me many, many years, but i don’t allow the stresses or pressures of business to have control over my day. i am content in my career at the moment and try not to get wrapped up in what the future may hold.

how did you start your career? and how did you end up with your current role?
i have wanted to be a buyer for as long as i can remember... as a little girl, i admired my aunt who bought for a wendy foster boutique. i desperately wanted to emulate her style. when i was 20 years old, i started working at a wendy foster store full time. one of the other buyers, who is now a dear friend, took me under her wing and taught me all i needed to know. she gave wendy and pierre the confidence that i could do the job! i’ve been the buyer for angel for 15 years now.
robin and her extended family including wendy foster and the late pierre

can you please share a few sentences about your retail business and what makes your
platform unique and special to your community?
angel has been on coast village road for 35 years; i’d say it's a cornerstone in montecito. angel holds many dear memories for our community, especially through recent challenging years. it’s an escape and a place for a bit of self-care - even if it’s just 5 minutes browsing. whether it was purchasing your first juicy sweatsuit (remember those days!?), finding the perfect outfit to dress your baby bump, or visiting us on your annual summer trip to santa barbara... there are many little moments like this through the years that we feel honored to be a part of. finding something that makes you feel confident and beautiful when you’re shopping, that’s a memory (and a piece) you’ll hold onto for life!
kai featured on the shelves in angel

how did you first discover kai?
angel was carrying kai even before i became the buyer! as a mainstay, kai’s scent is so intertwined with all of my memories at angel.

what is your favorite kai product?
the oil, i love keeping it in my purse and popping it on for a mid day mood boost!

can you please share a memory of a customer experience with kai?
we get asked almost daily “what smells so good?” when a customer walks through the doors - and we always say it’s kai! we have many customers who visit us when they are in town just to stock up on kai - it’s become our signature scent!

what do you like to do for fun when you are not working?
if i’m not at work, i’m chasing after my girls... taking them to ballet or swim, working on homework. it’s not glamorous, but i love it!

what is your favorite thing to do on the weekends?
i love going on bike rides with my littles. we ride all over town, stopping at parks or the beach to play and ending at one of our favorite restaurants or breweries for a drink.
robin on a bike ride with her oldest daughter

can you share a little about where you live, and who you spend your leisure time with?
i live in santa barbara - born and raised! i’m fortunate that i get to spend so much time with my family and friends that feel like family, in this little slice of heaven.
where do you look for inspiration for your business? are there certain instagram pages or
pinterest boards you follow? or are there podcasts you listen to?
inspiration from buying really comes from my everyday life. i love to see how people put outfits together. i am constantly inspired by my customers, moms i see at school pickup, and other daily life activities… inspiration can be found everywhere! i’m obsessed with podcasts! recently i listened to “the letter”; an incredibly moving story about a family’s journey to grace and forgiveness in the wake of tragedy. it brought me to tears. i can’t recommend highly enough!

thank you, robin! 


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