Meet a (Soon-to-Be) Mom: Clothing Designer Katie Fong Biglin!
As Greenwich Moms, there are few fundraisers closer to our hearts than Under the Stars, the festive annual event supporting Pediatrics and Women’s Health at Greenwich Hospital. For this week’s Meet-a-Mom, we chatted with a soon-to-be first-time mom(!), one of this year’s event co-chairs, Katie Fong Biglin, a luxury women’s clothing designer. You’ll find her gorgeous ready-to-wear and custom creations at her boutique in downtown Greenwich. We spoke to her about her business, love for Greenwich and commitment to giving back to local causes like Under the Stars.
Where do you live in Greenwich and how long have you lived here?
I grew up in central Greenwich, and when my husband Owen and I decided to move out of the city (NYC) in 2015, we moved to Cos Cob. We came back for many reasons… Owen used to come to Greenwich often for work, and I have always wanted to open a store in town. Three months before we got married, we moved and I opened up shop!
That must have been a busy time! Please tell me about your business.
After years of apprenticeship under Oscar de la Renta, Stella McCartney and Vera Wang, I decided to take the leap of faith and launch my own label in 2013. The Katie Fong Collection offers luxurious and timeless made to order apparel for women. The Collection is made in New York City’s garment district and made of the finest fabrics, laces and embroidery sourced from all over the world. In addition to custom gowns and weddings, I also offer a service of creating customized patterns for “the perfect dress” that every woman needs in her closet! My Collection ranges from silk georgette tops to silk faille ball gowns. My Boutique on Lewis Street (off Greenwich Avenue) also carries several lines of jewelry and accessories designed by fellow female entrepreneurs who I have formed amazing partnerships with.
So impressive! And can you please tell me about your next big project? Congrats by the way!
Baby Biglin is due July 1st! Owen and I decided to wait on finding out its gender. We both feel that it’s the one true surprise you can have in life—so why not wait? It helps that I personally love neutral colors!
Ha, that works out then. And why did you decide to start a family in Greenwich?
Family and Community. My family is still in town, and Owen’s parents will be spending some time every year close by as well (they currently live in Denver). Greenwich is such a wonderful community with so much to offer for families – from amazing health care at Greenwich Hospital to education facilities of the arts and sciences at the Bruce Museum. It is truly a special place that is quite big, but with a small town feel.
We agree! Did you always think you’d move back?
Yes. I really enjoyed growing up in Greenwich as a child and when I left for college, I always envisioned moving back when I was married and ready to start a family. It helped that Owen was familiar with the town and was right on board!
How are you feeling as you get closer to your due date?
I’m looking forward to starting our little family. We knew we were as ready as we could be when it felt like something was missing, and here we are! There’s a lot that seems daunting. Raising a child on top of running a business is probably the most daunting but I have several friends who do it with multiple children…I feel really lucky to have them to look up to and go to for advice. I’ve been relying on meditation and prayer to help me prepare for the unknown!
What’s the best part of being a small business owner in Greenwich?
The best part is being able to form the most amazing relationships with our clientele. Clothing is so personal, especially in the custom business when you get to choose colors and fit. Many of our top clients have become our friends and my team and I are so grateful for them! The same goes for the many other designers I have collaborated with for the selection of jewelry and accessories we also carry in the Boutique. Many of these vendors are also small business owners, insanely talented and inspiring women who we are happy to call our friends. My vision for the brand is one day to have multiple stores to spread the KF experience across the country and one day internationally.
You have such an admirable commitment to our community and its non-profit organizations, from Greenwich Hospital to the Bruce Museum. Who instilled this importance of giving back to you?
My parents have always been the most generous people I have ever known. As a child, they showed me the happiness you receive from making others happy. Growing up I volunteered at the Bruce Museum, the Boys and Girls Club, nursing homes, and at Greenwich High School in their Special Education department.
That’s so wonderful. And why do you support Under the Stars in particular?
I chose Under the Stars because I know the importance of women and children’s health at Greenwich Hospital. Not only was I born there, but over the years I’ve had friends and family have children there and I’ve heard the most incredible stories of the hospital’s attentive care and service. Most recently, I had two people at a restaurant ask me where I plan on delivering our baby. Once I said Greenwich Hospital, they both responded with enthusiasm saying that it’s the best place to have a baby. One of them told me that she went to a doctor’s check up almost a month before her due date and they said the baby’s heart rate was low and she had to go to the hospital immediately for an emergency c- section. She said her husband was at work and couldn’t get back in time and she was terrified never having had surgery before. However, she said the doctors and nurses made her feel so safe and secure and everything went so smoothly she couldn’t have had a better experience. Stories like this are the reason why I love being involved with Under the Stars, years before becoming a mom.
What are you doing now to prepare for maternity leave and life as a working mom?
I am really fortunate to have an amazing team and a sales and production assistant who will be here running shop on the days that I am not in! There is not much I can really do to prepare for life as a working mom since I really have no clue what to expect—it all depends on Baby B! However, my company is my first child and I am sure I will be in contact with my team as everything happens I’m lucky that my due date doesn’t fall in the middle of the busiest months (which happens to be September and October 2019)!
What are your favorite places to eat, shop, etc. in Greenwich?
For a tasty lunch or dinner, I love Terra (their chopped greek salad with chicken is my to go to). If I’m craving pizza and wings, Macduffs Pub is our favorite place. Every so often Owen and I will go to the city or Westport for dinner. Every time we try to find a new place. For girls night we usually take turns hosting at home or end up at East End! Coffee Café Roasters on Greenwich Avenue is my favorite for coffee or tea.
I love supporting local businesses when it comes to shopping… Back 40 Mercantile in Old Greenwich is an amazing gift shop…the cutest organic baby selection. I haven’t started on too much shopping for the little one, mostly because we don’t know if it’s a boy or girl but I have been eyeing the cutest little outfits from Baroni which I discovered through my friend Jordan’s blog (Glimpse Guides). Just so adorable! I also love everything from Aden and Anais—their patterns are so fun and their silk swaddles and bibs are the softest thing I’ve ever felt!
The annual Under the Stars event benefits Pediatrics and Women’s Health at Greenwich Hospital. This year’s event, to take place on May 17 at Riverside Yacht Club, will feature a performance by headliner 98 Degrees, the boy band that sold over 10 million albums in the 90s.Tickets are on sale at http://giving.greenhosp.org/uts2019. For more information, call 203-863-3865.