Dori Howard isn’t your typical fashion girl. If you asked her when she was younger what she’d be doing when she grew up, founder of a fashion company would have been the furthest thing from her mind.
After college, she held a handful of roles in the film industry, including vice president of production at Paramount Pictures.
Crain’s Los Angeles spoke with Boulden about her unusual career path.
I grew up in suburban New Jersey and going to the movies was always something we did. It was an escape. The characters and stories were always something I related to.
I applied for college as a political science major. I wanted to get an internship on the Hill and I found that they didn’t accept sophomores. I asked what I could do to make my application better for next summer and was told to do something interesting, something other candidates weren’t doing. So I interned at a film company. And I fell in love with what I was doing in entertainment. I wanted to transfer to be a film major and was told not to, that I would learn more on a film set than in school. So I became an independent study major.
Moving into show business
I did a lot in film publicity and personal publicity. It was about stories, working with creative people and executing their vision. I loved helping creative people get their projects made.
Leaving the business
It was an interesting time. We saw what happened in music, the business was imploding as technology took over. The music business was decimated. The film business had privacy issues and studios were doing nothing to combat it. It had also lost a lot of the creativity to me. And I thought what industry has a lot of creativity and freedom, and it took me to fashion.
Running fashion companies
I founded Milk & Honey with my sister. It helped women design their own shoes. We raised a bunch of capital and sold the business. Then I created Wade + Belle, which was a need that I felt for a comfortable pair of tights. Yoga pants have a thicker, looser waste band. The two are very close cousins so I thought there’s no reason why you can’t have a better waste band on tights.
I’m working on a project helping women running for office have a more complete wardrobe. There are more women running for office than before and a common problem is clothes. They are at fundraisers seven days a week and unlike their male counterparts, they can’t wear the same suit everyday.