Catalina Gonzalez
Founder & Designer, Dondolo

Faced with an hour to yourself (perhaps a problem you don’t often have), what do you do with free time?

Between my four boys and running Dondolo I am so busy but the perfect hour would be to escape in a book. I love to read and I am a romantic! I love romantic novels with a historic setting. And I definitely prefer to read an actual book, I am a bit “old school” and love holding a book in my hands and turning the pages. I think it’s the grand millennial in me!

What is the thing you bought in the last three months that you have most enjoyed?

I bought the most beautiful plates from Ellis Hill in Dallas (@ellishilldallas). This year, with COVID we all found ourselves spending so much more time at home. One of my favorite things to do this year was to create special memories with my family in our home, celebrating the day to day without having to have a special occasion.  I love setting a beautiful table. Tablescaping for me is a fun way to express my creativity. Putting together different layers of new and vintage. Layers of colors and patterns. I love thinking of the special memories we will have as a family in that meal. Dondolo is about celebrating special moments and making memories with the ones you love. Our Dondolo Moms love to celebrate by dressing their families in beautiful outfits, and our newest venture grew from a natural extension of my love of setting a beautiful table. We cannot wait for our Dondolo Moms to adorn their tables with Dondolo Home this Fall.

What’s the last song you listened to?

I just listened to “Favorito” by Camilo, one of my favorite Colombian singers. I grew up in Colombia and I love listening to new and upcoming Colombian artists to support them and support my country. It is so important to me to keep my culture alive with my boys. Dance parties are a regular occurrence at our house. We love to dance to Colombian music and we have the best time. Those are the moments that I hope my children will remember forever.Did you learn anything new in the last 12 months that has surprised you?

My word for this year is “authenticity”. The past 12 months have given us all the opportunity to reflect on how we were living our lives. As a woman, a wife, and a mother I paused to think about how I was living and how I wanted to move forward living my most authentic life. One of the most exciting moments for me this past year was launching our Dondolo Women’s Collection. It has been eye opening to see our customers’ response and feedback to our women's line. My goal was to design beautiful women’s clothes that are meant to accentuate a woman’s real body and make you feel beautiful through every stage of your life. It is also so important to me that we are size inclusive. All of our women’s pieces range from size XS to XXL. 

What is a parenting quality you admire in one of your parents, friends of siblings that you’d like to emulate when you become a mother?

Having quality time with each child. Even 5-10 minutes of quality time with each child is so important. As a mom of 4, I really have to make an effort to make this happen because there is so much going on in our lives but I have found that spending that individual time with each one of my boys is so wonderful for us all.

2020 has dealt us all with lots of challenges - what was a low moment in 2020 and how did you overcome or face it? 

My Mom and Dad live in Colombia and are in their 80’s and 90’s. Because of COVID, I didn't know when I would see them next. It was so hard for me to not know if I would ever see them again, to not be able to just hop on a plane and visit them. Last Thanksgiving, my family took all the necessary safety precautions and we were able to reunite with my parents in Florida. It was such a special moment for us! My Dad had never met my 1 year-old son, Baby Robert. Safely reuniting with my family was the much anticipated light at the end of a very long tunnel.What are you most looking forward to in a post-vaccine world? What bar, restaurant, or place are you most eager to visit?

I can’t wait to travel to Cartagena to visit my entire family. I got married in Cartagena, it’s a magical city and is so special to me. Colombia is near and dear to my heart for so many reasons. Dondolo clothing is manufactured in Colombia and when I started the company, I also started the Dondolo Gives Foundation there. This foundation is truly the heart of Dondolo and the primary reason behind our brand. I am so thankful that we are able to provide jobs and a safe place for mothers in my native country, allowing them the crucial funds needed to better care for their children. I love knowing that when our customers buy from us, they are not only buying a beautiful piece of clothing to incorporate into their most precious family memories, they are truly helping to make a difference in these women’s lives. Before COVID, I was able to travel with my Dondolo team to Colombia to do a give-back trip for Dondolo Gives and I can’t wait to return with my team soon!

Do you believe in setting personal goals? If so, how do you hold yourself accountable to them?

I do set goals for myself and I believe that if you set short term, realistic goals, you are setting yourself up for success. Small wins turn into bigger victories. I like to set small goals for myself like “this week I will achieve this” or “this month I will achieve this”. One of these “big” victories was Dondolo’s recent collaboration with LoveShackFancy.  I was so excited to partner with an amazing female-owned and led brand. One of my passions is collaborating with other women. Whether it’s helping a friend or collaborating with other female entrepreneurs, the power of women is amazing! Some of the other incredible female entrepreneurs we have partnered with are Gen Sohr of Pencil + Paper Company, Emily Hertz, and Riley Sheehey.

How important is community to you, and how do you go about building and nurturing it for your family?

Community is so important to me! I am so fortunate to be surrounded by a wonderful community. Our Dondolo community is amazing. It’s so beautiful to be surrounded by a group of Moms who love to celebrate special memories. Our Dondolo Moms love to make everyday moments special. I am always so honored to know that our Dondolo pieces are part of our community’s most cherished family moments.

Shop Catalina's Look: Smocked Cotton Dress

*Photography by @haleyjphotodallas