Upstate women of Beija-Flor share secrets behind mother-daughter partnership


12 years in, the mother-daughter duo behind Upstate based premium denim line, Beija-Flor, said they’re thankful to say business is going extremely well.

They recently opened a second storefront on Kiawah Island and now premium retailer, Bloomingdale’s, is selling their line online and in select stores.

“To break through that New York fashion world was a big deal,” said Emilie Whitaker.

Whitaker and her mother, Kathy Moca, said there’s a lot of reasons why their partnership works so well but it starts with balance.

“I kind of say owning your own business is like a game of shoots and ladders and it can be upsetting when you go down a shoot. So my mom is always there to kind of calm everyone down,” said Whitaker.

Whitaker and her mom agreed, Moca brings a motherly touch to the business.

“I never panic… as my mother used to say “This too shall pass” and that’s kind of holding onto what really matters and we know what really matters is relationships,” said Moca.

The two created the denim line to address a problem Whitaker noticed in the fashion world, she said not enough designers were embracing curvy bodies. The pair drew inspiration from Whitaker’s Brazilian heritage.

“My husband’s Brazilian, her dad’s Brazilian… what we discovered is that the Brazilian women really do embrace their curves,” said Moca.

More than a decade later, the line has expanded from denim that embraces curves to tops and skirts, even items for women in the workforce.

Despite changing trends, Moca said they remain true to their mission and core values at Beija-Flor.

“We try to dress a woman to make her feel more powerful, to make her feel more beautiful,” said Moca.

Whitaker said it’s the differences between them that help create designs that do just that.

“It’s been the key ingredient for us, not only because we represent different age groups but we represent different body types, style aesthetics,” said Whitaker.

In addition to their differences, Whitaker said honesty is a big part of their success.

“I think it’s probably challenging to work with us because there’s a lot of honesty and sometimes that honesty ends up in a mother-daughter fight in the conference room but like I said it’s one of of the strengths as well,” said Whitaker.

While Moca remains the calming force, she said her daughter too is a force to be reckoned with.

“She is the most creative, she doesn’t think anything is insurmountable. She’s kind of the leader of pack and I’m just thankful to be on her team,” said Moca.

Beija-Flor will host a warehouse sale at the Greenville Marriott this coming week to benefit the Meyer Center.

It’s happening on Friday & Saturday, May 19-20 from 10am-6pm and on Sunday, May 21 from 10-3.

For more information, click here.

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