Name: Kelly Feliciano Country:US Brand: Dominatress Apparel
1. How long have you been involved in Female martial arts and how did you get involved?
My Daughter Sabrina and I have been involved in MMA for 10 years, we began seeing what we believed a need for authentic graphic designs on apparel and gear targeted toward Female Athletes in the Competitive Combat Sports industry.
2. You have your own Female fighter clothing brand, tell us a bit about that and how did this all come about?
As mentioned above, we saw a need and decided to begin designing artwork for T-shirts in 2009 under the name of Dominatress. Dominatress is a name we made up by combining Dominate and Mistress together because we believe that Female Fighters are the Mistress of their Ring or Cage. We tested about 15 concepts on our social media page and received many positive responses. Our first t-shirt design printed was Bow to your Mistress printed in the Italian language with our fightgirl art work on the front. We took time off after that short launch and came back to invest more time into Dominatress in 2013.
3. What is your favourite thing about female fighters?
Their combination of strength and beauty, determination and passion. As women, we have been tasked time and time again with proving our ability to stand tough and strong in many male dominate situations. Female Fighters are the true definition of the powerful gender we are capable of being.
4. Who inspires you?
I see this as a 2 tiered question. Our artwork is inspired by the juxtaposition of the Badassness and Beauty the Female Fighter evokes. I designed flash for tattoos in 2002 so I have used this aesthetic mixed with the beauty of nature and delicate designs to create what I hope is an authentic expression for all women that love the world of competitive combat sports.
Secondly, we are inspired by the women who are devoted to their sport, the dedication to the hard work it takes to be the best they can be. Again, the passion… women who are passionate and share that with anyone who will watch or listen are the women we become engaged with and therefore inspired by.
Our partnership with sponsored fighters has been a true blessing to our company. Mostly because we have been able to be a part of a journey that these fighters have dedicated a large part of their life to. It is exciting to be able to provide a design that gives them a little extra motivation and to help make their fans feel closer to them by wearing the fighters shirts. This too is so very inspirational, to have so many people want to show support from all around the world for that one fighter is telling that fighter “We Believe In You”. Being a part of that is priceless and makes us richer then every shirt sold in inventory. The brand becomes more valuable because we have the opportunity to support such amazing athletes.
6. Whats in store for Dominatress in 2014?
New designs and building brand awareness. We know that it is a long road to becoming a viable product in this industry and that this niche market is still emerging. We hope to grow Dominatress but at the same time, be a part of the vast potential for Female Competitive Combat Sports over all.
7. Do you find it hard being a female amongst a male dominated sport?
Absolutely, in our area, there is no other Female specific brand. This is a good and bad situation, good because we have an open market to attract and dominate, bad because we are in direct competition with established male companies that have already captured the female community with limited design that are still targeted toward the male market. Being that this is a male dominated sport, women will still be somewhat driven by their husbands or boyfriends to what is popular to purchase.
8. Any fight matches you want to see in 2014?
We have so many friends in competitive combat sports that are so talented. It is difficult to pin point just one or two matches. We love to attend the matches of our friends simply because they are an inspiration to us and we just want to be in their corner cheering them to the win.
9. If you could be involved in any big events as the main brand what would it be?
I know the right answer for many would probably be the UFC and of course who wouldn’t want to see their brand big as life involved in such a huge contributor to the industry. I personally would like to get a spot with Invicta. Shannon Knapp is an inspiration and a true pioneer to Female Competitive Combat Sports. To be associated to the accomplishment of this promotion would be a true validation of what we believe in.
10. Any one you would like to thank?
Of course my Husband Big E for bringing these crazy sports to our family and exposing us to the people who have been great supporters of Dominatress. My Daughter and Partner Sabrina for being my hearts inspiration and the reason I dove into Dominatress head first. To you Natasha, you are the reason we do what we do and we could not have been blessed more graciously by you sharing your passion for the sport you love so much. I also want to thank Lehi Dominguez, our first Sponsored Athlete for asking us to represent him, our lives are better in so many ways because of his grace and belief in Dominatress. Finally, all of our supporters… our successes in 2013 are truly because of their belief in our company and athletes. I can not express our gratitude in enough words.
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Interview by Natasha Sky, photos supplied Jan 2014
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