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Q+A Series…New York Called Dara Kent-Cobb

I met the fashionable Dara Kent-Cobb through her husband and photographer Trent Bailey (featured here). I quickly fell for her short bob and spunky style, not to mention her enviable wardrobe and charming, yet humble, personality. Not only does she help with Trent's creative direction but she recently left her day job to pursue her own collection of Preston & Oliviahats full-time. Let's just say I was pretty excited to catch up with Dara at such a pivotal point in her life.

Learn more about Dara's NYC perspective in the Q+A below.Dara1Dara3Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Louisiana. I lived all over the state, so I claim it all. Originally, the town I am from, and where much of my family still resides, is Fluker, LA. It's so small it doesn't even have a stoplight.

When did you move to NYC and why?

I moved to NYC in May of 2009, right at the height of the recession, to fulfill a three-month internship and then find a job in apparel design. I moved with my husband, Trent. We were both searching for jobs in industries hard hit by the recession (his advertising), which ended up being a blessing in the end. I found a steady freelance job with the company I interned at, which allowed me to go back to school to study accessory and millinery design.

One item you moved with and will keep forever?

My Something Blue Manolo's I wore on my wedding day.

What is your background?

I studied textiles, apparel, and merchandising at LSU, and since moving to NYC, I've studied accessory design and millinery design at FIT.

Brief intro to Preston & Olivia? What type of girl wears your designs?

Southern born. Manhattan made. Drawing on my background in textiles and apparel design, I founded Preston & Olivia in 2010 out of the desire to create accessories for men and women looking for classic, heirloom-quality pieces with a fashion-forward sensibility. With every collection I strive to marry traditional Southern style with the more modern world I'm surrounded by in downtown Manhattan.

I would say any girl who effortlessly pairs a P&O with her own personal style wears it with confidence. She is "the girl" that everyone stares at on the street, wishing they were rocking a hat too.Dara4Looking back, what advice would you give to the freshly arrived version of you?

Don't underestimate yourself, you got this.

What's a moment of vulnerability you can remember?

Giving my notice at work when I quite my day job. I was so blessed to work with such a flexible team for over 3 years who supported my dream of building my brand, and I was so scared to give up the certainty of a job and a consistent paycheck. As scary as that leap was, I knew the timing was too perfect to let pass.

How and when did you know you were ready to start your own company?

I don't think I ever really knew for sure that I was ready, but once I had a brand and product to sell, I just did it slowly. Eventually, the demands of managing my site, emails, making products, and everything else that was required to keep things running was too much to handle and work a day job. I felt like my business had finally reached that point where it was either never going to become more than it was, or something drastically needed to change in my life so that I could grow it to become everything I wanted it to be. Once that time came, a year and half ago, I quit my day job and put 110% into bringing more brand awareness to P&O.Dara5What can you call your proudest moment?

I can't pick one. I would say in general, any time I receive an email from a client who just received their hat and LOVE it, I feel so proud. To brighten someone else's day by simply doing what I love is pretty awesome.

When are you at your happiest in NYC?

NYC really shows off for Fall and Spring. They're seriously the best seasons here, and my favorite because I love to spend hours outside around the city exploring, running, eating outside at restaurants, etc.

What was going through your head the last time you were really frustrated with NYC?

OMG, freaking tourists, just freaking get out of my way!

What is the best piece of advice you've ever received and from who?

"Don't worry, everything is going to be amazing." I'm basically the biggest worrywart, and my husband has to constantly reiterate these words to me EVERY time I get stressed.

What is something you know today that you did not know yesterday?

I'm actually not consuming enough protein from my vegetarian diet and I need to step that up stat!

[wait, there's more...]Dara2My favorite nights are...late nights spent with friends over good conversation, and usually involves amazing cocktails.

I'm not a tourist but I still...stare in awe of the NYC skyline and remind myself that this really is home.

You'll usually find me...either working at my desk at home or running around NYC (literally).

My favorite phone apps are...Instagram, Afterlight (for editing my instagram photos), The Weather Channel, PS DEPT, iTrans NYC, MyFitnessPal

If I'm going to splurge...it's definitely on some article of clothing, and usually a completely justifiable pair of designer shoes.

It's completely okay to do this alone...cry, because going into the ugly cry in front of others is simply not okay!

Don't trust...anyone with bad eyebrows! Not really. but seriously, they are really important, people!

Do trust...your first instincts. They're usually right.

When it comes to NYC I hate...when people leave. Why does anyone leave NYC!

When it comes to NYC I love...calling this little island home!

I'll move out of NYC when...it's time...to move to Paris.

3 skills that help you survive NYC...Functioning on little to no sleep, organization (for life and living in small spaces), layering

*Follow Preston & Olivia on Instagram and visit the website here.

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