"Even if it is completely chaotic every single day, I wouldn't have it any other way, because it's exactly how I want to live my life."

My favorite quote is: "Life is short; chase your dreams." Something people don't know about me: I was national champion of shotput and discus in my college days

Vicky Pasche

Breaking the binary shopping experience

A BOLD MOVE. It wasn't until Vicky Pasche began shopping for clothes in the men's department that she finally felt like herself. It was one day in 2010, shortly after she cut her hair short, and the experience was, in her words, "absolutely terrifying. I tried on my very first pair of men's jeans in an Old Navy store, and though the fit was totally off, I was so excited anyway because it was exactly what I wanted to wear."

Before that pivotal moment, Vicky had never enjoyed clothes shopping. "The clothes in the women's department never fit my body or personality type. I was that frumpy, unseen person who hated shopping." After years of facing the issue alone, she discovered that many others were in the same situation, so she decided to take action. In 2015 she, and her wife, Charisse, launched a Kickstarter campaign to start a gender-neutral clothing brand designed for a range of body types and sizes. When they exceeded their initial $18,000 fundraising goal, their business, Dapper Boi, was born.

FINESSING THE PRODUCT. Dapper Boi started with suits, inspired by Vicky's job at the time as a marketing executive at a casino ("I had to wear suits every day – ill-fitting men's suits"), but their big break came with jeans. Taking a best-of-both-worlds approach by combining their favorite aspects of men's and women's jeans, Vicky realized she had arrived at something completely new.

"We took a lot of notes. For example, women's jeans lacked function as they didn't have deep pockets like men's, but men's jeans didn't have the comfort." After multiple manufacturers hung up on Vicky, she eventually found one who would help them create their first pair of slim straight jeans. The line sold out almost immediately.

Dapper Boi is infused with Vicky's personality; playful, accessible, and inclusive. She's front and center of her brand, from appearing in fun, 90s R&B-inspired commercials in its early days to modeling the clothes on the website. She credits supportive parents for being able to live her authentic self comfortably but admits it's not always easy to be so open. "Me and my wife have young twins now. We share a lot about our lives, and sometimes it's very vulnerable. I have definitely second-guessed some of that, but at the same time, it's important to have that relatability and hope that we've positively impacted somebody."

Now over seven years since launching Dapper Boi, Vicky says the stories she hears from customers about the company's positive impact on their lives keep her motivated. "We're genuinely changing people's lives. We once had a mother reach out to tell us their daughter was suicidal at one point, but after she saw one of our ads, she smiled because she finally felt like she belonged. We hear amazing stories every day, but that one story stays in my brain at all times because feeling like you don't belong is a terrible thing."

Vicky admits Dapper Boi's journey has been turbulent at times, but from a young age, she had a sense the entrepreneur life was for her. "I'm not surprised I've started a business like Dapper Boi. Even if it is completely chaotic every single day, I wouldn't have it any other way because it's exactly how I want to live my life."

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Presented with Pride Here is the first collection of one hundred incredible and inspiring LGBTQIA+ venture-backed entrepreneurs featured in this year's Gaingels 100.