After several successful brand collaborations, this fashion and beauty influencer tells PEOPLE she decided to "take a leap of faith and start something from the ground up"

By Hanna Flanagan
Updated July 31, 2020 12:21 PM
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DEZI

Launching a company while six months pregnant in the middle of a global pandemic? Desi Perkins is up for the challenge!

The fashion and beauty influencer, 33, just debuted her first independent brand, DEZI, with six sunglass styles in a wide range of chic neutrals and classic prints, three months after announcing she is expecting her first child, a boy, with husband Steven Perkins in October.

Speaking with PEOPLE ahead of the milestone launch, Perkins opens up about introducing high-end eyewear at an affordable price point (all six styles are under $100!) — while social distancing during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and preparing for motherhood.

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DEZI

"It is very difficult to think of launching during such a crazy time, but it's also been the positive that we've been holding onto and putting all our creative energy [in to] during all of this," the DEZI founder says. "It's kind of been a light for us to do this. After announcing the brand on Instagram, it feels so great to know that people are just as excited as I am."

Buy It! DEZI 2000's Sunglasses, $85; dezi.co
DEZI

The DEZI founder says her goal was to create "a frame for everyone," when designing the line. Adding, "That's why I rolled out with six different styles, ranging from the girl who's a little bit more edgy [and] loves fashion, to somebody who's a little bit more classic."

And when it came time to shoot the campaign, the Latina influencer kept that same inclusive energy.

"I wanted to make sure that we felt like our customer could relate to all the models," she says of the diverse cast. "I also wanted people with a unique sense of style because I truly feel anyone can wear the same pair of sunglass, but they're going to wear it differently depending on what they bring to that frame. They're the ones who are going to bring it to life."

Buy It! DEZI Harper, $75; dezi.co
DEZI

After massively successful collaborations with sunglasses brand Quay Australia, the social media star says she developed a passion for design and "realized it was time to really take a leap of faith and start something from the ground up."

"I knew I had a very specific vision, so I didn't want anyone to have control over that," Perkins, who once posted mostly beauty-related videos but now creates fashion and lifestyle content for her social platforms as well, shares. "We decided to do it on our own. We self-funded the whole thing and really put everything into this brand."

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DEZI

For Perkins, "we" refers to her close-knit group of family members who keep things running smoothly behind the scenes — and they've been working overtime lately to prepare for the sunglasses launch.

Buy It! DEZI On Read, $65; dezi.co
DEZI
Buy It! DEZI Top Shelf, $75; dezi.co
DEZI

"My family and I kind of just spend every day working on [DEZI] together, so that's been really special," the mom-to-be says, explaining that her husband handles the business side of her brand, while her brother and mom assist with creative aspects of it.

Perkins' rescue pup also has a role in her first independent brand — the YouTuber named the classic oversized square frames "Harper" after her beloved terrier mutt!

DEZI

Right now, the mogul is dedicating all of her time and energy to DEZI — "I'm just trying to figure out how I can multiply myself by five right now to get everything done," she jokes — but come Saturday, Perkins (who underwent IVF treatments to get pregnant) says she's transitioning to "full-on baby mode."

"There's days when I'm exhausted, but I'm also loving this process so much that we continue to work long hours here at home to get everything done that we need to get done."

"I know that we can do anything we want as women," Perkins concludes. "We're very strong, and having the life growing inside of me while also creating DEZI has definitely proven that."