The last year at DANNIJO has been a whirlwind. Covid prevented us --like so many other small businesses-- from the grand opening of what would have been DANNIJO's first NYC flagship. The pandemic created so many obstacles for us as a small business that we quite frankly weren't sure what would become of the brand that we've poured every ounce of our our hearts, souls and sisterhood into. We watched as many of our friends and the companies we loved closed their business doors. 

A few months ago, Vanessa Bryant asked if we'd be interested in collaborating on a line to honor Gigi and fundraise for the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation which is dedicated to creating positive impact for underserved athletes and young women in sports (founded through the vision and in loving memory of Kobe and Gianna ''Gigi'' Bryant). The fundraiser would launch on Gigi's 15th birthday, May 1.

We weren't sure if we had the bandwidth as a small business to throw all our resources into a non-profit initiative that would require all hands on deck around the clock-- especially given the events and challenges of the last year. But when Vanessa Bryant asks you to help a cause so near and dear to the world's heart, you can only say yes.

Between weekly zoom sessions with Vanessa and the foundation, impromptu facetimes, a lot of texting, last minute flights and random acts of kindness throughout the world, we pulled off one of the most rewarding endeavors we've been a part of in over a decade.

The sleepless nights and countless days Jodie spent in 'that one chair in her house' (and the showers she never took) to make sure every "i" was dotted and every "t" was crossed, proved to be worth it.

My last minute 5am flight to LA on Gigi's birthday to help the team pack boxes whilst pumping (my husband took care of our newborn solo without advance notice) was without a doubt the kind of teamwork that would make Gigi proud.

The countless hours and sleepless nights Olivia, Lindsay and Kat spent on the phone going over a megawatt excel sheet of hieroglyphics all proved to pay off in the name of Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation: The exclusive MAMBACITA x DANNIJO collection sold out in just hours after it dropped on Gigi's birthday, May 1.

So many of Vanessa's friends showed their support on instagram posting themselves in the MAMBACITA x DANNIJO sweat sets honoring Gigi including LeBron James, Ciara, Lala Anthony, Kate Hudson, Yara Shahidi, Jennifer Garner, Eva Mendes, Jimmy Kimmel, Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Kris Jenner, Cindy Crawford, Lily Aldridge, Tia Mowry, Reese Withersoon, Ellen Pompeo, Adam Levine, Behati Prinsloo, Michelle Williams, Kelly Rowland, Devin Booker, Russell Wilson, Kyrie Irving and Steph Curry.

NBA teams including the Lakers, Warriors, Nets and Suns made moving Instagram tributes and wore the DANNIJO x MAMBACITA sweatsets to their games over the weekend to honor Gigi.

The MAMBACITA x DANNIJO fundraiser has become so much more than a fundraiser for the foundation, it's become a movement. A movement that most importantly speaks to Gigi's spirit: SHE WAS THE ULTIMATE TEAM PLAYER and she always made everyone around her feel important.  I know she'd be proud of all the teamwork that went into pulling off the fundraiser in time for her birthday and I know she's beaming with pride knowing how much her spirit inspired universal kindness and compassion and how it continues to bring so many people together. 

I'm pretty sure it's safe to say 'MAMBACITA May' is here to stay. Excited to see what Gigi's spirit inspires over the coming years. No doubt this is just the beginning.

Due to the overwhelming demand to support the fundraiser for Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation in Gigi's honor and enthusiasm for the product (premium handmade tie-dye unisex sweat sets made in Portugal, designed in LA and finished with love), Vanessa and DANNIJO will reissue adult and kids hoodies for PREORDER. 

Be sure to sign up for the DANNIJO and Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation's newsletters to be the first to know when it drops.

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Continue the party with late-night drinks at Parker & Lenox, a speakeasy that regularly flies musicians in from New York or Buenos Aires to perform at weekends, and for salsa dancing, Club San Luis in Roma Sur is an experience in itself. It has a 20-piece live band, and the dancing is phenomenal.

~ Danielle