We love celebrating strong, successful women here at The Caviar Spoon, which is why we’ve created ReBelles. These are the women who are working it and owning it in life, work, and everything in between. Our newest ReBelle is fashion designer Kanchan Kulkarni of Kara.
One of the best things about Dubai is the diversity and constant evolution of the fashion landscape. We’re always discovering talented designers who each have their own unique stories to tell. Kanchan Kulkarni, the founder and designer of Dubai-based high-end fashion line Kara, is one of these gems and we feel lucky to have been introduced to her!
Her designs are feminine but there’s a strength and boldness to them that signifies the women for whom they were designed—fearless, motivated, self-assured, passionate, individual go-getters.
“Our brand is defined by you, the women who wear it; those who seize the moment, who believe their life is precious and resolve never to let a day simply ‘pass by’. Kara is worn by women who want to be themselves and who express their inner statement through a combination of fearless fashion and strong worldly actions.” – from the Kara website
If ever there was a woman who embodied and embraced our Caviar ReBelle spirit, it would be Kanchan Kulkarni! She just gets it and that’s why we were so eager to do a Q&A with this fab designer.
And if you’re in the mood to add a little somethin’-somethin’ to your wardrobe, need a knockout dress for a special event, or just want a bit of fashion inspiration, hop over to her website to shop her collection!
Tell us about your career to date
I had 25 years of work experience before I started Kara. Twenty of those years were in real estate and the rest in management positions in the oil and gas industry.
When did you have your “AHA!” moment with your business concept?
Kara was started more as a creative outlet and it has turned out to be a career I have become very passionate about. My AHA moment came when I started to believe I could be a professional fashion designer and build a business around it.
Who has inspired you the most and why?
My husband is my biggest inspiration. He has pushed me to be strong and try new things without the fear of failure whilst always providing a safety net in case I fall.
What’s been the biggest reward to date being a designer?
My family wanting to wear only Kara. Their belief in me has been a huge motivation for me to do better with each collection.
And the worst thing about being a designer…
Clients coming to me with printouts of other designer’s creations and asking me to make them the exact same dress.
What do you do to get inspired?
People watch and travel. As an acting student at the New York Film Academy, I was taught to be inspired by the environment around you. I have applied the same principle to my designs as well.
How do you measure success?
Personally, success is when you are happy with what you have created and your audience appreciates your vision and creativity. However, in business, success is measured only by profits. You cannot sustain your business with losses.
What do you struggle with now as a business woman?
I honestly have never experienced gender based prejudice. The biggest struggle for women sometimes is believing they can do it. That is the only thing that helps to get over any and every obstacle you face, whether in life or in business.
The biggest learning lesson since opening up your business?
The biggest lesson I learned was from another business I had started several years ago where I did not have technical knowledge of the business and had to depend entirely on my staff. What I learned from that experience was to only start a business where you have complete knowledge of all the processes involved and you are the expert.
Your business can only be as successful as your vision and your implementation of it.
What advice would you give to women looking to succeed in the workplace or in their own business?
Know the difference between constructive criticism and criticism and then do what you think is right anyway.
When the going gets tough you…
Keep walking…Never give up.
What’s your one piece of advice on how to achieve a work/life balance?
Guilt is the biggest factor in upsetting the work/life balance. If I am with my kids, I don’t feel guilty for not being at work and vice-versa.
You need to understand your priorities and be where you are most needed.
In 24 months time, Kanchan/Kara will look like this…
Selling Globally, Executing Locally!
What’s your signature piece and why?
Our hand-embroidered silk day dress. It is rich and versatile and suitable for any season.
3 words to describe your clientele
Intelligent, Compassionate & Strong
3 words to describe you
Fearless, introvert & head-strong
One lady in business who deserves a shout-out is….And why?
My sister Anjali Chandiramani who is the owner of A-Tone Fitness Lounge in Dubai. We share the same passion for Fitness & Fashion.
Your motivational quote
You only fail when you stop trying
The person you most respect is…
My mom & my husband
Your business mantra
Determination & sheer will to succeed may get you to the top but only passion will keep you there.
Your life mantra
He did not say it was going to be easy, only that it will be worth it.
Your favourite fashion brand (apart from yours 🙂 )
Dolce & Gabbana
Anything we should keep a look out for? Fashion shows/new designs/developments?
There are a lot of things in the pipeline…Shows, collaborations, new collections, etc. Our Instagram account @love.kara is the best place to get all the information on our events.