Tell us a little bit about your background:
I am a FIDM graduate and have been in fashion business for the past 10 years. 7 years ago I started my own wardrobe styling business, Style by Naz and have been working with clients everywhere from Orange County to Los Angeles.
How did you start your company and why?
At that time when I started my business, there was a need for stylists that are accessible to everyday people who are not celebrities but need to learn the art of dressing for their body. That’s when I decide to start my business in Orange County where there was no business offering wardrobe styling services. After my business grew and was more established I expanded my services to los Angeles.
What is your company about?
Teaching individuals how to dress for their body, shape, life style. How to maximize their existing wardrobe by mixing and matching to create new outfits. I teach my clients how to shop the store and how to put looks together that flatters their body, makes them look modern and relevant, yet stay true to who they are.
What are the best and worst things about being a business owner?
The best thing is the freedom to create and shape your business however you want. The worst thing is that it is all on you, you can’t checkout at 5:00 PM and disconnect from work. You are responsible for everything at all times.
What are the things you like most about your career?
The happiness and the gratitude I get from my clients after the work is done. The messages I get a week later stating how much more confident they are and all the compliments they get. That is the sweetest part of what I do.
What are some of your top sources of inspiration?
Streets. It’s amazing how much you learn by watching people go by and pay attention to their style. Especially in Los Angeles, there are so many creative people; everywhere you look you see inspiration.
What is a typical day like?
A typical day starts by checking and answering e-mails. If it is a consultation day, I drive to my clients place where we sit down and go through the consultation part which usually takes about an hour or two. Next is the closet audit.
For the shopping trip, which usually is a separate day, we meet at the store and I start pulling for an hour and then we hit the fitting room. We are usually in there for a good 2 hours.
Working on photo-shoots is different. For that I usually have to get prepared a day before, pull everything and get organized, go to the set the day of the shoot and style, style, style and return everything the next day.
What are some of your greatest accomplishments?
I was recently featured in Locale Magazine as one of the top Fashion influencers in Orange County and named one of the top Personal stylists in OC and LA in an article by CBS, Los Angeles. It is nice to be recognized after being in this business for as long as I have been.
What would be your advice to someone wanting to start a business?
Do an intern or be an assistant for some one who is in running a business already to learn. That is not something you can learn in school.
What’s your philosophy of life?
Do what you are passionate about. You spend most of you life working, don’t waste it doing something that doesn’t make you happy.
Heritage, the collection by Kalamarie Handbags
You know the feeling, the rush of excitement the first time you see a handbag that draws you in. It’s the outward expression of your inner self being shown to the world! For more reasons than we know, accessories make us happy. If you don’t believe me, just look around and you will see almost every woman carrying one. So how did you find that perfect one?
We first start by looking at the color, materials, price, size etc. However, nowadays we need more than that. We need a brand that we connect with the heritage of what they represent. We want to extend our personal connection beyond the design to the actual meaning of the design. A brand that takes you on a journey and aligns with your lifestyle, that is who we want to support and what shopping is all about.
I recently was introduced to a new brand, Kalamarie Handbags that is launching their first collection called Heritage. Two sisters, Meli (in NYC) and Kara (in London) sought out to create a brand based on the inspiration of their home country of Colombia. The name Kalamarie was created out of the love of the colonial city of Cartagena. Cartagena was previously known as Calamari and the sisters tweaked the spelling to accommodate it to fit with their initials, K&M. Kalamarie Handbags took influences from the door knockers to design the distinctive Kalamarie Handbags Trademark Gecko. They fused all their innovative creativity with the experience of living in the west to curate their handbags.
I got a chance to interview the owners and learn more about their stunning designs and luxurious exotic leathers.
How did you decide to start this business?
KM: As sisters, we are very close and had each gone through the experience of leaving the loving family home and our country, to set up lives overseas. One day, we were both in NYC, having lunch in a roof-top restaurant after attending a sewing and crafts course together. We were full of ideas. We started talking about home and we soon identified we both wanted to create something that would speak highly of Colombia. We kept talking and came up with the idea of leather accessories. We even shared some design ideas. We spoke for a good few hours and then set off to get drawing pads and that was pretty much the genesis of this project. That planted the seed.
What has been your greatest obstacle to overcome?
KM: Finding a manufacturer that shared our values and goals and that we could form a meaningful partnership with.
What is unique about your products?
KM: We believe we are offering a top quality product, with ethically sourced materials, at very fair prices. Crocodile is a material that will last a lifetime. It is an investment and we believe we offer the best possible rate for that investment, along with beautiful, timeless design and functionality. From a design point of view, we offer the fusion of two worlds in our designs – beautifully handcrafted materials, are made urban, but classic and sophisticated all at the same time.
We are an emerging brand of luxury goods, but more than anything, we are a family business, we want to deliver our customer the best personal experience. We come from a culture where the line between business and pleasure is blurred because there is kindness and warmth in making business. We want people to feel happy not just that they have bought a new handbag, but that they bought a Kalamarie.
What materials do you use?
KM: We use Colombian leather, Colombian crocodile, both vegetable tanned, Colombian calf leather and Italian gold-plated hardware. We do an all-croc range, made to order, in which only croc is used in the exterior, and calf leather in the lining.
What is the style of Kalamarie Handbags?
KM: Urban street style – a fusion of influences and needs reflect in the look of the Kalamarie woman. It is the woman that needs a handbag to think for her and to be tough and pretty and functional. Yet, a woman who cares about what she buys, one that searches the emerging brand, the different look, that something special. An everyday woman who is very much her own person, and distinct from the mass.
What is one thing you would like customers to know about you?
KM: We care. We do this because we love it and we want you to love it too.
What is your philosophy of life?
KM: Be alive! In every sense and sensorial way. The complex beauty of life is only truly appreciated with all senses open to the feeling. Even if the feeling is pain, be alive to it. In time, you will find even pain is beautiful in its own way.
Kalamarie Handbags is fusion of elegant and sophisticated silhouettes with a touch of urban unique flair!