Where do I start? My husband often says there are two parts of me – the one which loves colour and the other which is super neutral and basic loving. After having a baby, I found I was longing for a some clothes which were colourful, as somehow wearing colour makes me feel happy. I was in search for a dress which was colourful, feeding friendly, could be worn after nursing days, supported a small Australian business, could be worn to work or weekends and something stylish of course! This is how my relationship with Karla Cola was forged. Read on about this stylish boss mama.
Tell me three things we might not know about you!
I’m scared of heights , I opted to do something else the day everyone went zip lining in Hawaii. Heights tend to give me vertigo and it’s just not a pleasant feeling for me at all.
I’m super short, something that used to bother me immensely growing up and now I never ever think about it. 155cm short and totally ok with that.
I have 3 nationalities. USA by birth, Australian by residence and Canadian from my dad and I briefly lived there in 1997 also.
How did you start Karla Cola?
I actually started KarlaCola based on how underwhelming I found the local stores for choices when I moved to Australia. Wanting something a bit brighter and happier, I begun working with textile designs that were uniquely different and branched out to many colours from then on out. Let’s just say I have always enjoyed being a little different.
How did you learn to sew?
My grandma taught me. I had a sewing machine at the age of 12 and spent a lot of time teaching myself after she taught me the basics. I’m very determined when I want to learn something new and there was certainly a lot of trial and error over the years.
You created a breastfeeding friendly dress? What was your inspiration?
I can’t tell you how many messages we get a week asking for nursing friendly dresses. New customers or previous customers that just desperately wanted something fun to wear while breast feeding. It’s taken me some time to develop something comfortable selling at the price point that can be used for continuous years on and not just nursing days.
What is your favourite dress of all time?
That is really really hard. I am not supposed to have a favourite- usually it’s the one I pick that I wear that particular day. If I was pressed to pick it would tie between the protea lovers and my very first Pete Cromer design – Feeling Cocky. 2 prints by 2 of my favourite artist.
Can you tell us a little more about how your dresses support slow fashion?
All our dresses are hand cut and hand sewn. Despite rising cost and GST we have stuck true to what we believe in. Creating small batches of dresses and supporting jobs in Australia. We have a small but mighty team of dependable machinists, all of which I am equally reliant and thankful for. In the last few years I have realised we had the potential to grow so much more but decided that as a family we are happy with our work load and I am not willing to compromise on quality or overseas production for our clothing. I think my customers understand this and it’s part of small slow ethical fashion.
What inspired you to have a vegan lifestyle and is your family?
I’ve been vegetarian for 11 years and dairy free for 2. The choice for vegetarian was my choice to do my part for the environment and reduce our meat consumption for a family of 5. After a while I just stopped needing it and or wanting it and relay enjoy being creative with vegetarian dishes. The choice for dairy was actually due a intolerance and was super hard to give up cheese! The kids eat vegetarian 5 nights a week and meat along with my husband 2 nights a week so it’s a good healthy balance.
What are some of your family favourite meals?
Easy as when I am not creating in my work room you will always find me in the kitchen creating! Taco salad – an easy favourite. Stuffed Mexican sweet potatoes (slow roasted) topped with beans, corn, avocado – so so good! Lastly a yummy coconut Dahl we enjoy once per week.
Who are some of your favourite Instagram accounts?
To be honest I’ve really had to cut down my time on Insta. I find it can be a labyrinth for me and after working all day and responding to DMs my time can be at 2 + hours which feels like a lot of screen time. Pages I check out when I have a chance are @tribeofwuwu (of course!), @neonpunk__ , @emmylou_loves and @realmumstyle.
How do you spend time with family?
My time is almost always spent outdoors when possible with my family. Walking is a great way for the kids to open up chat and it’s important to us to exercise and enjoy fresh air and vitamin D every chance we get. In summer you’ll find us at the beach!