We talked to the brains behind the brand, former fashion blogger turned designer and all round dream girl Karla Deras about being fearless as a woman in business...
“What is especially admirable is a woman who does what she wants without asking for permission. The correct term for that is not confidence, because anyone can pretend to be confident. I’d like to think of this as being fearless. Being fearless is liberating. It’s not allowing others’ opinions of you to consume your mind. It’s being comfortable with who you are and owning that right. "
SELFSERVICE: We love how you talk about being fearless in the above quote and wanted to know how you got yourself to a mindset where this was possible? How do you remain fearless every day? Are there moments where it's more challenging to be fearless and if so how do you deal with this?
KD: I think the more you work at developing your ideas, dreams, thoughts, talents, or abilities the more you become fearless because you've done all of the hard work up front. you've studied, you've practiced, and you can now execute life with that sense of fearlessness that only comes from being prepared. I think this simple concept of work applies not only to your career, but also to life in general. I find a sense of fearlessness by clinging onto something bigger than me, by spending time with god, and having faith. I’m still human though, and there are moments when it feels quite challenging to remain fearless and stay motivated. In those moments, I surround myself with people who inspire me and push me to keep going and i practice self-coping skills by telling myself “I am here to be useful, to be great, and I I expect difficulties, stress, fear, but I signed up for this and I will do whatever is necessary to achieve what i'm meant to do." i just hold onto that thought and have faith that I will get through the scary and challenging moments of life.
SELFSERVICE: The Line by K was a one-woman company at the start. Working alone can be a challenge - how did you keep yourself motivated on a daily basis?
KD: I've actually always worked independently, I've never worked in a company or had any internships prior to the Line by K so what has been more of a challenge for me is working with a team, communicating effectively, and leading. It has actually been the biggest challenge for me thus far. I thought I knew how to communicate, but I had no idea until my brother joined the team and taught me the power of words and how they can affect the outcome of any given situation. I've learned so much about leadership, I am still learning, and of course I make mistakes; I just genuinely try to do better the next time.
SELFSERVICE: How does it feel to be a female business owner? Have you had any challenges with this?
KD: I think we live in a time that likes to place an emphasis on females being in positions of power and I think that’s amazing, however I personally don’t focus much on how it feels to be a female business owner. I definitely don’t do this alone - I work very closely with my brother who is a well of wisdom and runs the operations and my dad, who does the numbers. although I’ve chosen a field in fashion which is predominantly women, I do work with a lot of testosterone. I think the challenge that comes with that is the expectation to always think and respond rationally and sometimes due to hormonal fluctuations, I can't do that and the irony is that it's not even in my control.
SELFSERVICE: How did you go from fashion blogger to having your own fashion label?
KD: I was making samples with my tailor and I just wanted to share that with other women. my dad invested in my idea and I registered for a dba, signed up for a shopify account, found a contractor to help with the production process, a textile distributor that sold dead stock fabrics, and i just figured it out as I went. No one in my family has worked in this industry before nor did I go to a major business school so most of what I’ve learned is from firsthand experience, asking questions, and failures.
SELFSERVICE: For any of our readers or customers who want to start their own business, what's one piece of advice you'd give them?
KD: There is really no blueprint or step-by-step guide on how to start and run a business. I think it just comes down to work ethic and an internal drive. other people can inspire you and encourage you but it’s not what they say to you that matters, I think it’s what the internal voice inside of you is saying to you.
SELFSERVICE: If you were to write your 20 year old self a letter - what would it say?
KD: I would tell her to be more mindful and observant, to ask more questions, to pay attention to the little details, and that she needs god to accomplish what she wants to accomplish because she can't do it alone.
SELFSERVICE: Could you give us an insight about why living and working in LA is so unique and different to other places?
KD:I’ve only ever lived in L.A. so to me L.A. is the best city, but that’s subjective of course! I love the weather, the plethora of healthy restaurant options, and I love that the city is pretty central to almost everything. I can jump in a car and be pretty much anywhere within a couple of hours - the beach in Malibu, the snowy mountains in Big Bear, or the desert in Palm Springs.
SELFSERVICE: As an LA insider - what are your tips, where are the best places to eat / what about bars? Wellness / exercise - markets? What are your recommendations?
KD: I don’t drink so I don’t have any good bar recommendations unfortunately! my husband and I love trying new restaurants though and my favorites are: REDBIRD for a fancy dinner, SQIRL for breakfast, ELLIE’S in Long Beach for good Italian, BESTIA also has delicious Italian food, MTN in Venice for Japanese, TRUE FOOD KITCHEN for farm-to-table vegetarian options, SPERANZA for a visually inspiring setting and inexpensive Italian, SEABUTTER for sushi, EREWHON MARKET for homemade paleo bread and the best food bar ever, BLUE BOWL in long beach for the açaí bowls, and finally our favorite coffee shop, ROSE PARK for the best coconut cold brew and sunlit seating.
SELFSERVICE: Finally what’s next from The Line by K - what can we expect for the future?
KD: We honestly take it one moment at a time. we definitely want to expand the team and hire teammates who believe in our mission. other than that, we just plan to keep growing, keep getting better in terms of the quality of fabrics and construction and keep creating cool, fresh basics.