Hi lovelies, I am so pleased to announce that the next interview in our “Entrepreneurial series” is with the amazing Kara Ross!
A certified gemologist, Kara is also the founder of her fine jewellery line Kara Ross NY and the nonprofit media company “Unleashed World”.
Mrs. Ross has also had the prestigious patronage of the White House and was comissioned to create gifts for visiting world leaders during the Presidency of Mr. Barack Obama. Former First Lady Mrs. Michelle Obama has also been adorned in pieces from the the designer’s jewelry line during a number of public appearances.
Furthermore, a few remarkable pieces from the eponymous luxury brand can be seen at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York and the San Diego Natural History Museum, showcasing the authenticity of American craftmanship.
In a world where luxury brands can be disconnected from the harsh realities of this world, Kara has graciously used her platform to reach out, uplift and encourage other entrepreneurs.
Needless to say that it was truly an honor to be chosen by Mrs Ross and her “Unleashed World” team to participate in the promotional campaign of their empowering film series, “Connecting Thread”!
You can learn more about my awesome experience in my previous post and share in my admiration of Kara’s passion for humanitarian endeavors and heart for women entrepreneurs and their compelling stories.
Owing to these circumstances, it is no surprise that Kara’s social media accounts, her phenomenal brands and esteemed legacy all showcase a common thread… And that is the beauty of solidarity.
Everything a lovely Icon is about!
Hello Mrs. Kara Ross! Please present yourself and share a bit about your current work and jewelry brand.
I consider myself an artisan, although my medium may be diamonds, stones, gold, platinum, I am bringing a concept to life. I ran my own business for over 25+ years and sold to many top stores around the world, and am even lucky enough to have some pieces in museums. I stopped designing and manufacturing about 2 years ago, and now dedicate all of my time to UNLEASHED. Through my career, I’ve established a wonderful network and very strong relationships that have helped me push out this message of empowerment, and to tell the stories of our entrepreneurs and artisans around the world.
What inspired you to pursue your career in the jewelry industry and how did you start your journey?
I fell in love with jewelry as a teenager after making a trip to Africa with my family. We each got to pick a special stone, and when we returned to Philadelphia
(my hometown), my mother took me to Jeweler’s Row. I designed a square cut ring with a green tourmaline stone. I loved having the opportunity to create something, it sparked my passion for design and craftsmanship. After that
I attended Georgetown University (go Hoyas!), and when I graduated began working in advertising at Harpers Bazaar. I then attended GIA (the Gemological Institute of America) and started designing my own collections. I have worked in the accessories business for the past 25+ years and had the amazing pleasure of designing pieces for the Obama White House. About three years ago I hit a pivotal point in my career, and wanted to focus on giving back and empowering female entrepreneurs and artisans. With that in mind I transitioned my business to become a vehicle for philanthropy.
As a woman entrepreneur and certified gemologist, what was one of the most empowering experiences you’ve had in your career so far?
My career enabled me to express myself and empower other women through my craft, that has been the most empowering experience for me. Uncovering stories about women, telling them through the lens of film, and inspiring the next generation of leaders.
The jewelry design industry can be very competitive, how do you stay grounded and can you share some books that have impacted you positively?
My family and colleagues keep me grounded. As an entrepreneur you must understand that there are always new things to learn. You are NEVER finished learning, so educate yourself and stay up to date on your craft and skill set. I am an avid reader, but I also look for inspiration through digital platforms and short videos to discover and learn new information.
What words of advice or encouragement would you have for other young people interested in launching their own brand?
I was about twelve years old with my mother getting groceries at the A&P. There was some promotion going on where if you got a specific amount of receipts you would get a watch. I really wanted the watch and we didn’t have enough receipts. The women purchasing groceries in front of us had many receipts from her groceries. My mom told me to go ask her for them, I was so hesitant and uncomfortable at the thought. My mother turned to me and said, “the word ‘no’ doesn’t hurt.” That one line from my mother has served me well my whole life. You hear the word “no” a lot, and so what? Regardless, you just have to keep going.
Other points of advice for future entrepreneurs are:
Never feel stupid for asking questions:
Sometimes you may want to impress people or be the smartest person in the room, but everyone is always learning and growing. Never feel stupid for asking questions and putting your thoughts or opinions out there.
Don’t ASSUME anything:
Assumptions are dangerous, I’ve learned to always over-communicate and make
sure things are written and clear so there are no miscommunications.
Have a trustworthy and passionate team that supports you: You
can’t be good at EVERYTHING and do it all at once by yourself. You need to have
great people on your side that work hard and are willing to roll up their sleeves.
The word no doesn’t hurt:
I have been told NO so many times throughout my career but I have never let it
Not everyone will understand your vision, but keep following your heart:
You have to have a clear focus and vision and goal that you are working towards. Not everyone will be able to see it, but trusting your gut and intuition is extremely
Thank you for sharing those encouraging words! What’s next on your journey to lovely (your future goals and aspirations)?
UNLEASHED is now creating a content series of digital shorts that ignites discovery and exploration by highlighting high profile female entrepreneurs. Our purpose is to entertain, educate and inspire the next generation of thoughtful leaders. The content series will be funny, aspirational and powerful. The films will serve as a tool for the audience to explore and be inspired by the career paths of our subjects.
This will be incredibly impactful as we learn through laughter how our subjects built their success through leadership, entrepreneurship, and pushing through life’s adversities. UNLEASHED will collaborate with the most innovative, creative, diverse leaders so that our library can showcase talent across all industry genres that include: fashion, finance, sports, food, travel, and design with top industry leaders.
Our journey to lovely platform, held an event with the theme “You were made to sparkle”, to uplift the victims of Hurricane Irma and share our belief that every woman is a precious gem. Is that a message that resonates with you?
Absolutely, I believe that women have similar attributes to precious gems. We are strong, multifaceted, and unbreakable.
Thank you for sharing, truly wish you the best! Where can we keep up with you online?
You can watch our first three-part documentary film series called #ConnectingThread on refinery29.com and visit our website www.Unleashed- World.com
Thank you Kara for your time, consideration and even online support.
I hope you all enjoyed this lovely exchange and make sure to stay tuned for our next interview!