Karina Waclawik is an enthusiastic 30-year-old creative woman who makes unique clothing using second-hand garments. Begun as a hobby 5 years ago, Dad’s Studs is gaining recognition in Poland – and is thought to have great potential abroad. This family business has many of the values and traits that are typical of Polish entrepreneurship.
I met Karina in the New Lady in Town Vintage & Art Store in the Powisle district of Warsaw at 12 Radna street.
The address is home to both her residence and the store where her creations are sold. Karina told me all about her brand, her inspiration and the way she sees business. Read on about her professional passion, her reflections on business and humility in life…
Karina, you make unique clothes from second-hand garments. How did you get this idea?
I come from a family of tailors. I‘m actually a hair stylist and makeup artist. I’m a creative person and I’m concerned about the environment. I don’t think we should throw away clothes we don’t want anymore. And stained clothes can be redesigned for a second life. So, 5 years ago, I started to think about making items from used materials. My very first creation was a bracelet made of jeans. I was inspired by a similar bracelet I’d seen in a magazine. That’s how it all started – as a hobby, alongside my job, together with my Dad.
You actually have 2 concepts…
Yes, I redesigned clothes for people who want to wear the clothes they have in a different way. We customise these clothes according to their tastes or my own inspiration. We add some materials; we dye them and give them a different cut…
Knowing Karina’s style, I would say it’s often all of the above (editor).
The other we work is by buying second-hand clothes – often abroad. I redesign them with the same idea and customisation I just mentioned and we sell them in the store.
What is your inspiration?
Actually, soon after I started making my own creations with my father, I broke up with my boyfriend and decided to go to New York. I wanted to live there. I lived in the district of Williamsburg, which was a huge source of inspiration for me. Everyone has their own style.
Before leaving Warsaw I met a guy and after 3 months I decided to come back to Poland. It’s just so difficult for us – Poles – in the US. We need a visa, we can’t work… It was a good motivation for me to come back home and commit to my new relationship. We’ll go back to New York sometime. I feel it’s important for me; it’s something I have to try.
Dad’s Studs is gaining widespread recognition, but you still work as a hair stylist…
Our little family business is finally doing well. We started making a profit last month. We have continuous production and we’ve hired 2 persons: Gabrysia who dyes clothes and another tailor. I mostly design clothes and my father does some tailoring as well – in addition to his regular job as a cook.
I’m very conservative when it comes to business. I don’t want to borrow money to develop it – it’s too much responsibility and risk. So, we develop our little business as much as we can. That’s why I don’t want to quit my job as a hair stylist because it is a reliable source of income for my family. And by the way, I’m a good stylist (laugh). My boyfriend is also an artist; he’s a rapper. In addition, my clients are also potential customers for my clothes – artists and singers who can buy my creations or wear them to a party or during a television appearance or video clip.
Your store only sells clothes for women…
Our collections are made for women, but if a male customer wants to customise or redesign some clothing, we’re happy to do that.
How much time do you need to customise clothes and what’s the cost?
We need about one week to finish a project and the cost totally depends on the item and kind of work. In our store, for example, jean shorts cost around PLN 250 and jackets PLN 550.
What has been the easiest thing in running your business?
Creation is definitively my thing. I love it; I’m good at it.
And what has been the most difficult so far?
Selling! We are not businessmen, just artists. I was very lucky I met Oliwia and it was her idea to open the New Lady store 4 months ago. Now that the business is developing, I really think I’m lacking marketing and business skills to develop it better. We’ll have to find a solution.