Designs which meld the past and present are the end product of a long journey of self discovery walked by founder of the brand, Lena Kasparian.
I launched my brand back in 2013 and opened my first boutique in Parramatta a year later (2014), with the Rosebay boutique opening in 2016. The experience was exhaustingly exciting but well worth it.
I designed the space in my head with the colours and theme and walked the steps one by one towards my desired outcome. As the stock was ready during the design process, we had to organise the store fit out as quickly as possible, but once everything was in place there was little to do but prepare for the launch party.
Developing the brand was time-consuming, but once people learned of my label it had a snowball effect. I found that word of mouth was the most powerful tool, better than any source of advertising. I believe my reputation is almost flawless, and I am proud of my ability to communicate with customers and be proactive within the industry. No matter what the future holds, I will endeavour to continue my hands-on approach in order to building meaningful and close relationships with my clients.
The lessons along the way…
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t be scared to take risks as you never know where each situation could potentially land you.
I learnt that the challenges we face daily are what help us deal with stress and crisis, and the more you deal with these things, the better you get at it. It is akin to being a body builder; the more they lift the stronger and more capable they are to then push even harder. It’s a survival mechanism. I’ve valued every defeat, I’ve developed immunity to pressure and as I result I work better.
I was raised by workaholic parents. Responsibility was handed to me at a young age and I took it seriously. At 17, I was managing one of our jewellery stores in Parramatta, and always put the business first.
It’s not the conditions we face, but the decisions we make that determine our lives, however we choose to live them, being personal or business; we all have a goal.
My advice is…
Don’t let disappointment discourage you, own your fears and face them head on, and push your limits out of the way. I guess my darkest days made me realise I had the potential to beat all odds, that my life is in my own hands and only I have the power to make the changes to either develop or distract. I am in control, I am the calm before and after the storm.
How I came to launch my company…
I was lucky enough to be raised by workaholic parents who thrived on building a reputation in business, from the jewellery and diamond trade to fashion. Retail skill was literally fed to me on a silver spoon. Responsibility was handed to me at a very young age and I took it very seriously.
At the age of 17, I was managing one of our jewellery stores in Parramatta, and I always put the business first. While my twin sister was out travelling and exploring the world I stayed back and worked hard. I worked with my parents in the rag trade for a few years and discovered my strengths.
On a personal level, my story started in 2011, as a divorced single mother of two and a domestic incident that ended in tragedy. I evaluated my purpose, in that not only did I have to make changes to better my own future but also that of my children’s.
I realised my life had to reset and restart.
Why clothing is so important…
The way I see it, clothing is one of the most essential parts of life as we live in a materialistic society where fashion dictates lifestyle. Clothing tells a story about us, our personalities, our characters and temperament. It is a gateway to our individuality and each person has a story which we can read by the style they possess.
Clothing is also of cultural significance. Different fabrics, prints and texture all have a purpose in different parts of the world. We all wear our identity.
What you should know about Lena Kasparian designs…
My designs are not conventional or quirky, they are unique with the flavour of old charm and a timeless era. An intersection between art deco and vintage glam with a simple modern twist.
My designing technique is quite simple. I come up with a concept which I then draw. From that, we create a sample piece, make the required changes of fabric colour pattern, then make a final sample piece and finally develop the production. I don’t mass produce, so with most gowns I only make two or three of them, and cocktail dresses maybe a dozen. Couture or custom bridal pieces are a one off, which gives my collections a special feel.
My approach is straightforward. I design dresses that I would wear personally, and I design suits I’d like to see on men. Men are just as difficult as women, so it is a similar journey in both aspects.
The black panther came to me in my dreams at a very difficult time in my life, when I was going though a tragic ordeal and I had lost a loved one in a domestic violent incident. I grew fond of this mysterious creature and over the years the significance of its resence in my life became clearer. As I rebuilt my life and found inner peace, the panther was always with me in my mind. I felt compelled to create my logo around this black beauty of the wild as it was my silent symbol of courage. The designs which I create are a resemblance of this powerful totem; elegant and graceful and I hope it brings out the beauty of each individual from within.
What does 2017 hold for Lena Kasparian?
I plan to complete my first international fashion runway show and hopefully develop more ready to wear collections such as the popular pantsuits for women. I have developed my own perfume which is not ready for release – timing is everything. I have also developed my own bespoke candle which will be available soon, and who knows, maybe a third store in Melbourne.
Plans are endless and so is time – I’ll leave it to God.
560 Old South Head Road, Rose Bay 2029
380 Church Street, Parramatta 2150