KM Power Women is a new, monthly series surrounding strong, influential women, with a focus on the real person behind the accolades.
This series is set to explore the personality – and strength – behind these strong, female forces. Each month will have its own individual theme, tailored to the woman at the centre. In an exclusive one on one interview, we’ll explore their story, who they are, and what gave them their power.
Firstly, Karen Millen speaks to Carol Kane, Co-Founder of a Global Ecommerce group. Carol speaks on her incredible career so far, how she maintains her confidence in a male-dominated industry, what remain her fashion fail-safes and techniques to protect wellness in stressful situations.
CAN YOU SHARE YOUR CAREER STORY SO FAR?
I wanted to become a fine artist, got side-tracked and then ended up being a fashion designer. I started my career in Hong Kong for my first day of work, I took a leap of faith and got on a plane. I then went back and forth, ending up back in the UK. About four years later I started working in London as a fashion designer, and then eventually moved up North for another business, and ended up being a fashion buyer, then director, and then finally landed in the wonderful world of ecommerce.
HAVE THERE EVER BEEN ANY SITUATIONS WHERE YOU’VE BEEN NEGATIVELY IMPACTED AS A WOMAN?
Becoming a public business, it was a whole new learning for me. I was surrounded by the banking industry and I found it really difficult.
So, to go into another world, I found that really challenging, but what I did, was thought ‘well they don’t really know my subject’! Once I understood that I knew my subject better than anyone else, the confidence came back, because who’s really going to question the fashion authority?
HOW HAS THE FASHION INDUSTRY PROGRESSED FOR SENIOR FEMALES?
The fashion industry has progressed, however I still don’t think there’s enough representation on the top table. I think we’ve got a good balance now, of female directors coming through. I hope that I’ve been part of that journey now for many, in terms of who I hire, and who I can inspire and mentor.
WHAT IS YOUR EVERYDAY UNIFORM?
My staples tend to be a blazer and a pair of leather kind of trousers or something with a small heel, and the summertime I tend to live in linen because I’m so comfortable in linens, and I like my sneakers – sometimes it’s as simple as a white shirt and pair of blue jeans.
Shop Carol's Favourite Pieces
WHAT PIECE OF CLOTHING ALWAYS GIVES YOU CONFIDENCE?
A blazer, every time. It sharpens the look.
WHAT’S THE STAPLE PIECE THAT YOU’VE ALWAYS HAD IN YOUR WARDROBE?
Every woman has got to have a black dress in her wardrobe, it suits all occasions. For me, it’s about the 7/8 pant that I wear day in day out, it’s about a blue jean or a black jean, it really is the kind of things I can wear with everything.
Black Work Dresses
IS THERE ANYONE YOU ASPIRE TO?
I don’t have a single person that I aspire to, I’ve surrounded myself with fantastic powerful women across this journey that have actually reported into me. I’m so taken aback by some of their ideas and some of the learnings that I’ve had from them.
HOW DO YOU ENSURE THAT YOU ARE ALWAYS GROWING, BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY
I've still got loads to do! The whole globalisation piece for any of our brands, including Karen Millen. We’ve started on that journey of re-establishing the UK, looking at what the global footprint looks like so that’s really exciting. Personally, I’m getting a bit more into my yoga, I’ve been doing my meditation, getting a bit more balance.
HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOUR WELLNESS ON A DAILY BASIS?
I believe in always being disciplined; I think a little bit of self-discipline. I try and get in probably between four and seven sessions of some kind of exercise a week, I watch what I eat, limit my alcohol intake, and I try and get as much sleep as I can.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO LOOK AFTER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH?
I think you have to balance it off, I think I can be successful in my day job, and I’ll be better in my day job if I do these other things. I feel better for going to the gym in the morning and having an odd day when I do a detox, and I just feel overall better for it.