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Spotlight – Kona

About The Designers

Spotlight – Kona

Janet Mugume

Bhavya Kalsi. Partner and Co-Founder of Kona – cool, fun and whimsical goodies. Made in Uganda. Available in store.

 

What were you like in high school?

Wild.

 

What is your definition of bold?

When you can be “you” without fear // UNAPOLOGETIC //.

 

How would you describe yourself in one word?

Go–getter.

 

What would your superpower be?

Mommy powers.

 

Where is your “happy" place?

With my kids, or in my studio designing.

 

What are the questions that you don’t like to answer?

‘How do you find the time?’

 

Without saying your age, tell us something from your childhood that you remember that a younger person wouldn't understand.

Boy bands.

 

Which words or phrases do you overuse?

‘Dude’.

 

Who inspires you to be better?

My children - I want them to know no dream is too small, and to never give up.

 

What compliment do you receive most often?

These days it's about the journey of Kona.

 

What is your hidden talent?

I can cook with whatever is available, you won’t starve with me around. Lol.

 

What is your star sign?

Cancer.

 

What TV show do you most identify with?

Madam Secretary.

 

What is your favorite word in your native language, and what does it mean?

‘Kismat’ it means ‘Destiny’ in Hindi, my native language.

 

What is one of your guilty pleasures?

Binge watching TV.

 

What are you looking forward to?

Kona becoming a household name.

 

Describe your brand in one word.

Quirky Ugandan.

 

Tell us about your background, how & when did you decide to start your entrepreneurial journey?

I was an art director in advertising, so I always had a flair for being creative, playing with patterns, colors etc. When I became a mommy, I knew I had to be my own boss because if I didn’t channel my creative energy, I’d go mad.  So, Kona was born the same year that I became a mother of two.

 

How would you describe your overall style?

Quirky and bold.

 

Out of all your collections, which has been your favorite to design?

My horn jewelry, because I think we were able to create the unexpected out of it.

 

Are there any elements that you carry through all your designs?

Versatility and functional elements.

 

What is your least favorite part of being self-employed?

You can’t blame your boss for working long hours.

 

Give us a little hint! What should we expect from you at Bold this season?

Bigger and Bolder – can’t say anymore.

 

What are you currently working on?

New bags and making sure our UNAPOLOGETIC collection is in stores.

 

What are your current favorite fashion trends?

The Circle Bag - I feel very excited that we were ahead of the trend, we made our first circle bag three years ago.

 

How do you stay up-to-date with what is trending?

I follow fashion weeks around the world very closely.

 

What is a typical workday like for you?

This is a passion project, so mornings are kept for my day job. Post lunch, I work on Kona designing, production and book keeping.

 

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Launching a 360 line from clothes to accessories at the 2016 Kampala Fashion Week.

 

How do you keep your team motivated?

We’re in it together. So every launch and every success story is a new piece of motivation for the team.

 

How did people initially respond to your work? And how do they respond to it now?

I have to say, everyone's been very supportive and receptive from the beginning. We are now considered to be an up-coming, homegrown, Ugandan brand.

 

If you could collaborate with any African fashion designer, who would it be? And why?

Maki Oh. We have a similar ethos, a strong sense of identity and they too love to challenge beauty norms!

 

Kona necklace, cuff, bag and skirt – available in store.