#3: Carla Carstens, Entrepreneur & Creator

Introducing Carla Carstens, expert creator and business owner leading her own home decor brand inspired by travel and urban lifestyle.

Carla is another alumni from the Kara Ross NY business, who launched her own business afterwards in decor and accessories. Read on to learn more about her journey!

What do you consider your top 3 core values and how do they affect how you lead your business?

Just do something – I meet a lot of incredible individuals with excellent ideas who experience analysis paralysis to the point that they never end up launching. Not everything needs to be perfect to get going – do one thing every day to just get started. The idea of “launching a business can be daunting. As long as you have an excellent product that you wholeheartedly stand by, with a sustainable infrastructure to handle your basic business needs (production, fulfillment, ecommerce, etc.) you can launch. The rest will fall into place.
Measure – I’m sure you’ve heard the Peter Drucker quote, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” While I disagree in the sense that not everything that is good for your business can be measured, I do believe that you should set goals and track them, because it eliminates middle ground. You either met your goal, or didn’t. For example, I invested in the creation of a blog for one of my businesses, which I realized a few months in after reviewing analytics. If success had been measured by increasing brand awareness, it would have been a flop. However the goal was to improve SEO, which it did. So it was a win, and worth continuing the investment.
Be good – at the end of the day, all you have is your integrity. It is incredibly important to me to lead all of my businesses with that in mind. Be good to your customer, your partners, and your competitors.

Can you share a time you either thought you failed, or actually did fail? How did you react and move past it, and what impact did it have on business decisions?

I to this day consider my biggest failure to have occurred in High School, because this failure had the biggest impact on my life how I react to failure to this day. As your stereotypical high school overachiever, I participated in a multitude of clubs because I knew it looked good for college applications. Freshman through Junior year, I ran for class president, and proceeded to lose each year to a well-liked, and deserving classmate of mine. It was a huge blow to my ego, but my incredible mother encouraged me to try. Senior year, I had the option of running for school president. I checked my ego at the door, and decided to go for it. It was really scary to put myself out there, especially in the strange ecosystem that is high school. I won.
While this may seem insignificant now, I believe it’s the reason why I’m extremely resilient and confident in my decision making. My mom was right, it isn’t the end of the world!

What types of projects do you have coming up that we can look forward to seeing in the future?

My eponymous home accessories collection, Carla Carstens, has a few gorgeous collections launching this Spring/Summer, have been taking a more active role in my fashion internship business,FreeFashionInternships.com, and am launching a new product in the next few weeks for CC Party Co., my party décor line.
On a personal level, I have begun teaching a graduate-level PR course at LIM College, have begun my Masters in Management at Harvard, and continue to consult with fashion brands on their communications strategies. I am working on launching a women’s entrepreneurship podcast this year, so stay tuned on that as it’s in its very beginning stages.