Local Love: Karen Carmichael of Jai Style
Local Love-Karen Carmichael of Jai Style
We had the pleasure of interviewing Karen Carmichael about her Jai Style company here in Vancouver. We love what she had to say about her company! Read on to find our more about Karen.
When I moved to Vancouver from SE Asia four years ago, I had brought several of the ceramic pieces with me in my personal collection. When friends would come to my home they would comment on how much they liked them and how well suited they were for the west coast lifestyle. It made sense to me. After all there is sea life here when the tide goes out!
While I was living in Bangkok I discovered amulets that were worn by the Thai people for protection. I had an amulet encased in sterling silver and strung on semi precious stones which I wear everyday. I feel the amulets really embody the meaning of Jai, being mindful and present.
What inspired you to take your passions and make them into a business?
It was never planned to be a business but the incredible reception people gave me inspired me. I am passionate about spirituality and feel that I am quite evolved spiritually. I love being able to offer my clients a small piece of this in the form of an amulet in the hopes that they will feel the same benefits.
In my former life I was a senior consultant in the hotel business. This type of work involved market feasibility studies, financial appraisals and operational reviews of hotels. Although I have been able to incorporate my knowledge of business into Jai Style it is really nothing like what I used to do which is nice because now I have an opportunity to nurture my creative side.
Do you work from home or from an office space?
I have a warehouse space here in Vancouver but I work from home. Although working from home seems like a great option I find that I have to be very disciplined, especially when trying to balance home and work life.
We know you have two daughters still at university. How do you find balance between family and your business?
My daughters are now 22 and 20 years old and both have been so supportive of my business. My eldest daughter recently graduated from University in California with a BF in Graphic Design. She has been a huge help to me since she works in an industry that is all about branding, web design, and communication. My youngest daughter is a social media guru so her knowledge and inpout has been invaluable too. Since they are older and living their own lives I find it pretty easy to balance my time.
Being your own boss, how do you manage your time? How do you find time for yourself?
I am really passionate about staying fit and healthy so that is a priority for me before I begin work everyday. I’m up super early every morning and I go to the Dailey Method and then walk my German Shepherd on the beach. After that I begin my day! An advantage of working at home is that you are pretty unrestricted when it comes to the work environment so I love to listen to podcasts and Super Soul Sunday while I work which offers a nice balance. I always end the day by cooking a fabulous meal with my partner. It’s something we are both passionate about and enjoy doing together.
Karen’s beautiful home:
We believe that featuring women in business is important. What would you like to say about women being entrepreneurs and taking the leap for themselves?
One thing I have learned is that fear is our compass. We have to go in the direction of what scares us and it’s not always easy but the reward of success and sense of accomplishment is so worth it. I think women are such multi faceted individuals-we are mothers, wives, partners, caregivers, homemakers…It is important to me to always remember the person that I am and want to be for my family and friends and not let what I do for a living define me. I also think it’s really important that women entrepreneurs support each other. I could never have accomplished what I have without the support of some great women.
Describe your dreams for your business. What do you see for business in 5 years?
The main thing that keeps me going is the fact that I have so much room to improve and I haven’t peaked yet. Someday Jai Style is going to be so much better than it is today and I like knowing that. In the next five years I would like to increase my presence in the United States as well as spend more time in Asia which is where I draw so much of my inspiration and enables me to continue to design new pieces. My main hope is for continued wide acceptance so I can continue to make a contribution to my clients.
Thank you so much Karen for telling us all about Jai Style. I urge you all to go to Karen’s website and have a peek!! http://www.jaistyle.com/