Hello there, I'm the creator & founder of CAROLINSKI.
My real name is Carola // Caro and I was born in 1993 in Tyrol/Austria/Europe.
My real name is Carola // Caro and I was born in 1993 in Tyrol/Austria/Europe.
So where should I start? It doesn't feel right, to just mention my brands story.
I AM MY BRAND.
My whole story led to the point where I'm standing now and it feels like a responsibility to share my steps, in case some of you need a piece of advice or simply just some motivation and inspiration for your own business or career.
So let's start quick and dirty with elementary school. No real sewing with machines, but still...
During these 4 years, it turned out pretty clear, that I wanna have a job related to art. I just remember myself always drawing... It was just something natural for me, like breathing.
Next step, secondary school. Technical drawing lessons were added to the usual drawing classes. Even though it's not my thing, I was just happy that we were allowed to draw one hour more each week. Additionally, we finally had sewing classes, where we were allowed to sew with machines. I was so excited about this. My mum gave me her machine to learn. BIG SHOUTOUT TO MY MUM. At this point I have to say, I wouldn't hand my sewing machine to anyone, specially not to kids! SO BIG THANKS TO MY MUM, who has taken away my fear of sewing machines in my early days already.
In the last two years of secondary school, we also had informatics.
Hell yeah, word art calling.... and I remember already feeling triggered by the lack of design possibilities. Fortunately my dad owned a Adobe Photoshop license back in these days and I started to learn Photoshop in the age of 13. So BIG SHOUT OUT TO MY DAD as well. I would never have been able to get access to this creative magically world and to my future without you.
So after secondary school, you already have to choose for a certain kind of path you want to go. It was very clear to me, that I want to work as a graphic designer and my parents found a school which focused on digital art. I had to show some kind of portfolio and I had to pass entrance exam to get in.
I prepared everything with such a huge passion, and motivation. I wanted to get into this school so hard.
And then..... oh lord. I did not get into my dream school.
I remember myself feeling totally lost & rejected for the very first time. It was like, they told me I couldn't be an artist. At least it felt like this. I've torn the "worst" drawings of my portfolio. Thinking: It's my own fault I didn't get into this school. I'm just not good enough for that stuff called art.
Of course I had to visit another school after secondary school.
Plan B was an Economic College, mainly for girls. Yes, it sounds as uncreative as it is. Sorry to everyone who needs these schools for their education. I'm sure it will be something good for you. But for me.... it really was HELL. I was such a good student until I came into this school. It broke my spirit. Some really bad teachers combined with the most dramatic b!tch fights among pubescent girls. Especially normal girls, who do not accept/understand alternative kids. I was an emo kid back in 2008, with about 4-5 other alternative girls among 500 students in the whole school. I just always knew I did not belong there. My only rays of hope were those tiny single drawing and sewing classes between all these boring classes, which sucked life out of me.
But even sewing classes were kind of annoying back then. Of course, I learned the basics, but I rarely could sew what I had designed on paper. Basically just because our fabric shop did not offer the fabrics I planed for my design.
So I remember one project, where I painted leo pattern on my own, just to get the fabric that I wanted. Just imagine how all the other girls looked at me. (most of them hated sewing classes, unimaginable for them to spend even more time, painting your own fabric)
I just never felt as misunderstood as during these 3 years and it was expectable that I had to leave this school as soon as possible. I was constantly checking job offers for an apprenticeship as a graphic designer. After some time I finally found one at a very modern agency for packaging design with awesome big clients. As soon as I got final approval for my new job, I left the school. I still remember that life changing moment, when I had to run out of my class room as my boss called to tell me I've got the job. After we hang up, i got back to my class room, packed my things and left instantly. Bye bye.... never ever see y'all again.
I guess I did not even kind of deregistered from this school officially.
I was just so done with it xD
And from that point, it felt like I was finally back on track. That job gave me everything I needed to feel myself again. My co-workers and my boss were sooooooooooooooo cool, omg. The whole environment of this agency was just how I imagined. Professional and yet still freaky and relaxed. My boss gave me quite much freedom and such cool projects to work. Which is really uncommon, usually you have to do all the lame work as an apprentice.
So after 3,5 years I finished my apprenticeship successfully and I was ready for something new. During these 3,5 years, I've learned so much about graphic design but also more about myself, my values and goals. Unfortunately I had to quit my job, with tears. These people meant so much to me, and it was really hard to leave them. The reasons why I've left were our clients, or let me say their products. I can't design packaging for products, whose values don't fit to mine. I don't say their products were bad, but it was just something I don't wanted to support with my creative energy.
After my job as graphic designer specialized in packaging design, I found a job at an international lightning company, which headquarters is in Tyrol. After a very family-owned tiny agency, this huge company seemed very impersonal. But I enjoyed that kind of anonymity. The marketing department, or let me say the team I was working with, was simply amazing. To this point I've just designed alone. But my co-workers there gave me a taste of amazing teamwork. We designed different sales documents, brochures and the annual boss project: the main catalogue which is about 700 pages and thousands of products. This project still give me chills. 2-3 months stressful as hell, 10h every day - totally normal. All were exhausted but still our vibe was so high... sometimes it felt like we understood eachother without even speaking. We all knew our responsibilities and tasks and we all gave our best to not let anyone down. Even though this company was not the right place for me, I still enjoy thinking back to that team and my time in this company. I've learned a lot, as I mentioned, about teamwork, but also how to handle big product lists and how to bring informations closer to customers.
Still I had to quit this job after only one year.
There was a lot of change during this year.
I met my boyfriend, who lived 500 km away from my hometown. I've never really felt attached to my hometown, so I was sure I would move to his place after some time and so I did. Earlier than expected, but everything felt so right with him.... so hell, why not :D He still is and always was my number one supporter and he brings so much patience and understanding into this relation ship, which I never experienced before.
Just half a year before I moved to his place, I registered my own business. After I felt save in my private life and after some very long motivational kick-ass speeches from a befriended self employed photographer, I just had to risk it and try my own thing.
My business was just coexistent with my full time job at the lightning company in the first place. I moved to my boyfriends place and was looking for a full-time job as a graphic designer again, because at this point I still was not sure if I would be able to run my own company. I found another job in Vienna..... and I don't want to get into detail about this..... Worst job I've ever had.... it was so bad, that I lost hope in humanity at some point. And that disappointment made me decide, to jump into the self employment 100%. Which was a pretty bold move! I was in my early 20s, I just left my hometown and basically knew nobody except my boyfriends people. I started to design logos for some of his friends, and later for bigger companies as well. I tried to put myself and my art out there. Social media was a big help, just to built a community and to get a feeling what I actually want to do with my business. How do I combine all my skills and interests to one badass business. Somehow it just took its own way. I remember my first post on fb, which was not really graphic design related.
I published a jacket which I sewed for myself, with matching stockings and I wrote "attention side project" into the post. This still makes me laugh so hard.... omg....
If I'd known how much attention this so called "side project" get's, I definitely would have prepared better for it.
I did not plan to built my own clothing label until that point. So I sat down, turned on all my brain cells and finally got the idea for the business of my dreams:
Customizable fashion, for girls like me.
For powerful alternative ladies who are out for something EXTRA!
Who expect more from the fashion industry, than just annual trends and anxiety!
I started to sell merchandise clothes with my designs on it, I focused on the improvement of my fabric print skills and techniques, but I always felt like these merchandise clothes need some unique touch with my sewing skills. So I ended up sewing everything by my own, printing my own artworks all by myself from scratch.
This is a 100% one-woman show
And the result is what you can purchase now in my online shop.
You do not only purchase a producht, you purchase my story, my skills, my passion. You support a young alternative & independent woman who is determinded to dedicate her life to creativity and diversity.
That's it for now. Congrats if you came this far and big thanks for reading my story <3
If you want to get more details about my actual work and creations, make sure to check out CONCEPT page.