After walking through the Karen Kane design room, sample room, production line and dispatch department, it’s very clear that the company is a large, complex and impressive operation. And it all began with Karen and husband Lonnie sewing together garments in their garage more than 30 years ago. In fact, the two pictures on the right below show young Karen and Lonnie doing their own production in the late 70’s. They worked extremely hard and didn’t take a vacation until their company was six years old. THAT is perseverance and dedication. How proud they must be of what they have accomplished.
Along with being an American-made clothing brand, Karen Kane is a strong family run business. You already know about eldest son Michael the Marketing Director, but there’s more. Karen’s Dad helped to design and build the cutting tables in the factory. And Lonnie’s 83 year old Mama still comes in four days a week to do the the accounts! Unfortunately we visited on her day off, but we saw Granny Kane’s office. Totally brilliant.
In the early 90’s Karen did a personal family photo shoot on the beach. The killer photos of Karen with young Michael ended up being so, so inspirational that Karen Kane used them in one of their seasonal campaigns. Just look at these absolutely beautiful shots of Karen and her son. WOW.
I mentioned to Karen that she should once more model for the Karen Kane brand. Wouldn’t that be brilliant? If I had a modeling agency, she should consider herself booked. Karen laughed her shy and endearing laugh and politely said that she would think about it. I am holding out hope!
Above is a photo of the other side of the the Karen Kane powerhouse. This is delightful husband Lonnie in his office getting on with his usual Tuesday and Friday afternoon tasks of signing piles and piles of cheques. Lonnie runs part of the finances in-between running production, selling collections at market, and sorting out all sorts of other problems that come up in a day. Just look at him get on with it with a huge big grin on his face. Love that.
I adore this photo of Karen, Lonnie and Michael. Two generations of an all American fashion brand and growing from strength to strength. That’s as powerful as the merchandise itself.
Last, but certainly not least, the adorable canine members of the Kane family come to work several days a week. Lucy and Jack have their own office complete with libations and snacks. They go for walks and rest in peaceful air-conditioning, doing their bit by being awfully cute and loyal company.
As I write this wearing one of my Karen Kane dresses, I see the passion, thought, hard work and family affection that went into each stitch. Family businesses are close to our hearts, so Greg and I are very inspired by Karen Kane. I am also excited about the newer and more contemporary labels Fifteen-Twenty and Red 23. I can’t wait to add these labels to my wardrobe.
I hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes peek at garment manufacture as much as we enjoyed experiencing and documenting it. I had great things to say about Karen Kane clothing before knowing anything about the company and it’s philosophy. After spending the day with incomparable Karen, knowledgeable Lonnie, talented Michael, and their awfully nice staff, I’m even more enamoured. If I had to sum up the brand in two words they would be Class Act.
Remember that Karen Kane is launching their online store on Friday, July 1. Stay tuned, because we’ll have a little surprise for you on the day of the launch.
- Design at Karen Kane
- Karen Kane’s Sample Room
- Clothing Production at Karen Kane
- Karen Kane’s Trim and Dispatch Departments
- Karen Kane the Family Business (this post)