When it comes to accessory designers that know how to make a statement, Kara Ross is one of those talented women we’ve admired for years. With her recently launched venture, DIAMONDS UNLEASHED, we took a moment to find out more about this line that is not only an accessory but an empowering movement.
Athleisure Mag: What is DIAMONDS UNLEASHED and how did you come up with this?
Kara Ross: DIAMONDS UNLEASHED is a brand with a social purpose that symbolizes, promotes and supports women’s empowerment. Brought to life through a collection of products, a network of influential ambassadors, and a platform of compelling content, DIAMONDS UNLEASHED celebrates that women, like diamonds, are brilliant, multi-faceted and unbreakable.
After an extensive education and career in fine jewelry I found myself resetting my own diamond engagement ring. As I worked, I wondered why, with all of the change women’s empowerment has seen in today’s society, do diamonds still have such an antiquated meaning? With the connections I had already built in my jewelry career, I made it my mission to create a brand that surrounds and supports a cause which I strongly believe in - women’s empowerment.
AM: How important is DIAMONDS UNLEASHED?
KR: It’s really everything. I completely closed my fine jewelry and handbag wholesale business to focus solely on the DIAMONDS UNLEASHED movement. At this stage in my life I want to give back and I believe that by creating a business that supports organizations that empower and educate girls will help make posivite change because you give a girl an education it not only gives her opportunity, it gives opportunity to her family and strengthens the whole community.
AM: What is Stilettos on the Ground?
KR: Stilettos on the Ground are what we call our network of ambassadors who are supporting us and helping us spread our message. These ambassadors are the living, breathing embodiment of DIAMONDS UNLEASHED. They agree to give us a statement about what their Diamond means to them, photos, and a commitment to share our messages via their platforms. Many ambassadors become more actively engaged, speaking at our events, creating opportunities to showcase our mutual commitment to women’s empowerment (for example, co-hosting salons) and providing advisory services.
AM: What do you mean by unleashing the diamond?
KR: It’s about disruption. Diamonds are probably the only item that women shy away from buying themselves. DIAMONDS UNLEASHED is about
looking at a diamond, the hardest most beautiful substance on earth, and having that symbolize women’s strength. My mission is to engineer a
great rethink about how diamonds are bought, given and perceived and then to use that shift as a platform to address issues that enable women to achieve their potential.
AM: Why did you partner with CanadaMark™ Diamonds?
KR: We partnered with CanadaMark™ to ensure that each diamond comes directly from Dominion’s share of production from either the Ekati or Diavik diamond mines. Dominion is Canada’s largest independent diamond producer and the third largest diamond producer globally by value. CanadaMark™ is committed to promoting a safe and healthy workplace, protecting the environment, developing local communities and delivering a
high quality product.
AM: What was your decision behind the brand being accessible and available at Neiman Marcus and HSN?
KR: We wanted the DIAMONDS UNLEASHED collection to be available at a variety of price points and have something for everyone. This is an inclusive movement reaching all age demographics and different income levels. Each of our retail partners are “best in class” for their category, offering different income levels as well as providing a unique perspective for the collection and an existing core customer for us to reach.
AM: How do you juggle your time between the Kara Ross brand and DIAMONDS UNLEASHED?
KR: I completely closed my fine jewelry and handbag wholesale business to focus solely on the DIAMONDS UNLEASHED movement. This is such a big undertaking and with a small team and myself, we need to focus just on one thing.
AM: What are your 3 favorite pieces from your Diamonds Unleashed collection?
KR: Three is so few to choose! I love the diamond and key necklace from that collection. Our #ShesBrilliant Collection for Neiman Marcus will be
available in May and there are so many beautiful pieces. I love the section necklace which has three sections of the DIAMONDS UNLEASHED
symbol back to back with pave set diamonds and the ear cuffs that feature the diamond encrusted symbol climbing up the ear.
AM: With the success of your brand how do you achieve balance and stay connected/present?
KR: I try to get a little exercise everyday, and on others a lot of exercise. I also take time for myself where I really can “check out” and recharge – I
do that by reading and also watching films. I also spend time with my family everyday and put away the devices so I can really focus on them without interruption.
AM: How do you prepare for the new year personally, as a brand as well as igniting women’s empowerment?
KR: Myself and our entire team have taken a few weeks to work remotely and spend time with friends and family. I think it’s helping us recharge
after such a busy Fall with the official launch of the brand and our premiere with HSN. I have a lot of fresh ideas and am more energized than ever
about what we’re doing. We’ve had some time to reflect on what we accomplished this year and plan for the new collections and projects coming
in 2016. I think it’s important to have some downtime, it allows for creative ideas to flow.
AM: What does Balance Next (a mantra for us) mean to you?
KR: To me it’s all about balance in life. To be my best self in my career, I also need to take care of myself by exercising, eating healthy, doing things
I enjoy outside of work and most important to me spending time with my husband, daughters and extended family.
AM: What are your 3 must do’s in your personal time (ie favorite studio fitness, brunch spot, etc)?
KR: Exercise – my 3 favorite studios are SoulCycle, Physique57 and Exhale. I am not a foodie, but when I am home, I love Landmarc in the Time
Warner Center for breakfast. Read – I love losing myself in a great book.
AM: Athleisure is about comfortable clothes that can transition from the gym, to brunch, meetings and a night out or jetsetting - what are 3 favorite pieces that are great within your athleisure look?
KR: I am in love with the Bandier Fitness line, Jennifer is a friend and also a DIAMONDS UNLEASHED “Stiletto on the Ground”. I love her airbrushed leggings and hooded wrap with a simple tank underneath – great weekend wear for me!
Read more interviews, features, editorials and more in the Jan issue.