To celebrate the momentous grand opening of the Kaela Kay Fashion Boutique & Design Studio, we revisit our conversation with Catherine Addai, the CEO and trailblazing print diva behind Kaela Kay - a transformative and inclusive brand inspired by Catherine's African roots.
“We’re trying to teach people that being different is great and that everything doesn’t have to be hanging out for it to be sexy and beautiful.” - Catherine Addai
Catherine Addai is an award-winning designer and the creative mind behind Kaela Kay. You’ve seen her designs worn by celebrities, including Ava DuVernay. And if you were watching the recent royal wedding, one of her dresses made an appearance there too!
Catherine describes herself as ‘bold, fearless and fierce!’, and her personal style as ‘modern, demure, sexy’. But it wasn’t that long ago that Catherine was working a ‘regular day job’ in the health sector. It was out of frustration that she made her first dress – her seamstress hadn’t made a dress she wanted to wear to an event. Her mother gave her a sewing machine and encouraged her to start making her own clothes.
Her first piece took her more than a month to make, but she knew she was on to something when people started asking about her designs.
“If you make a decision, stick to it. If that is what you want to go for, go for it. I am a believer in the reality of dreams. I had a dream and by divine intervention, support, God, and the talent God has given me, I was able to manifest that into a reality.” - Catherine Addai
Kaela Kay, which was named after Catherine and her oldest daughter Mikaela, was launched in 2012. The brand stands out with its bold prints and Catherine’s fearlessness in mixing prints and colours. One year after its launch, CNN named Catherine one of ‘Africa’s Hottest New Fashion Designers’.
Over time, and encouraged by the incredible response to her collections, Catherine gave up the security of her ‘day job’, and threw herself fully into being the Creative Director for Kaela Kay. And as the saying goes, she hasn’t looked back since.
While the brand is currently based in Toronto, Catherine is looking to expand operations. She’s also looking for ways to work with women in her native Ghana, as well as across the African continent, to help provide them with economic empowerment.
“So if you have a dream out there go for it. Cultivate it and have fun doing it. Meet wonderful people. Meet as many people as you can. Be open. Be outgoing. Have a good time because, you just never know. You never know who you’re going to meet, never know who you’re going to inspire, or who’s going to inspire you.” - Catherine Addai
Catherine Adda is a testament to what happens when we pursue our passion and purpose with great fervor. What started out as a dress she made out of necessity has become her medium of empowering other women. She has turned “being fashionable” into something formidable, which is probably why she has won the admiration and support of women from around the world.
What you’ll learn in this episode
Follow NDINI on:
Website: http://www.ndini.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NDINImedia/ Twitter: @NDINImedia Instagram: @ndinimedia
Follow The NDINI Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher and SoundCloud