Female Founder Spotlight: Tracy from Kalaki Riot
Tracy Palac Dungo, 28New York City Kalaki Riot
Kalaki Riot is a handmade jewelry line based in New York City. Our designs are carefully crafted by hand using traditional methods of wax carving, various fabrication techniques, and unique findings that we discover or source. Created to reflect a more thoughtful and easy way of living, it is our hope that our pieces empower women everywhere to celebrate themselves, their passions, and the life they want to live. [divider type="white"]
What did you want to be when you "grew up"?
A hula girl. And then a doctor. I come from a very medical family, so imagine the conversations I was forced to have when I graduated college, already having taken a handful of pre-med requirements, and decided to pursue a career in corporate finance instead.
Tell us about the job you held right before you decided to go out on your own. Did you walk into this job knowing you were eventually going to work for yourself?
I was a marketing manager at a publishing company. I enjoyed it, especially working for a title that I liked, but I think I always knew in the back of my mind that I didn't want to spend the rest of my life doing just that. That being said, I learned so many things during my time there - everything from retention to acquisition to consumer touch points and overall marketing. In fact, all of my previous work experience has proven to be invaluable as I navigate running my own business.
What were the advantages or disadvantages of being a woman in a corporate environment? Did you ever feel like you hit a glass ceiling or worked with others who did?
The workplace I was previously in was pretty female dominated, and it was inspiring to see strong, independent, and smart women in executive-level positions. I never really felt like I hit a glass ceiling because of that dynamic (at least at my level). If anything, the challenges came more so from being a millennial, not so much being female.
When did you first realize that working for yourself may be a good idea, and was there a certain event that made you finally take the plunge?
I had been doing my jewelry on the side for about six or seven months before it got to a place where I couldn't really expand it without working on it full-time. That's when I finally took the plunge. I'm happy that it worked out that way though. The transition made it seem more like starting any new job. I already had a website in place, inventory on-hand, and packaging and branding already thought out. I just had to keep the business growing (which is likely what you are always brought on to do for any company). It wasn't like I had to start over and design business cards.
Never stop learning. There are always classes you can take or people to talk to that will help and benefit you somehow in running a business. Skillshare is a great resource.
What would you like Feminist Wednesday readers to know about your business?
My business was born from a passion I didn't even know I had. And it took a random jewelry making class as a creative outlet to my day job to figure it out. It is certainly a lot of work but it hardly ever feels like it.
Identify your natural strengths and passions, and then strive to build a life around them. Whether it ends up being a career or remains a hobby, there is nothing better than filling as many of your days with doing what you love.