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Meet Karolina Muyingo of Nuit Jolie

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karolina Muyingo.

Karolina, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born in East Africa, from a Ugandan father and Russian mother. I spent my early life in the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. When growing up I lived between two contrasting worlds, Classical Ballet, and academia. I attended simultaneously two full-time schools, a classical ballet academy and a grammar school. Having education in both, art and academia gave me more options in adult life. As a teenager, I had a time of my life dancing and touring with my dance group (Fatal Fog) which I started with my girlfriends in Belgrade. When I turned 18, I went to college in London, England. Upon graduating from college I worked in the City of London as an Investment Banker. Having worked for four years in the capital of finance, I moved to Los Angeles and studied finance at UCLA. I then worked at a Swiss bank in Beverly Hills as an investment adviser and portfolio manager.

I made a fairly handsome living as a banker but did not enjoy the corporate environment and inauthenticity of the banking world. I quit my banking career and created a fashion brand, Nuit Jolie. I grew up in a family of master designers, tailors and silk merchants. Therefore, I already had some quirks, skills and experience under my belt when I started in the fashion industry. I am tremendously passionate about my brand because it gives me an opportunity to improve people’s lives by making stylish and highly functional headwear that caters to various needs around the hair. At the same time, as an entrepreneur and a designer, I am free to be exceedingly creative and offer a sincere contribution to the advancement of innovation within the world of fashion. I love the thrill of building and growing the business, having to constantly educate myself not just in the field of trade, but also in the domain of personal development, which is a core stone for success as an entrepreneur.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has not been a smooth road at all for me. In a figurative sense, I have been wearing many different hats, such as a single mother of two, as a CEO, a fashion designer and a daughter of a woman that I’ve always desired to emulate. My mother is my role model and a mentor, due to her undaunted life achievements as a single mother of five. In the wake of a personal tragedy of losing my father at the age of five, I had to build my life a new multiple times throughout my junior and then adult life. I had to emigrate to new countries four times in my life, due to destituteness in the USSR, civil wars in the Balkans and Africa and a perilous pursuit of a better life in America, as well as the time after my marriage ended.

And although often times I didn’t have financial means when starting from scratch, I was confident in who I was as a person and considered myself fortunate after all–which upheld that ever-needed certainty in my future success. My sound achievements so far are partly due to my tough education, but mostly to the self-belief. I never wanted to let down my family. While being related to the high achievers on my Russian side and being a member of the Ugandan royal family, it made me remember I can never lead life as an average Joe. Remembering this, I was able to overcome many at the time seemingly insurmountable barriers.

Please tell us more about your business.
Interestingly, I started the functional headwear company Nuit Jolie out of my personal need for hair maintenance. I wanted a head covering that would look flattering, protected my hair and also felt super comfortable. The many head coverings that I bought did not stay firmly on top of my head and even gave me headaches due to the flaws in their design and fabric. That is when the idea for Nuit Jolie was born when I decided to make a head covering so beautiful and functional that I would wear even on my wedding night. Since then I have created a range of very high quality, protective and stylish headwear for outdoor and indoor use.

I am currently preparing for a launch on Kickstarter of the company’s newest cutting edge product called LocksLock, which I believe will contribute to the better health of millions of women around the world. After conducting a target research, I have discovered that more than 40% of African American women skip workouts in order to retain their hairstyle for a longer time. With the help of my innovative hat, I believe that more women of all ethnicities would now be able to work out more often. Specifically, the hat will keep their hair in order and prevent it from getting freezy even during sweaty workouts. The Kickstarter launch is expected to take place in early 2020.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
The changes would be predominately focused on the improved humane aspects of my own and recognition of virtue in others. If I had to start over, firstly I would aim to be much more relaxed with other business people I come to meet for the first time. I used to be more intimidated by people, especially in the corporate world. Connecting with humans is a lot simpler than I used to think, in the dimension of business particularly. Once you come from your heart remembering that we are all the same, suffering beings seeking happiness in this mysterious world, it gets much easier.

Secondly, I would also be a lot more forgiving, keeping a good energy flow, even with those who I considered having gone astray. In the corporate world, I would have tried to have more joy with my colleagues, make more friendships and not just center on work. I would value my work more, be bolder, think bigger and demand more opportunities and promotions. Although I doubt that I would again spend my living years working for any corporation other than my own. Instead, I would focus from the start on building a business in a field that I enjoyed.

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Image Credit:

Beppe Buttinoni

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