Karen Santos has an undying passion for beautiful
A founding partner of the popular fashion label Kashieca, which she eventually sold to Suyen Corporation a little over a decade ago, Karen has always kept herself creative in some way or another. After the sale of her company, she changed career direction and began to import stone and wood flooring for interior design projects that would allow her to exercise her imagination by working closely with architects and interior designers. But, after many years of not “getting her hands on softer materials,” she decided two years ago that it was time once again to start something new. “I really missed the touch of fabric,” she shares, and with that, Kassa, a small line of embroidered linens, was born.
From the beginning, Karen knew that she didn’t want to exclusively carry embroidered linens, so she quickly added other prized tabletop items to her merchandise mix, such as vintage silver and china, all sourced from her travels. In one of her first pop-ups at Celestina in 2013, she presented a vast range of linens and decorative home accessories that was received extremely well by the public. The display of her items, along with those of her host establishment, conveyed exactly what Kassa is all about—mixing and matching, high and low, creativity and confidence. “I’m trying not to be so traditional and applying all the same principles I learned from fashion merchandising to my home line. Over time, I hope my customers will do the same,” she says. “I use everything I have collected over the years because if you don’t enjoy it, what’s the point?”
Kassa merchandise can be found year-round at AC+632 and Cura V, as well as at select trunk shows and pop-ups. The range has expanded to include Romanian crystal glasses and pitchers, custom silver-plated accessories, and hand-woven abaca placemats from Bicol. Sourcing is a global exercise, and in addition to importing certain pieces, Kassa also works with local communities in Bulacan, Bicol, and parts of Visayas.
“Unfortunately, a lot of our embroidery is not cheap, but I try to help these women because I believe that there is a market for beautiful work. It is important to make sure that their craft survives.”
With no plans of opening a store on the horizon, Karen is having a good time doing what she is doing exactly as is. “Been there, done that,” she says with a grin. “I don’t know how long it’s going to last, but all I need to know is that it’s fun for me today.”
Kassa, 894.1720; 0925.897.6896; [email protected]