Learn more about Carolina, the designer behind Caro Home. From her artistic childhood to her early beginnings designing textiles in Buenos Aires and New York...
Can you describe your childhood in Argentina?
I grew up in Buenos Aires with my parents and sister. I have very fond memories of my childhood. I come from a nurturing family with parents that were very involved in my creative development.
Your father was an architect. How did he influence your love of design?
I deeply admired my father and always wanted to work with him. As a child, when I visited him at his office, he would give me design projects laying out and drawing tile patterns. All along the way, he guided me. When it was time for me to decide what to study in college, he encouraged me to pursue textiles.
You’ve always had a penchant for business; tell us about your first entrepreneurial endeavor.
When I was in college, my father had a friend in the textile industry. I frequently visited their shop, where I fell in love with all the fabrics; I was so inspired by all the interesting and cutting edge textiles, one of which was lycra. It was at the same time, I couldn’t find any bathing suits I liked, so I decided to design and sell my own swimwear collection.
It wasn't easy though. Argentina was going through a recession, my vendors would often go from having lots of fabric choices to having six. I still had to come up with creative ways to offer my customers new pieces, so I created patterns by combining the different colors I had.
Since my family was not in the the textile industry, I had to navigate the business by myself. I made a lot of mistakes early on, but learned so much. I’ve really been through it all.
How did you start your design career?
At 19, I started as an Design Assistant, designing apparel for different brands. I did everything from counting buttons to sketching. I then accepted a position at a family-owned textile company for five years. After only a couple years there, I was head of the entire design division for home and fashion.
After establishing a career in Buenos Aires, In 2000, you and your husband Andres moved to New York City. What were the challenges of making such a life-changing decision?
We moved to New York thinking it would be a one-year project, and it turned into more than 15 years. It was a very tough start; our first year we went through the collapse of the Argentinian economy and 9/11. It was difficult to get sponsorships and visas because it was a politically delicate time, but Andres was a fighter and was not going to quit, so we kept working hard.
What was your first design position in the U.S.?
After 2 years in New York, I accepted the most amazing design position at Karsten, a Brazilian textile company. That was my favorite job; they shaped my aesthetic and ability to design products. I spent a lot of time at the factory with their technicians. I learned the principles of weaving and my focus became designing product that were different from what I was seeing.
Coming from the South American market, designing for the American market was difficult. It was hard to know what American consumers wanted, so I designed what I liked. I never followed any rules.
You are recognized throughout the industry for your design; how did you develop this following?
I was very lucky to have found people along the way who embraced me and opened doors for me. The buyers I have worked with were and are very willing to try new things. They challenged me to be a better designer and through them, I developed a following in the industry. I've encountered so many good people that have been a very big part of my career.