Ritzy Hong Kong - Ritzy Chat Founder of ROSARINI

Ritzy Hong Kong - Ritzy Chat Founder of ROSARINI

We chatted with Karen Scheinecker, founder of Rosarini, a high-quality sustainable fashion brand in Hong Kong. Karen was born in Australia and she fell in love in Hong Kong in 1996. By that time, she also found the need for western sized frame. She founded Rosarini and her version for it is to provide affordable, sustainable fashion for women around the world. This week, we get to have a glimpse of Karen’s personal and professional life.

1) Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I am from Sydney, Australia with an Aussie Mum & Austrian Dad.  I fell in love with Hong Kong after a six-month posting in 1996, so I resigned from my position as Asia-Pacific Marketing Manager for a large Australian Veterinary company and set up my own business.  I specialized in Small Animal Veterinary Dentistry & Anaesthetics and Equine Nutrition.  My early years were focused on working with the Chinese Equestrian Teams.  I was the first person to register a foreign feed supplement in China and I signed a contract with the Chinese Government to send Chinese Mainland riders to Germany to train and eventually helping them compete in the 2008 Olympics.

I never imagined eventually having a career in fashion, but I have always enjoyed sewing.  Actually, when I first moved to Hong Kong for my 6-month post, one of the first things I bought was a sewing machine.  I couldn’t imagine being anywhere without one! 

2) What inspired you to start this business?

It was on one of my many trips to Europe for a Veterinary Conference that I struggled to find an iron in my hotel room.  My clothes were all creased, and the hotel told me that due to fire regulations they could not place irons in the guest rooms.  In the back of my head, I promised myself that one day I would only wear CREASE FREE CLOTHES!

ROSARINI Instagram

In my early years in Hong Kong, it was virtually impossible to find clothes that fit.  The sizing did not cater to a western sized clothes.  In the years long before M&S, Zara & H&M most foreigners could only buy clothes when they travelled outside Hong Kong.  In 2006 whist pregnant I remember thinking even the maternity clothes were not suitable for western sizes.  The struggle to find good basics in a crease-free, durable fabric that worked across all sizes, led me to create ROSARINI. A brand of simple, yet stylish clothes for all occasions. 

I wanted to create clothes that look great, are washed and worn, will last a long time and can be worn to the beach or to a black-tie event.  It took me some time to create the perfect fabric but to this day I think our fabric is the best I have ever worn.  It is basically indestructible.  It always looks fantastic and will never, ever fade.  I have a great dislike of creases & those little balls that form on some fabric after wearing and washing.  I might go so far as to say I have a phobia of both of these things!!! 

ROSARINI fabric never lets you down.  Some days you get dressed at 6am and whether you’re going to an office, travelling, working from home, in & out of cars, taking care of the kids – we all want to look & feel good – all day, not just for a few hours.  ROSARINI will work as hard as you do and always allow you to get dressed and just get on with your day.  Our clothes mean you can get on a plane and sleep for 10 hours and get off and go straight to a meeting.  As the fabric on all our pieces is the same, it makes creating outfits super easy. 

Everything matches.  It never ceases to amaze me & I often ask myself what I would do without ROSARINI clothes.

Our aim is to provide pieces so that each woman can make her own style.  We are about slow fashion – clothes that will last a long time.  Clothes that you will wear for many years and save you time and money.   I like to think we sell the clothes so that each woman can create her own fashion.  We create timeless, simple styles that stand the test of time.  We are not about FAST FASHION.

3) How do you balance your work and family life?

It’s a ‘WIP’ – a constant work in progress!  Each day brings new challenges and rewards.  Some days are harder than others, so I appreciate the great days.  My life is very much South Island based.  Home, office, school are all within a short distance from each other and this makes everything much more manageable.  Plus, a lot of coffee always helps.

4) How do you make yourself happy and ritzy in life?

Life is what you make it and it’s important to take pleasure in the small things.  Driving with great music blasting is a sure way to make me feel happy. Thinking up new designs that women of all ages and sizes will enjoy wearing.  Helping women all over the world look & feel their very best makes my heart feel happy.   Feeling ritzy is easy when I no longer need to stress about what I am going to wear.  ROSARINI makes that possible because whether getting dressed for a formal occasion or on a daily basis I feel confident that I will always be able to create the perfect outfit.  The same all black outfit can go from the office to a party by throwing on some fab shoes or a statement necklace. 

In today’s world it is hard for women to navigate the dress codes.  I see how much stress it can be for women to get dressed or find their perfect outfit.  Nothing makes me happier than when a customer can take 5 pieces and create multiple looks that work for them.  Being able to create looks for the ‘woman we want to be each day’ is crucial.  The same 5 pieces can take us from home, work and travel.  I am so lucky as we have the best customers who often tell me how much their lives have changed since they discovered our brand.

Apart from all of this – throwing on a ROSARINI PONCHO is the sure way to be ritzy & happy It’s one simple piece that can totally change the way I look and feel.

ROSARINI What makes us unique fabric

5) Could you share the most memorable moment of this business journey so far?

I have so many great moments but a defining one many years ago was when I attended an AIRLINE SUPPLY CONVENTION.  I remember setting up my little trade display in a function room at a 5-star hotel in Macau, alongside some very famous fashion brands & industry suppliers. It was a 2-day fair and on the first day a man from another trade exhibit who represented a very big fashion brand, who had been supplying airlines for many years, approached and asked us why we were attending as we were not supplying a product that had previously sold to airlines.  It was clear that he thought we had nothing to offer.  However, I pointed out that our clothes were the perfect item for the travel industry because they were easy to pack, non-crease, easy to wash in a hotel basin, fast drying, did not need ironing and could be worn during the flight or to a business meeting.  He did not look convinced.

The next day we were approached by the head buyer from one of the prominent airlines.  I could feel all eyes in the room on us…I could sense this was to be a make-or-break situation.  You could hear a pin drop in the room as I gave my very best 2-minute presentation to the airline delegation on all the reasons why they needed ROSARINI onboard their aircrafts for duty free shopping. 

The head buyer looked and listened and finally replied… You are offering exactly what we need.  We will keep you busy.  She popped on a PONCHO and proceeded to wear it for the rest of the day.  The airline placed an order and we were sold onboard flights! 

6) What is your philosophy of life? 

You only have one life – so have no regrets. 

Work hard & do your best. 

Believe in yourself.

Dream big!

Fight for what you believe in.

Written by Ella @ Ritzy