Skating Designs company gains momentum
We used to enjoy the beauty of figure skating, to discuss the images created by figure skaters and to admire their outfits. Behind all this beauty there is a considerable work of various specialists, including skating apparel designers. Dorota Kamieniecki is one of those who are working daily that skaters and spectators can fully enjoy the beauty of our sport.
She founded the company Skating Designs many years ago when her daughter, Ola (Alexandra Kamieniecki) started skating. Since then the company has achieved very good results and already has many loyal customers among athletes. That is what happens when a person truly loves his job which is also a big passion.
WFS: Dorota, tell us about how your company was founded.
Dorota Kamieniecki: I emigrated from Poland to Calgary, Canada 18 years ago. I started working at the University of Calgary as a microbiologist. It was exciting working in the Lab. Then we moved to Arizona when my daughter Ola was 2 years old. It was a huge change in weather. I found an ice rink near our home and my daughter started skating there when she was 3 years old. She needed some cute outfits. My friend made her first competition dress and I decorated it. I watched her make it and decided to try to do it myself.
What difficulties have you encountered at the beginning of Skating Designs development?
D. Kamieniecki: I started making some outfits for my daughters’ friends. Then one day my friend asked me to make a top to match her skirt. I was then escorted out of the Ice arena by the staff for selling outfits. My daughter was allowed to skate at this rink. She was only 6 years old at the time but I was not allowed to enter the rink. I fixed the problem with the help of a lawyer and was back at the ice rink shortly thereafter. What the arena did to me was so unfair that I decided to start my own business. My husband designed and implemented the website and slowly we started adding my new designs to it. I think that this injustice pushed me to do something good for figure skating children and parents.
I think there are lots of competitors in this business. What do you think about it?
D. Kamieniecki: There are plenty of competitors in this business but my designs are very unique. All items are custom made .We have hundreds of unique designs that
are all made in the USA with the best quality fabric and Swarovski crystals. I can make any outfit. The customer just has to let me know what they want.
Unfortunately, there are many dishonest competing businesses that have modified my designs and used their name on the items. I have to work hard and make more exciting, interesting, and unique designs to always be ahead of the competition. For me, the most important thing about my business is to make my customers happy, warm, and comfortable on ice.
As I know your daughter, Ola, helps you with your works. Tell us about it.
D. Kamieniecki: Ola is the reason I formed my company. She is 15 years old and helps me choose fabric and designs and decorates many outfits herself. She also helps me with my customers as well. She models my outfits and help little skaters to enjoy themselves on ice. She also is a photographer who takes numerous photos that are used on the website.
Your online store has a very large range of products. How do you find time to create so many different things?
D. Kamieniecki: It is hard to find the time for work and family. I have a son who plays hockey and a daughter who figure skates. I have employees who help sew and work on my designs as well. I wish I had more time to add more items to my collection but it will slowly fill up. I am very proud that my website has so many different kinds of outfits. I love being unique.
Sometimes, skaters have a difficult time choosing what they want because there are too many choices. It is much harder to work with such a variety of items and diverse set of customers, but this is what makes my website unique.
Your loyal customers. Who are they?
D. Kamieniecki: I have customers all over the world. I have plenty of local customers from the World Arena in Colorado Springs, where my daughter skates. A large number of skaters there wear my outfits. Customers see my daughter (Ola) and her little friends wearing cute outfits at the World Arena and they want to have similar outfits as well. The World Arena gives me the opportunity to sell my outfits there.
Modern figure skating puts more and more high demands to its apparel. Is it difficult to keep pace with new trends?
D. Kamieniecki: My company is growing every year and it is nice to see that I am getting more sales too. My outfits are very different than other companies. I always try to add new fabric and colors to my inventory to keep the variety interesting and exciting. I have been traveling a lot this year to JGP events and junior worlds as my daughter has competed in these events. Because of this, my new Skating Designs collections will be coming out early next year.
How do you keep a balance between being a mom and running your own business?
D. Kamieniecki: I try my best but it is not an easy task. I am so glad that I had so much more time when my children were little. I often work nights so I have some time for my kids when they need me during the day. They come first and the work always comes in a distant second. My children, however, are very independent which helps me stay focused on my business.
I also know that you are involved in a charity activity. Could you tell us about it?
D. Kamieniecki: I have been helping plenty of children since I started my business. I always have special gifts for foster children and adopted kids. Since Ola was a very little girl, she always played with children on ice. I dressed them and Ola helped them to skate on ice. When we lived in Arizona, Ola helped 10 foster kids on ice every weekend. My company dressed them and bought them skates. We had fun skating, parties and fashion shows for them.
In Colorado Springs, my daughter is helping many little skaters on ice. I have donated plenty of outfits for these skaters too. Ola shows them the love of skating and I dress them to make them happy and warm on ice.
What are your plans for the further development of your company?
D. Kamieniecki: My biggest dream is to open a line of Skating Designs stores all over the world. My outfits are very unique and custom made. My company provides tremendous variety in the items we sell. All my outfits are made in the USA using the best quality fabric. I want skaters to look great and feel good. I believe that if they feel good about themselves they will feel more confident when they do skate. I sell my items all over the World and hopefully my company will be better known in the international community in the very near future.
Interview by Vladislav Luchianov
Photos: courtesy of Skating Designs