We had the good fortune of connecting with Karo Kangas and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Karo, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
It was purely coincidental. As the lockdown hit and the novelty of staying at home wore off, I knew I needed to stay busy and keep my creativity going when the pandemic took away my ability to express myself artistically through my work as a make-up artist. I discovered pottery, that led to arts and crafts projects with my son and that, that ultimately led to jewelry making. It was a revelation as the idea slowly unfolded with each piece I made. I was able to reconnect with my artistic past while being able to express my environmental philosophy through crafting pieces with up-cycled and vintage materials. Once I launched the business proper and shared it, I was happily surprised by the response.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It’s been a long road professionally. I fell into make-up artistry as a dancer in a traditional Finnish Folk Dancing group. We traveled all over Europe and my love of make-up sparked during that time while painting the faces of myself and fellow dancers for our shows. That led to a career in make-up which ultimately led to my second career as a jewelry designer and owner of Karo Koru. It was definitely a hard road for an infinite amount of reasons. I wanted to make sure that each peice was unique, handmade, using only vintage/up-cycled pearls, beads, glassware, and so on. I wanted a gentle environmental footprint. I have seen the waste the fashion industry produces first hand and subsequently yearned to be almost zero impact. Being a small business owner, all the failures are yours alone, but the successes are as well. The most amazing thing about launching something so personal, so independent is the conspiracy of goodwill that surrounds me. My family, my friends, and my colleagues have been an amazing support system that have helped me grow my business and my brand. What started as a small distraction from the pandemic has turned into a real thing. When I see Justin Bieber or Alicia Keys or Katy Perry wearing my jewelry I’m endlessly amazed at how that came to be and recognize the depth of work it took to make it seem so effortless. I think if you truly believe in what you do, success, in conventional terms, while nice, matter little. I love what I do, it may seem naïve and banal, but that carries a lot of weight.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Lunch at Sushi Gen in Downtown LA is always a first stop for out-of-towners. Pristine Edo-style sushi and sashimi flown in daily from Japan is next level. Split the sashimi deluxe with a friend with some beer and sake. No reservations and it gets busy so get there early and put your name on the list. Anajak Thai in Sherman Oaks is the best Thai in a town with incredible Thai. Sit outside on their little patio, order the entire menu to share with friends and couple that with incredible wines from an impressive and eclectic list of natural wines.
Found Oyster in East Hollywood. Saddle up to the bar and order pristine seafood with a crispy white wine. It’s loud, it’s busy, and the wait is generally long but well worth it.

Broad Street Oyster in Malibu. Okay so this is a bit of a pattern but I love seafood and fish of all kinds. After a beach day we always go to Broad Street and order way too much. You can’t miss with anything on their menu.

Musso & Frank’s. One of the oldest restaurants in Los Angeles. Order a Martini at the bar and try and imagine Bogart, Bacall, Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe, and every other Hollywood icon sat at that bar and did the exact same thing.

The Broad, DTLA. An amazing museum to check out the best of The Broad’s modern art collection.

The Getty. Sitting atop a promontory with a 360 degree view of LA, this free museum is a must visit. Spend a lazy afternoon strolling through the galleries and gardens.

Hike it out at Runyon Canyon or near the Observatory in Griffith Park.

Hit a Taco truck. Everyone has their favorites. Find a person you trust and get them to take you for a uniquely LA experience of fresh made Taco’s on the streets of LA after a boozy night.

Hit the beach. I love Zuma, El Matador, Leo Carillo, and Butterfly Beach in Montecito.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I give my mother a massive amount of credit. Coming from Finnish Lapland there is a cultural stamp that frowns on lofty goals and ambitions. Maybe it’s the harsh winters or socio-economic challenges of living near the arctic circle. My mother never doubted my dreams, however grand they were. I told her I wanted to live in Hollywood at a very young age and she backed me without an ounce of doubt. It’s that optimism that made me believe I could do whatever I dreamed. I moved to Hollywood in 2010 to pursue my make-up career. Just like I always dreamed. I’m constantly inspired by the artists I work with. Photographers, stylists, creatives, models, designers, and all those that work collaboratively to create together. The encouragement, support, and patience my husband and son give me plays a huge role in me being able to do what I do with Karo Koru.

Website: www.karokoru.com

Instagram: @karo_koru

Image Credits
Milan Zrnic Photography

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.