Inspirational Sisters: Gabriela and Karina Iskin

The Iskin Sisters

The Iskin Sisters

Interviewing the Iskin sisters was fun because I am one of 3 sisters and it’s always interesting to see how sisters can work together to make their dreams come true. The dream was to create their own company while continuing to “play” together, as in childhood. This dream was realized through jewelry. Jewels that entice us, provoke us, seduce us. Jewels that stimulate our imagination by combining art and design. Jewels that have a meaning. Jewels that tell stories from the present and the past. Based in Buenos Aires, our first customer was in New York, and just a year later we were showcased in design and museum stores around the world! Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, London, Paris, Barcelona, Bilbao, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Berlin, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, among numerous other cities!

Can you please introduce yourselves to the readers:

We are Gabriela Iskin & Karina Iskin, owners of Iskin Jewelry.

What is your Profession and what is it that you both do?

We are a team. Professionally we are seen as: Industrial Designer (Gabriela) & Head of Business Operations (Karina). We work together in our own company developing contemporary jewelry and marketing it internationally.

Which obstacles did you as sisters have to overcome on your journey in order to find your true calling?

Gabriela (designer): For me, it was a natural process, since the day I decided I wanted to design my own jewelry line. From that important decision, things seemed to develop naturally. The main obstacle I had to overcome was fear of the unknown. My family, who were in some ways very supportive, nevertheless reminded me of the risks of running your own business. There are many unknowns in starting your own business, but the right balance of passion and commitment help to diminish those risks (at leas so far!).

Karina: I always knew that I would have my own business, even while I worked in big international companies. I never really took to working in a corporate office, and in the end it was really hard for me to go to work every day. I’m an entrepreneur by nature. I like to be my own boss. I like to create my own work/life balance, the balance that works for me and not anyone else. I also like to have the power to look at all the variables and decide what I’ll do next. When my sister and I were in college, we already were talking about going into business together. It took us years to get there, but it was the right and natural step for both of us.

 Do you have any  examples of you overcoming obstacles in your business?

As with any business, there are also external obstacles. Here are some examples:

  • The huge financial crisis in the US in 2008/2009 really affected our US customers. There was one Gift Show in New York where there were practically no buyers on the show floor. Gong to trade shows is expensive and we really had to rethink our strategy during those tough years.
  • The high inflation rate in Argentina, where production costs rise so fast you don’t even have time to adjust your prices accordingly.
  • Balancing our personal lives with the business. In the 10 years since we started ISKIN, Gabriela has had a daughter and I (Karina) has had 3 children (1 daughter and 2 sons). Being independent has helped us to be able to have flexible hours when needed, but it’s always a challenge to be able to meet all the business goals while having a new priority in life, our children. 😉

What advice would you give someone who pursues to be in similar profession as yourself?

Gabriela: Find out what you love to do, and do that exactly thing, without fear.

Do you have any Inspiring words of Motivation for someone who dreams of being in your shoes?

Find out your true calling and go after your dreams. When you know what your passion is, nothing will stop you.

Where do you draw motivation from and What inspires you ?

Gabriela: Memories from our childhood, games, a smile, a child’s gaze, finding simplicity in our complex world, dreams, nature, love… almost everything!

What is your favourite motivational quote and why?

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken” by Oscar Wilde

We think that the most important thing is to be true to you. True beauty is being unique and authentic.

If you want to keep up with ISKIN:

Dear Gabriela and Karina 

It is indeed such an honour to have both of you on the blog. Your words resonate so much with me and I am sure my readers will appreciate your advise as well. Wishing you both prosperity in your professional and personal lives.

Sincerely Sue

About the Author

Founder of the Just Pursue It Blog and Inspirational Women Initiative. I interview women from around the world to share their story of inspiration and hope. I'm a Motivational writer and Media designer, who is obsessed with everything Inspirational with a hint of Geek. Thrives on spreading everything Positive and enjoys the company of Fabulous Motivational people. Inspired by people with beautiful hearts. Loves Design, Interviews, Doing talks, Product Reviews, Fashion, Technology, Good food, Music and Creativity. Also adopted the role as "New Mom".

Inspirational Woman: Courtenay Carey

Courtenay Carey Interview with Sue Faith Levy

Today I am happy to introduce an amazing Inspirational woman: Courtenay Carey. She offers a very unique service to women and business executives in South Africa.

Hi Courtenay, I appreciate you making yourself available to do this interview.

  • Thank you Sue, I’m glad to be here.

Tell me, who is Courtenay Carey and what is it that you do?

  • I teach social skills that help individuals to feel comfortable and confident in any social situation. Essentially I  teach skills that separate the leaders from the left behind. I believe that the Rainbow Nation requires soft skills to compete in the international business arena.

So you have launched the South African School of Etiquette. Tell us more about your school.

  • The School of Etiquette teaches individuals the social and people skills to interact comfortably and confidently in any social and business environment. You will discover the fluid poise and presence that allows you to exhibit charm and charisma to attract and conclude successful negotiations and contracts. First impressions are extremely difficult to change as other people’s perceptions of our personalities and abilities are formed in the first few minutes of a meeting; if we are confident in the knowledge we know how to behave and set a good example, it is amazing how doors leading to success open like magic!

Does your school empower women in this country?

  • Yes it does.
  • We need to collectively work together to make our country stronger and more competitive in business as well as more approachable for foreign investors. Does this mean we are uncouth and unmannered? Not necessarily, however, given the many cultures gathered in our country, it is essential for us all to understand the importance of good etiquette in our daily lives as well as in business; this, in turn, results in good self-esteem, which leads to more self-confidence – and success.

What do you mean by “Good Etiquette” ?

  • We sell ourselves everyday in every meeting with every person we meet.  People need to buy into our own personal brand before they can buy into our product. The world is all a stage so we need to ensure we portray the correct image.  Within five seconds you have announced your attitude towards people and yourself, your sexual preferences and what you most likely do for a living without having said a word!

Have you found that women feel different after attending your sessions?

  • Yes they do. I always say: If you’re comfortable with yourself, you make others feel comfortable as they feel safe and comfortable, believing they are your equal. This has indeed helped many women be more confident and ready to carry themselves with poise and not as afraid to go into the outside world.

 So lets set a scenario: I’m a businesswoman and I take my spouse along to an event. How can the skills assist me in that situation?

  • As part of your  job, all business executives together with their spouses attend business and dining events, which require social skills.  They need to know how to accept invitations, how to enter a room, whom to greet first, how to mingle and what topics of discussion are appropriate. These skills would set you apart from other executives.

 To conclude. Women reading this interview, what is your message to them?

  • My message is one that encourages a valuable tool for corporate companies wishing to achieve long-term success is to ensure that behaviour and communications complement the team brand as well as the company brand.

Thank You Courtenay for your time, this is indeed a very interesting school. Well done and I wish you all the success as you continue to help women gain better social skills.

  • Thank You Sue, It was indeed a pleasure.

Dear Readers, If you are interested in attending any for our Inspirational Woman: Courtenay Carey’s courses below, do not hesitate to contact the South African School of Etiquette.

13 Workshops and services offered by the School of Etiquette include:

  • 8 – Corporate
  • 3 – Social
  • 2 – Dining
  • Corporate:
  • Outshine the Competition
    How to Succeed in the International Arena
    Dine Like A Diplomat
    Success and Peak Performance
    Happiness in the Workplace
    International Briefings
    Protocol Officer
    Preparing for Working World and Interviews
  • Social:
    Finishing School for Adults
    Finishing School for Teens
    How to be a Gentleman
  • Dining:
    The Art of Dining
    Family or One-on-one Tutorials

Contact the South African School of Etiquette at:

Phone: 083 562 8226

Email:  info@etischool.co.za

Website:  www.etischool.co.za

Facebook: The School of Etiquette

Twitter: @schoolofetiquet

Address: Le Châtelat, 60 Cleveland Rd, Sandhurst, Sandton (South Africa)

Sincerely Sue

About the Author

Founder of the Just Pursue It Blog and Inspirational Women Initiative. I interview women from around the world to share their story of inspiration and hope. I'm a Motivational writer and Media designer, who is obsessed with everything Inspirational with a hint of Geek. Thrives on spreading everything Positive and enjoys the company of Fabulous Motivational people. Inspired by people with beautiful hearts. Loves Design, Interviews, Doing talks, Product Reviews, Fashion, Technology, Good food, Music and Creativity. Also adopted the role as "New Mom".