Caruska Jarecka will be speaking to us on her successes, her losses, and dealing with the in-between, as well as her new Internet video show coming up “The Cancer Answer,” with the first guest being our own, Filippo Voltaggio, the “Master of Change,” and staring Caruska as the “Host of Hope.”
“After 30 years as an entrepreneur, I continue to be motivated by my customers. Their inspiration fuels my love of design and innovation. This is what sets Carushka Bodywear apart.” Carushka Jarecka
Carushka Jarecka is the founder of one of the most successful specialty apparel companies in the world. Carushka literally created the “bodywear” concept and the market was changed forever. Today, the bodywear and activewear industry is a multi- million dollar business and Carushka is the pioneer that set the boom in motion.
When she started her own company in 1978 at age 25 with only $3000, Carushka knew that to be successful in the competitive world of fashion she would need to create a niche that reflected how women feel about themselves. “My greatest strength as a business woman is originality. Our corporate slogan ‘expect the unexpected’ describes what I want to impart to my customers. My designs are meant to reflect the balance between being strong, yet feminine.”
After earning her degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in 1973, as well as a couture diploma from the Trippon School of Design, Carushka began her career with Tori Richards Ltd. of Hawaii. At the age of 23 she became head designer, managing six divisions. Upon returning to her native Los Angeles, Carushka was approached by her sister, a ballet dancer, to create some new leotards for the studio store she worked with. Carushka discovered a unique new stretch cotton/lycra fabric and designed the first striped boat necked leotard, which was deemed “unwearable” by the store owner. But Capezio Dancewear customers thought differently — they bought out all six pieces in one day and Capezio had to immediately reorder. From that moment on, Carushka0s Bodywear designs have been in demand.
Through her innovations, such as creating the first striped leotard, using cotton stretch fabrics, and designing costumes for motion pictures such as “Staying Alive,” which garnered her a loyal celebrity following, Carushka has continued to set the standard in the bodywear industry. In 1982 she was voted one of America’s Top Ten Designers by the New York Fashion Group, in 1987 she was named Outstanding Young Working woman by Glamour magazine, and Carushka’s business model is a case study in the marketing textbook Contemporary Marketing by Boone and Kurtz.
Citing Coco Chanel, Eleanor Roosevelt. Katherine Graham. and all professional women who manage to work and raise families as an inspiration, Carushka has been instrumental in making a difference in many people0s lives. “When we started our catalog business, I began to look for ways that would make our customers feel good about themselves, so I started to print inspirational quotes and passages throughout the book. I have been amazed at the tremendous response — we literally receive hundreds of letters a month thanking me for my catalog. This is the ultimate compliment.”
Carushka Bodywear was at the forefront in Internet marketing, bearing the distinction of being the first bodywear company to launch a website back in 1995. Today www.carushka.com has evolved to become an industry leader, offering customers the opportunity to order merchandise, request catalogs, provide feedback and even vote on upcoming style choices. “We are continuing to expand our Internet presence. utilizing the latest digital tools to better serve our customers and create a fun and enjoyable online experience.”