Two Words come to mind when describing #GirlBoss EDWINA KULEGO: Black Excellence.
In just a few months of Insta-Stalking her page (don’t judge me), I was immediately inspired and I wanted to know more about the Beauty & Brains who is responsible for ‘helping international fashion brands create pathways into the US market.’ The more I researched, the more I became proud as if EDWINA is a blood relative (laughs).
This is why I admire EDWINA KULEGO…
I always knew the importance of enjoying your work in order to truly be successful therefore I was determined to incorporate travel into my work. I noticed that we didn’t have a sales person on our team solely focusing on international business. So, I spent two months gathering data and creating an analysis to support an international sales role, which eventually led to a position that I created called “International Account Executive.”
The Afro-Swedish born and raised Style Maven works in International Business Development at UBM Fashion Group. The genesis of her dream career path began as a sales manager with a position at Zara (Inditex Group) in Copenhagen. In 2007, EDWINA moved to New York and continued her journey as an intern for companies like; Essence Magazine, Tommy Hilfiger, and PROJECT Trade show.
And to add more dopeness on top of that EDWINA is a Berkeley College alumna with a certificate in Advanced English from Cambridge, an online author at She Leads Africa, and she’s fluent in about five languages… #GOALS.
Of course, the next step was an interview on Row A Seat 1, how could I not? EDWINA has so much #BlackGirlMagic it was only right to have her sprinkle some over here… Check out the full interview below.
Row A Seat 1: When did you fall in love with fashion?
Edwina Kulego: After graduating from high school, I landed a job at Zara in Copenhagen, Denmark. While working in the store, I recognized how the clothes and accessories made people feel. They could change their moods from exhausted to happy, give them a boost of confidence and make them feel beautiful. It may sound vain, but there is so much emotional power in fashion; that is what makes it special. After becoming promoted to assistant store manager I decided to move to NYC to pursue my dream of working in Fashion/Business.
Row A Seat 1: Tell me about the genesis of your career in the International Business Development industry.
Edwina Kulego: I always knew the importance of enjoying your work in order to truly be successful therefore I was determined to incorporate travel into my work. I noticed that we didn’t have a sales person on our team solely focusing on international business. So, I spent two months gathering data and creating an analysis to support an international sales role, which eventually led to a position that I created called “International Account Executive.” I continued in this role for two years before I became a Sales Manager. The pathway to my current role in International Business Development relies heavily on my passion for helping businesses develop and my desire to travel the world.
Row A Seat 1: Edwina, what do you enjoy the most (in your position) while helping international fashion brands on a daily basis?
Edwina Kulego: What I enjoy the most in my work is honestly seeing brands thrive and attain their goals. Seeing one of my brand’s products in a retail store is truly fulfilling. The other great part about this position is that it also provides me with insight into the business of wonderful and creative entrepreneurs who are fully invested in their craft. I learn so much from working with brands. The beauty of international business is experiencing the cultural differences when crossing borders; it forces you to have an open mind and embrace change.
Row A Seat 1: Describe your personal style.
Edwina Kulego: I would say professional chic, but I’m not afraid of experimenting with colors and patterns. I grew up in Scandinavia; so I’m a huge fan of minimalism, however, my heritage is West African so prints and bold colors are also a part of me. I love that I can do both.
Row A Seat 1: Name three international designers you absolutely love? Why?
Edwina Kulego: INARI – Not only does he create one of a kind eyewear… He is one of the most down to Earth and fun people I know. I love accessories and eyewear is becoming a favorite.
KAHINDO – Being African, I appreciate color and patterns. Kahindo’s pieces can work in an executive business meeting and for an after work event. The preview of her new collection is mind blowing.
MACKAGE – Definitely one of my favorite outerwear brands and they have amazing accessories too. It’s hard to find quality outerwear that keeps you warm and still gives you a nice feminine shape, they do a great job at that.
Row A Seat 1: The work you’ve done thus far is beautiful… What’s next for EDWINA KULEGO?
Edwina Kulego: Thank you!
Good question: The answer is SHARING – as I grow in my career I am realizing the importance of sharing my story and experiences in order to help and inspire others. That is one of the main reasons why I recently launched my website EdwinaKulego.com – It’s a platform for me to connect with others and share my various projects. Cool brand collaborations and public speaking are also on the agenda. I am currently in a space where I’m unapologetically investing in myself: working out, eating healthy and simply enjoying life.
Row A Seat 1: Growing up in Sweden and now you travel the world for a living; What advice would you give to Edwina at 12 years old?
Edwina Kulego: ‘Don’t allow fear to limit you.”
At 19, I decided to leave home to pursue my dreams of living and building a career in NYC; and many people tried to discourage me. And if I would’ve let that fear get to me it may have prevented me from having this interview with you today. You have to look yourself in the mirror sometimes and say: I CAN and I Will.
Be fearless and enjoy the ride!