Alphanista Watch: Karlena

Now and then, , I I like to highlight everyday women making big moves, especially those who are self employed.  Check out my latest interview with Karlena, Founder, Publisher & CEO of Stiletto Woman Media!


1)  How and why did you create Stiletto Woman?

Being an entrepreneur for some years and involved with many programs, I’ve always sought out ways to positively impact the lives of others. With the constant grind of entrepreneurship, I eventually found myself burnt out. I was on a mission, and I spread myself too thin. Consequently, as the economy deteriorated, the financial strain on my business and family was too much to bear. I had also given birth to my third child (my only daughter), who had suffered from severe labor complications. Life forever changed—fast!  For years, I had succumbed to the notion that I had to chase what society defined as success—the degrees, the money, and the accolades; it took a lot out of me. With my daughter in ICU at birth, she became my priority, and I knew I’d never be quite the same. My mind and body needed rest. So I took time off.

I spent that time learning how to listen in a different way. I began to pay close attention to my intuition, my heart, and my environment to understand what life was trying to teach me. I became silent. During that time, I disengaged from all traces of business…contacts, meetings, connections, networking, email, etc. The path I was leading had become so blurred, the only thing I could do was stand still. I knew I would return to my entrepreneurial roots, but it would be different. I had to hear that it was time.

Stiletto Woman came to form just a couple of years ago. I contacted a designer I had worked with in the past who created sites very reasonably. I discussed my ideas, recruited writers, and officially launched in February 2009 with a mission to empower everyday women—those that had a dream but didn’t quite know how to attain it; those that were silenced for some reason or another and felt stifled, alone, or without direction; and those who were trying to make sense of life’s ups and downs and needed an extension of support. Stiletto Woman and Stiletto Woman Magazine would give those women a voice by revealing our truths—not in the typical disheartening exploitive way—instead with a contemporary vibe backed by a sophisticated brand that matched the new ways we do business and manage our lives.

It had become official, Stiletto Woman was born.

2) What are the traits of a Stiletto Woman?  Are there any celebrities or notable persons out there that are examples?

She is a leader. She is visionary—an independent thinker. She is nurturing and adventurous in seeking all that life has to offer. It’s a woman who wants to be in sync with her career, her business, her family, her money, the way she looks, and the way she feels!

Stiletto Woman is more than the figurative shoes you wear. It’s really about a mindset—a way of thinking, a way of living. Stilettos represent the acceptance and willingness to create your own path—to be pioneering in your own way, at every level.

And celebrities, that’s tough because what represents strength, success, or inspiration to me may be different for someone else. But, if I’d name a few I’d say Zoe Saldana because she has progressed wonderfully and carved out a path all her own. Aside from her personal life, Angelina Jolie is bold, yet has great compassion for societal change, which is admirable. Gabrielle Union comes to mind because she’s stylish and sophisticated. And I must add Michelle Obama because she’s simply magnificent—in many ways she has it all.

3)  These days almost everyone wants to learn how to set up a business online.  Do you consider yourself an online entrepreneur?  Why or why not?

I do consider myself an online entrepreneur—somewhat of a new-age entrepreneur, as I like to say. Though, I don’t operate a full e-commerce or product-based business, I conduct more than 50% of my business online and I seek to reach a nationwide audience. I also leverage social media and other networking tools to better connect with our target market and communicate our brand.

4)  What advice do you have for women to get by in this shaky economy?

It’s two-fold…and a fine line. I think you have to find a way to be focused, yet broad at the same time. What I mean is that you want to have a plan for your future—what you want to accomplish, and a defined roadmap on how to get there. Simultaneously, you want to be open for change, and ready for wherever your next opportunity takes you. Financially, I’d refrain from overspending and create a financial plan, not just a budget. Instead of simply tracking how much money is coming in and going out, also chart how you are going to get the best on every dollar you spend, before you spend it—almost like a pre-plan.

5)  What new projects do you have in the works with your Stiletto franchise?  What direction would you like to see Stiletto Woman go into?

Currently, I’m working on extending the Stiletto Woman brand to everyday women right where they live through community initiatives, workshops and networking events. I launched a teen girls initiative where I’m producing a documentary short to connect with our nation’s most vulnerable girls. Additionally, I plan to continue growing Stiletto Woman Magazine to become a trusted source of inspiration and education for women of all types at every level.

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  1. Karlena says:

    Maryann, Thank you so much for this wonderful feature!! I am honored to appear on I look forward to opportunities of collaboration in the future!

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