This month I chat to a beautiful soul called Karissa Pukas. I easily gravitated to her content initially because I could see a lot of myself in her – our chihuahuas even have the same name, Lola! I was lucky enough to meet her in real life, at BeautyCon a couple of years ago, and I was relieved she was the same girl you see on the computer screen, genuine. She has a very large online following, an epic lash line and an attitude and honesty I admire.
Can you tell everyone a little about you and what you do?
I’m 26 years old, Canadian and make a wide variety of online content predominantly for youtube. I also run an e-commerce website selling a Vegan line of false eyelashes/ accessories along with my brother! I love eating plant-based foods, books, STAR WARS (I sit typing this in my Starwars onesie LOL), shopping for things I don’t need and spending time out at the lake with my family. I’m a bit of an anomaly- I love what I do with makeup/fashion and ‘glamorous’ things with my job, but my home life is very very low key and opposite.
You moved from Canada when you were a young woman to the land of Oz, and have since picked up your life again and moved back to Canada. That takes some guts! Have you always been a gutsy kinda gal?
I’ve always (for lack of better words) marched to the beat of my own drum. When I want something, I go for it. Life is too short to stay stagnant.
I’d always had an interest in Australia growing up, and found myself dating an Aussie as a 20 year old. After 8 months (ish) of long distance, we decided that I’d move over and move in with my partner Glen, so I did in September 2011. I didn’t know anyone but him before moving over, didn’t have a job lined up and had no idea what I was doing or how long I was staying. I could barely afford the ticket. Looking back now, I’m rather impressed with my nonchalant attitude with the move. I didn’t have much, and I just made it work. If my relationship hadn’t panned out, I still planned to stay the duration of my visa, as I saw the entire experience as a grand adventure. No ‘plans’ are usually the best plans.
Moving back to Canada last spring (April 2016) was an entirely different story. I feel like when you’re older, your life has more layers and gets more complicated. It wasn’t as simple as packing two suitcases, getting out of my lease and leaving (like it was the first time). This time, we had a house to sell, filled to the brim with 5 years worth of adulting household things and furniture that had accumulated. It needed to be sold, donated or packed away with the shipping team we hired to transport our sea container from Australia to Vancouver Canada (which would take 3+ months to arrive). We have a sweet little puppy that was travelling with us and had to arrange vaccinations, paperwork and travel for her. During the moving out period, we had a rather unexpected house guest for a month and a half, Glen’s University graduation and his Grandpa was slowly losing his battle to cancer. Months before, we had also planned several trips (and ‘meet ups’ with my followers) around the country (Byron Bay, Tasmania and Adelaide) before we left Australia.
It was one of the most stressful times in my existence, but we got through it all and being able to call Canada home again made my heart so very happy.
What made you branch out and create a lash line?
I was working at an Estee Lauder counter in a department store at the time and I was so fed up with the choices. Australia had a lack of affordable well made lashes- you could purchase a MAC or Napoleon Perdis set for $22+ or spend $13+ on a plastic, unflattering drugstore set. I remember one day during a shift, pressing the receipt roll on the register so it fed paper out, and I started writing ideas on that receipt paper. I was one of (if not the) youngest counter girl, working makeup in that David Jones store and the ladies who worked at other booths thought what I was doing was such a pipe dream. ‘Who did I think I was’ being ‘vain’ on camera and putting that on the internet let alone talking about starting my own brand? I ended up quitting that job because of the bullying- it wasn’t worth it. I had bigger things to do.
Were there many bumps along the way?
Absolutely. I knew nothing about importing/exporting, manufacturing, running a warehouse, international shipping- I was totally blind going in. I made the decision to partner with my younger brother Hayden (I believe he was 18/19 at the time?) to help me with the brand. He was based in Canada, so we would Skype or FaceTime to have meetings. He didn’t have any experience with anything directly related to what I wanted to do, but he is a fast learner and also a natural entrepreneur who had previous business experience (though locally). We fed off each other and played our strengths. Everything we have done with this brand has been trial and error, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We now run 3 warehouses worldwide (based in Australia, Canada and U.K), have stockists all over the world and proudly sell a TON of well priced and impeccably made lashes.
What is the most exciting thing which has happened to you career-wise?
Having a career that allows me to live the lifestyle I have. I am so grateful. It’s mind boggling the juxtaposition of luxury trips with makeup companies where I’m picked up in a private car and going to parties with ‘important’ people looking ‘instagram ready’ the entire time yet coming home to my dog, probably not washing my hair for a week and spending the day frolfing with Glen (if you don’t know what Frolf is that could sound so weird ahaha). I feel like I can dabble in the glamour, but it is not who I am in my soul if you know what I mean. I am very lucky to have the experiences both ways.
What would advice would you give to aspiring GIRL BOSSES?
Trust your gut. There will ALWAYS be bumps- you chose an alternate path. You will never regret putting your all into something- you either succeed or learn from what didn’t work. Don’t forget how easy it is for other people to have an opinion of what you’re doing rather than actually do it themselves. Keep PUSHING!
Who or what inspires you in life?
I’m always inspired by random things in day to day life. It’s constantly coming and going. Always look up- there’s usually something right in front of you that can inspire.
Something that changed my life completely was attending Shambhala music festival in Salmo BC in 2014. I experienced ego death and it altered the course of who I was to who I am now. Being surrounded by the right kind of energy is everything- and learning how to create that energy in yourself and emit it to the world is something I try to do daily. I look at it as if it was a frequency on a radio- when I’m in the right frequency, things flow, ideas come, and good things multiply. When I’m not taking care of myself (mentally and physically) it becomes static, things…muck up. I get in a down headspace and bad things keep flowing my way (you know those days… late for work, leads to a parking ticket, leads to whatever.) It’s hard to train yourself to raise your frequency back to the sweet spot, but it’s a daily exercise! It gets easier to find my way back the more I practice, and my inspiration and creativity creep back in. Always ebbing.
Where do you see yourself in a few years from now?
I can never answer this question in interviews- I genuinely have no idea. I never thought this would be how my life is; had you told me as a teen I would have given you a blank stare. I was a hockey playing, glasses and headgear wearing theatre geek with a perm. I spent more time with my family camping than out with friends and I graduated early because I felt like I didn’t belong.
Whatever happens in my future, I know it will be more fantastic than anything I could ever dream at this point- and I know this because I will make it so.
What is one top tip you want to share with other women?
Stop waiting for permission to live your life in the way YOU need to to be happy. Be who you want to be and be unapologetic about it- as I said earlier, life is way too short to present a half assed version of you to the world. It does yourself and everyone else an incredible disservice.
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