As I walked into the coffee shop to meet Kara, co-owner of Dos Manos, I see a radiant woman in a rainbow sweater. As we begin to talk, I realize Kara is a rainbow. Kara emanates feelings of warmth & brightness and is full of beautiful colors. A rainbow symbolizes inclusiveness, diversity, love, friendship, and HOPE. Kara wants everyone around her to shine and this shows in every aspect of her being.
Kara lives her life and business by the quote “A rising tide lifts all boats.” She feels like she was always meant to be an entrepreneur; ultimately, she does it because she loves it. As an artist herself, Kara saw a need for the artistic community to have a voice and a space to exhibit it. One of her favorite aspects of her job, is staging her store. Kara has a natural intuition which is applied to every detail at Dos Manos. She displays every piece of artwork with precision to best showcase the artist talents.
Kara attributes her strong Alaskan background to her family and community. She was taught, by her grandfather, that women are equals. Her mother taught her the importance of hard work, which she has instilled in her daughter. Her son equates her to Princess Leia because he has seen and experience the “force” within her. May you always use the force for good and always keep swooping. This is Kara. #IAMALASKA
What are you excited about right now?
The sun coming back! And my adventure bus (Matilda) Tilly! (Side note, this interview was conducted in spring of 2023)
After reading the email we sent describing this project, how does the phrase “I AM ALASKA” resonate/mean to you?
I was born & raised here! It’s in my blood! I have/am raising two strong kids here & own a local art business that supports the art community for the last 16 ½ yrs.
What do you love about living in AK?
The people, the community & the summers!!
Describe your best Alaska adventure?
Growing up, a snowmachine was how I got around in the Winter, before I had a car. I would drive from my house in the Valley, cut across Finger Lake to pick up my best friend & drive us into Palmer to go tanning haha! I used to race little Kittycat snow machines when I was young too. Also being in a bush plane I am right at home!
How did you discover SWOOP?
I first came across SWOOP at a Little Fish Workshop Makers Market. I was OBSESSED from that moment on! I went home & did some serious stalking, its ok, I told Lynn all about it after I met her ;) I knew SWOOP was just the right fit for my store Dos Manos!
SIDE NOTE: When I embarked on the SWOOP journey, my singular goal was to find a place in Dos Manos. Kara not only welcomed me with open arms but also instilled in me the confidence to forge ahead. It's not an exaggeration to say that without that pivotal opportunity, I'm uncertain if SWOOP would be at the remarkable point it is today. Grateful beyond words for your support and guidance – thank you!
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Dancing for 67 days straight(76 in all) during Covid lockdown.I didn’t know what to do with myself because my store was closed down. I did a daily dance it out stress reliever & posted a 20-45sec dance video each day. The reason? I had found that my social media feed was so scary & negative. The only control I had was to put something silly, goofy everyday. i knew I wasn’t the only one feeling that & if I could be a bright spot in a very shitty time & make someone smile or laugh that day, I was going to keep it up! It was such a hit! I still have people I don't even know asking me if I was the dancing girl?! & thanked me for helping them through it! They said I looked forward every day to your videos! Pretty proud of that one!
Words to live by/favorite motivational saying/quote/advice?
Rising tides floats all boats!
What advice would you give your 25yr old self?
Buy land!! Do more of what makes you happier sooner! You are so much stronger than you ever believed you were & NEVER let anyone make you feel like you’re not enough..because you are so enough!
Surprise skill: Animal whisperer/Animal magnet
Favorite superhero: Leia (princess)
Who inspires you: My business partner Steph Johnson
Favorite space in your home: My backyard in the Summer & my art room
What is your favorite month in AK: July-SUN SUN SUN