Women Entrepreneurs on the Go: Veronica & Freeda from Kuwala

September 09, 2015

Welcome to our new blog series on Encircled, "Women Entrepreneurs on the Go". Over the next few months, we will feature successful female entrepreneurs who LOVE to travel. They'll be sharing their story, how they started their businesses, and what motivates them the most, and how they overcome the challenges that come with being an Entrepreneur. As well, you'll get a sneak peek into their favourite travel destinations and their carry-on bag! 

This week I'd like to introduce Veronica + Freeda, the founders of Kuwala, a brand that promotes and celebrates African fashion. Kuwala is an online boutique that curates stylish and unique pieces from socially responsible African fashion brands.

About Kuwala

Kuwala is a fairly new business, having been open for just under 2 years, but they are going strong! Not only are Kuwala's items uniquely exclusive and handmade, but they're made by socially responsible brands in Africa which is an added bonus for ethical shoppers.

Living outside the African continent can make it difficult to source unique fashion made from African prints and fabrics. This is the drive behind Veronica and Freeda's business - making beautiful African-inspired styles available in Canada while at the same time promoting a sustainable fashion industry.

Long Distance Business Partners but making it work

Though Kuwala is based in Toronto, Veronica and Freeda live in different cities (Veronica in Toronto, Freeda in Calgary) which can create some challenges for running a business together. Luckily, technology has helped them overcome this. They've defined each of their business roles, commit to weekly Skype meetings, and are very supportive to each other. One particular way they stay in touch and keep things positive despite the distance, is to text each other after receiving positive feedback and support from a happy customer - Freeda and Veronica love to celebrate these successes together! 

Veronica and Freeda believe that part of what makes their business successful, is the customers that understand, believe in and support their mission. When they hear customers explain Kuwala's mission to their friends, it shows that they truly understand what they are trying to achieve with their business. And of course, being able to fulfill their customers needs is top priority. 

On Travel

Both ladies have had opportunities to travel and explore. Veronica's favourite trip so far has been to Brazil where she spent a month travelling alone couchsurfing and staying in hostels while she explored the city with other travellers and locals. Since she was travelling solo, it was easy to determine her own route and journey from place to place at her own pace.

Freeda's most memorable trip so far has been her very first trip to New York city. She visited Times Square, Grand Central Station, Central Park, and saw the thousands of NYC’s iconic yellow cabbies. It was much like the movies! Both ladies had also been able to visit family and friends in Africa and have met many talented and ambitious people along their travels. 

Veronica's Top 8 Carry On Essentials 

1) Passport!

2) A notebook – To write down notes and my thoughts

3) Toothbrush/toothpaste – Clean teeth are important

4) MacBook & protective sleeve 

5) Warm socks – My feet always get cold in planes Sunglasses – I’m assuming we’re going somewhere hot & sunny

6) Bilingual dictionary - I want to say "I'm hungry" in every language :)

7) Cellphone & charger – not to make calls during the flight but to take photos

8) Headphones – To watch the in-flight movies or listen to podcasts

Freeda's Top 8 Carry On Essentials

1) Glasses/prescription sunglasses – without them I’m blind

2) Credit card – purchasing power no matter where I am

3) Camera - to capture memories

4) Comfortable shoes and socks – comfort and warmth are key

5) Headphones – To listen to music or watch the in-flight movies

6) Facecloth – quick and easy way to freshen up

7) Floss – I always get food stuck in my teeth

8) Small pillow – so I can take a snooze comfortably in flight or in transit at the airport

Learn more about Veronica, Freeda, and Kuwala on Instagram/Facebook

Special thanks to Veronica + Freeda for taking the time to be interviewed for "Women Entrepreneurs on the Go". If you know an Entrepreneur, or are an Entrepreneur who loves to travel that we should feature, please click here to contact us. 

With gratitude,

Brittany

Encircled

Love travel? Join our League of Travelistas -- a community for women who love to travel. Click her to request access to our private facebook group.





Also in The Journal

Wearing a Long Sleeve Top, 4 Ways

October 11, 2017 0 Comments

The long sleeve top is a quintessential staple in every wardrobe. You can dress it up, dress it down, drape it loose, or tuck it in. We styled our Essential Long Sleeve Top in 4 different ways to...

Continue Reading

Event Re-Cap: The Encircled In-Studio Social, Fall Edition

October 04, 2017 0 Comments

Last week, we held our very first In-Studio Social! We’d moved from our tiny 600 square-foot studio to a larger space this summer and wanted to celebrate by inviting our customers (you!) to see...

Continue Reading

A Weekend Guide to Prince Edward County, Canada

September 27, 2017 0 Comments

Travel Essentials. Encircled creates versatile minimalist clothes with the everyday traveler in mind. Each piece is Made in Canada, out of sustainable, and eco friendly materials.

Over labour day weekend, I escaped the busy city of Toronto for the newest wine and culinary destination in Ontario: Prince Edward County. This area of Ontario feels like it didn’t really exist until a few years...

Continue Reading

Encircled Size Charts
Please scroll down to find the size chart for each design. If you have any questions on sizing, please try out our online size recommender or click here to contact us with questions prior to ordering. Size charts are in alphabetical order based on design name.
If you're on our product page viewing the size chart, click anywhere outside of the pop-up (or on the X in the top right corner) to close the size charts, or click here to surf back to our main collection page.

The Chrysalis Cardi

Size
Garment Length (Laid Flat) Garment Width (Laid Flat) Bust 
(inches)
Waist 
(inches)
Hip 
(inches)
Height 

Regular

(xs - xxl)

38" 39.5" 32"-41" 25"-34" 35"-44" 5'2"-6'0"

Petite

(xxs - m)

35" 34.5" 27"-35" 23"-28" 30"-38" <5'4"

Maxi

(xl - xxxl)

43" 41.5" 41"-52" 33"-45" 44"-56" <6'0"

Fit Advice: The Regular Chrysalis Cardi is a one size fits most garment ranging from sizes XS-XXL or 2-14. It can be easily belted in multiple ways, however the Regular is not recommended for petite or shorter woman due to the volume of fabric - See Petite Cardi. The Regular is also not recommended for curvier/taller women due to fabric pulling around the bust or bottom - See Maxi Cardi.

We recommend watching the how-to wear videos to see how much fabric drape and length you would like in your finished garment. If you are in between sizes, it is best to size up and the garment can always be tailored shorter to better suit your look - you cannot add more fabric, unfortunately!

The Petite is best suited for women 5'4" and under with a smaller frame, although it will also work on women above this height (depending on preferred length when styled). 

The Maxi is best suited for all women under 6’0” with a curvier shape to eliminate any uncomfortable fabric pulling, although it will also work on women who are a bit less curvy (depending on preferred length when styled).

*If you have any questions on sizing, please contact us - Remember it is best to provide us with your height and size range of garments that you already own! 

 

The Dressy Sweatpant

WHEN WORN AT NATURAL WAIST

Worn higher up to sit at your natural waist - straight leg tapers from the hip to ankle opening.

Size XS (0-2) S (2-4) M (6-8) L (10-12) XL (14-16)
Waist (inches)
23" - 25"
25" - 28"
28" - 32"
32" - 34"
34" - 37"
Hip (inches)
32" - 34"
35" - 38"
38" - 41"
41" - 44"
44" - 47"
Inseam (inches) 26.5"

Fit Advice: We recommend staying with your usual size if you are in-between sizes. The cut on The Dressy Sweatpants is more generous and the fit is meant to be drapey and slightly loose. 

 

The Essential Long Sleeve Top

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 12 - 14 (XL) 14-16 (XXL)
Bust 28 - 30" 30 - 33" 33 - 36" 36 - 39" 39 - 42"
42 - 45"
Waist 23 - 25" 25 - 27" 28 - 30" 30 - 33" 34 - 36"
36 - 38"
Hips 30 - 32" 33 - 36" 36 - 38" 38 - 41" 41 - 44"
44 - 47"
Front Length / Back Length 24 - 31"
24 - 31"
24 - 31"
24 - 31"
24 - 31"
24 - 31"

Fit Advice: The Essential Long Sleeve Top fits a bit larger than our usual tees. We suggest to order true to your normal size, however since the styling is more flowy than our other Encircled tees, it is suggested to size down if you prefer a tighter look. As the fabric has a natural stretch, it will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown around the chest and hips. 

 

The Evolve Top

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M)
10 - 12 (L)
14 - 16 (XL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
Waist 20-22" 23-25" 26-28" 32-34" 35-37"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
Fit Advice: The fit of The Evolve top is drapey but tapers towards the hip and tends to fit large. We recommend for you to size down from your normal size if you are unsure. The fabric on The Evolve top has a natural stretch that will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown. 

The Flipside Legging 

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 14 - 16 (XL)
Waist 20-24" 25-28" 28-32" 32-34" 34-37"
Hips 30-34" 35-38" 38-41" 41-44" 44-47"
Inseam 28" 28"
28"
28"
28"

Fit Advice: We recommend sizing up if you are in between sizes with your measurements. The modal fabric on The Flipside Leggings is not as 'taut' as synthetic fabrics like polyester, so if you prefer a snugger fit in the waist area for your leggings, size down. The Flipside Leggings are pre-shrunk. 

 

 The Minimalist Legging + The Minimalist Crop Legging

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 14 - 16 (XL)
Waist 20-24" 25-28" 28-32" 32-34" 34-37"
Hips 30-34" 35-38" 38-41" 41-44" 44-47"
Inseam

28"

(crop 20")

28"

(crop 20")

28"

(crop 20")

28"

(crop 20")

28"

(crop 20")

Fit Advice: We recommend sizing down if you are in between sizes with your measurements. The bamboo fabric on The Minimalist Leggings is tighter than the Flipside Leggings. The Minimalist Leggings are pre-shrunk.

 

The Nomadic V-Neck

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 12 - 14 (XL) 14 - 16 (XXL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
42.5 - 44.5
Waist 23-24" 25-26" 28-29" 30-31" 32-34"
35-37"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
45-47"
Length 28" 28" 28" 28" 28"
28"

Fit Advice: The Nomadic V-Neck fits true to size. If you want a more relaxed fit, size up. The length can be hemmed by a tailor. As the fabric has a natural stretch, it will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown around the chest and hips. 

 

The Retrograde Kimono Dress

Size
XS (0-2) S (2-4) M (6-8) L (10-12) XL (14-16) 
Bust (Inches)
28 - 32.5"
33" - 35.5"
36 - 38.5"
39 - 41.5"
42 - 49"
Hip (Inches)
33" - 36"
37" - 39"
40" - 42"
43" - 45"
46" - 50"
Length (Inches)
At longest, 33"
At longest, 34"
At longest, 35"
At longest, 36"
At longest, 37"

Fit Advice: The Retrograde Kimono Dress is our most "oversized" piece in the collection. We suggest to order true to your normal size to get the intended look. If you prefer a slimmer or tighter look, we suggest choosing a size down than your usual Encircled size.

 

The Reversible Pencil Skirt

Size
XS (0-2)
S (2-4)
M (6-8)
L (10-12)
XL (14-16)

Waist (inches)

23" - 26"
26" - 29"
29" - 32"
32" - 34"
35" - 37"

Hip (inches)

32" - 34"
35" - 38"
38" - 41"
41" - 44"
45" - 47"

Length Total (inches)

20"
21"
22"
23"
24"

Fit Advice: The Reversible Pencil Skirt fits true to size, but it's suggested to size up if you fall between sizes. The pencil skirt offers a smooth silhouette that slightly tapers from waist to hips and down through to the hem, hitting just at knee length. A pencil skirt should smoothly skim your curves, so to get a perfect fit, first identify your largest measurement then choose the size offering that range while still allowing for some stretch. The fabric on The Reversible Pencil skirt has a natural stretch, that will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown. 

 

The Revolve Dress II + The Sleeveless Revolve Dress

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 4-6 (S) 8-10 (M) 12-14 (L) 16-18 (XL) 20 (XXL)
Bust (in inches)  30.5-32.5" 33.5-35.5" 36.5-38.5" 39.5-41.5" 42.5-44" 45-47"
Waist (in inches)  25-26" 28-29" 30-31" 32-34" 35-37" 38-40"
Hips (in inches)  33-36" 37-39" 40-42" 43-45" 46-48" 49-52"
Length (in inches) At longest, 34.5" adjustable At longest, 35.35" adjustable At longest, 36" adjustable  At longest, 36.75" adjustable At longest, 37.5" adjustable At longest, 38.25" adjustable

Fit Advice: The Revolve Dress is designed to fit drapey that tapers towards the hip. We recommend staying with your typical dress size. If your hip measurements are above the guide, size up. The length can be hemmed by a tailor. The fabric on The Revolve Dress has a natural stretch, that will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown.

 

The Wanderer Sleeveless T 

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 12 - 14 (XL) 14 - 16 (XXL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
42.5 - 44.5"
Waist 23-24" 25-26" 28-29" 30-31" 32-34"
35-37"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
45-47"
Length 28" 28" 28" 28" 28"
28"

Fit Advice: The Wanderer Sleeveless T fits true to size. If you want a more relaxed fit, size up. The length can be hemmed by a tailor. As the fabric has a natural stretch, it will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown around the chest and hips. 

 

The Reversibe Bandeau Bra  

Size
(XS/S) (M/L)
Bust 30 - 33" 34 - 37"

Fit Advice: The Reversible Bandeau Bra fits true to size and the wide elastic band provides light to medium support. To ensure proper fit, measure your bust and check our size guide.