People who meet Dandelion and Karla Dante would never guess they are sisters. Half sisters, to be precise, they don’t have the same father. Propably the reason why they look so different. It’s always just been their mom and them, their biological fathers have not been in the picture long enough to be remembered. Karla is five years older, and she took care of her little sister right from the start.
Karla and Dandelion grew up in a trailer park on the outskirts of a small town with a lot of textile industry. It was a nice trailer park, most neighbors were retirees who took pride in tending their little gardens or improving their homes with all sorts of DIY handicraft activities. Karla and Dandelion’s mom worked long hours at a clothing factory, and the two girls were always welcome to a meal and a chat in the neighborhood. They remember a lot of kindness, laughter and a friendly community.
Their mom used to bring home remnants and clothes that didn’t pass quality control, and the two girls loved to take them apart and make new things from them. Dandelion had the ideas and Karla knew how to make them, or whom to ask and where to get stuff. It has always been that way and they enjoyed working together.
They sold clothes, bags, pillow slips and other things they made. And people loved their creations and soon asked for commission work. Later Karla and Dandelion started working at the same factory, and they learned a lot about the industry. But they had a dream since they were girls: They wanted to make a living from selling clothing they liked, unconventional outfits they couldn’t find in the usual stores.
They started out with a stall selling alternative fashion and jewelry. Some of it was self made, some of it bought. They traded at music festivals and traveled the country in their camper van. Two years later they had the funds to create their own clothing line. DANDELIONs GEAR was born.
Dandelion and Karla work very well together. Not only because they get along great, but because they complement each other perfectly. And they are proud of each other’s talents. They use to produce new items during the winter months and start to travel with the beginning of the festival season.
Karla is as resourceful with business matters as Dandelion is creative with her fashion ideas. Karla has some unique talents of her own, and without them they would probably still be working at the factory. If they need something, whether it’s a special kind of button, storage rooms or a supplier of any kind – Karla will find almost everything. It might take a day or two, but she will find what they need, and get a good deal on top of that. The Dante sisters have rules: No sweatshop commissions and no deals if they know of unsupportable working conditions. They might have to pay more, but Karla often finds a way to get both, a good deal and a clear conscience.
They needed quilted bags once, and they just didn’t have the time to make all of them. Karla took the samples and three bags of fabric and made a couple of calls. Two hours later she knew from talking to some very chatty church bazaar organizers that there was a senior trailer park with a quilting club, and the members would love to meet her. 12 old ladies made a wonderful job of it, and they were happy to sell the completely finished bags for less than Karla would have had to pay for having them made in parts by three different manufacturers. Karla and Dandelion still work with the club, and they get homemade pie, very neat work and pay a fair price. If they can sell quilts for them they do it gladly and without commission, and everyone is happy.
It’s Karla’s special talent to find and maintain good working relationships that are sort of unconventional but nonetheless very productive. And she loves old ladies and homemade pie ;).
Karla likes handling the business part, she is good with numbers and planning, organizing and finances. She can be the uncompromising business woman if need be, but she definitively prefers friendly and trusting working relationships.
That’s why she loves to work with her sister. She relies on Dandelion as much as Dandelion on her, they always have been a great team. Sure, they bicker about small things, but they never fight, there’s just no need. And while Karla felt responsible for her little sister when they were kids, she doesn’t feel like there’s a great age difference now.
Karla is as pale as Dandelion is tanned, and she prefers less brightly colored outfits. She loves bohemian style clothing and white, and she likes to wear pink, berry colors and violet. She likes hiking and driving, and she likes the life on the road. But she doesn’t mind settling down for the winter, and she would love to have a cat. Karla keeps a journal, and she likes to listen to audio books while she’s driving. They don’t have much time for reading, and Karla is determined to listen her way through all the classic literature she can get her hands on.
She has an incredible memory for details, and whether it’s an old lady who tells her something about the grandchildren or a supplier with health problems: Karla remembers everything. It’s part of her people skills to show an interest in the person she’s dealing with, and her interest in people is real most of the time.