Karla Gallardo, 30, grew up in a family who believed in buying fewer, better things. But it wasn’t until she met Shilpa Shah, 35, at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, that she realized she could parlay her parents’ philosophy into an online shopping experience. In June 2013, Cuyana.com launched, urging customers “to love every item in their closets.” With alpaca scarves from Peru and supple canvas and leather totes handmade in Turkey, they certainly make it easy.
It’s a unique concept to want consumers to buy less. Is that how you live your own lives?
Shilpa: I started the process a few years ago. I’d spent all this money and I still felt like I didn’t have the right thing to wear. But as I’ve started investing in fewer pieces, I’ve seen how good it feels. People really love our stuff because of the meaning behind it. And we know that that’s a critical part of having fewer things. You have to love what you buy.
Who is your style muse?
Karla: Olivia Palermo. She’s classic and she always looks sophisticated and unique. I also love Kate Middleton. She has my dream closet.
Shilpa: Jessica Alba. I’m a mom to two boys and I love how she effortlessly transitioned into motherhood. Her closet is super-functional but she’ll also wear a pair of amazing leather pants and a blazer.
What item of clothing are you planning on splurging on this season?
Karla: This amazing Chloe powder blue and white coat. I’m dying for it.
Shilpa: An amazing black leather boot. I’m eyeing ones from Yves Saint Laurent.
What are your workday and weekend uniforms?
Karla: Our office is casual, so usually J Brand skinny jeans, Vince silk blouses and Tod’s ballet flats or loafers. At night I love to dress up in skinny black pants or a dress and a blazer. And I always wear heels.
Shilpa: For work, I love Alice and Olivia silk pants, Theory blazers and silk blouses from Vince or Barney’s Co-op. And Rebecca Minkoff wedged booties. It’s cotton and jeans on the weekend with the kids. James or Paige skinny jeans, tees from Splendid or Equipment, and All Saints oversized sweaters.
You feel most creative when you’re wearing…
Karla: Heels. I grew up in Ecuador, and in Latin America us girls wear heels every day no matter what.
Shilpa: Red lipstick. My mother has been telling me to wear red lipstick my entire life.
Plus, Karla and Shilpa share their style essentials with us! See their must-haves.