Welcome to the Emirates Woman weekly series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs and businesswomen both based in the UAE and globally to find out about their career paths that led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out; and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.

Launched in 2009, Kismet by Milka started off her journey in Turkey with a distinctive range of jewellery. She then became recognized for her less-serious and more-is-more approach towards jewellery design – it included talisman charms and iconographic symbols and micro mono earrings.

Loved and worn by the likes of Anne Hathaway, Meghan Markle and Bella Hadid, to name a few – each piece is meticulously crafted for a unique and personalised approach to accessorising.

Recently, Kismet by Milka unveiled her latest collection – a partnership with DC Comics for a range of empowering designs. The collection consists of contemporary jewellery pieces that tell the legendary tales of some of the most iconic superheroes: Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.

Here, Emirates Woman speaks to Milka Karaağaçlı to get to know more about career journey and what drives her as a jewellery designer.

What was your favourite subject at school?

Math was my favourite subject. I was obsessed with solving equations, they really entertained me. Tricky questions were my favourite and I could go on for hours solving them.

What was your first job?

I initially started working as an account manager at Y&R Communication Agency, and continued as the company’s group client relations director before leaving to pursue my dreams and form Kismet by Milka.

What eventually brought you/the brand to Dubai?

Growing up in Istanbul, a unique location where the East meets the West, made it easy for me to fall in love with Dubai. Dubai is a destination that mixes modern culture with history and with many cultural similarities Dubai easily made me feel at home and has always felt near and dear to my heart. As a matter of fact, my first sales point ever was located in Dubai.

What inspired you to enter the jewellery and retail space?

I was always drawn towards design. The idea of creating something that is both beautiful and meaningful, and that can also be carried on you was always interesting to me. This pushed me to create my brand and join the jewellery industry.

Talk us through the concept of Kismet by Milka.

Kismet by Milka is a fine jewellery brand that is heavily influenced by street culture and what’s current. Our motto “Moving Forward” is a representation of our motivation to constantly aim for better, develop, grow, and learn throughout this journey called life. There are no limits for Kismet by Milka. I do think that we owe our success to this idea of not limiting our dreams, expectations, and goals. I’ve always dreamt big and have surrendered to life – look where that got me and my brand.

What are the key elements of your role?

As the designer and creative director of Kismet by Milka, I’m involved in every step. From concept curation to production, store design to one one-on-one relations with our customers, I try to take part in every aspect of my brand. It is a representation of myself, so it’s crucial for me to be fully connected to every angle.

Talk us through your daily routine.

My mornings start early. I send the kids off to school and then go to the gym. Once I’m done working out I always feel energised and relaxed. Then I check the news – mostly art and culture news. Once I’m up to date on what’s happening in the world of design and culture, I check my emails and get on with my day.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?

I would tell them to take the road not taken. Don’t listen to what others have to say. Just trust your gut, don’t think about the traditional way of doing things. Follow your instincts and dream big.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

Back in the day, my brand was called Kismet. A friend once reminded me that I’m the one behind the brand – she told me to put myself out there as a designer and add my name to the brand, transforming my brand from Kismet to Kismet by Milka. Her advice was really precious to me because she motivated me to be confident. Things took a huge turn after I incorporated myself more.

And what is the worst?

The worst advice I could’ve ever received was to be secure and not take risks. In my case, if I were to listen to those who tried to discourage me, I wouldn’t ever come this far. You have to be bold and aggressive towards your dreams sometimes. Nothing happens within your comfort zone. I chose to go for the life I dreamt of rather than settle with what I had. My advice would be to take risks and just give your dreams a chance. You never know what life has planned out for you.

What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

Breaking patterns in the jewellery industry was a tough challenge. People had this stiff idea about jewellery in terms of when to wear jewellery, how to wear them, etc. With Kismet by Milka, we introduced a new way of accessorizing that was both bold and subtle. That enables you to mix and match without looking over the top.

What are your future goals and plans for your career?

My future goals and dreams never end. I’m hoping to reach the unreachable, expand to heights that I could not picture in my head right now and connect with even more inspiring people.

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