Karla
Spetic
Karla stands in her studo, surrounded by books and mannequins
Croatia and Austalian map outlines, connected by a dotted line

Karla Spetic

Born Croatia | Arrived Australia 1993 | Owner and Founder, Karla Špetić

Originally from Dubrovnik, Karla moved to Australia as the war in Croatia intensified. A naturally creative person, Karla decided to branch out and start her own fashion label. She is now a regular at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week with customers around the globe.

We had to start over and when I first arrived everything was a complete contrast to my old home. Karla Spetic

Adapting to
a strange new place

I was 11 when we first moved to the Sunshine Coast. I could not speak English and everything in Australia seemed so strange from the food, the people, nature and especially the way everyone dressed.

Karla as a baby with her grandmother in Dubrovnik
Karla at 12 months old with her grandmother in Dubrovnik in 1983. Karla learnt to transform old clothes into beautiful works of art from her grandmother.
Karla looks at a wall of textile samples, sketches, and notes

My mother worked hard but could not always afford the clothes I wanted, and I always dreamt of having a big wardrobe. It was my love of creativity for clothing that led me to move to Sydney to study fashion design, and not long after I decided to start my own label.

Karla Spetic

A roller-coaster ride
to success

Since starting my own business, my life as a business owner has become a rollercoaster. It’s filled with many emotions; anxiety, excitement, fear, doubt and satisfaction. It’s such a personal journey where you’re creating something for others to accept and judge.

Being a migrant in Australia has never hindered my business, in fact it probably helps me as people are intrigued by stories of migrants starting from zero and then succeeding in what they love. I would like to think that I did exactly that. I get to do what I love, and I feel so grateful for that.

Karla, smiling off-camera, stands in her brightly-lit studio
As the Foundation Partner of Tropfest, CGU has commissioned a short film to bring Karla’s story to life. This film was created by budding migrant filmmaker duo BroSis.
My advice to others thinking about starting a business is to clearly map out your vision. Create a point of difference, whatever that may be. Karla Spetic

36% OF MIGRANT BUSINESS OWNERS SAY THEIR CULTURAL BACKGROUND HAS HELPED THEM SUCCEED

23% OF MIGRANT BUSINESS OWNERS STARTED THEIR BUSINESS TO TRY OUT AN INNOVATIVE IDEA

47% OF MIGRANT BUSINESS OWNERS PLAN ON GENERATING HIGHER REVENUE

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Media Enquiries

For all media enquiries, including interview opportunities with inspiring migrant business owners, please contact the CGU media hotline: +61 (0) 2 9292 9742