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Meet Karen Mehanna of Land o lakes


Today we’d like to introduce you to Karen Mehanna. 

Hi Karen, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My name is Karen Mehanna, I am a Lebanese-American citizen. I am the wife of an actor, a mother of two: Alan and Mandy; and now a grandmother of two Melody and William. My journey took me from Lebanon to America, where I gave my children the opportunity to study and complete their education. I, then, decided to go back to university and finish my Bachelor’s Degree in Communication at the age of 50.

When my family returned to Lebanon in 2013, I struggled to find a steady job, and after talking to my husband and kids, I decided it was time to pursue a long-forgotten dream to bring Simply Karen to life. Now almost seven years later, that dream is a reality.
Life had a more interesting twist, however, as I decided to take the journey back to the US again. Lebanon has been going through crises after crises, and with a corrupt government we knew that coming back to the land of the free and of opportunity was the right decision. I arrived in Land o Lakes this past May and I have been working to introduce my brand to the American public. The journey has been good so far and as we say in Arabic the bird builds its nest slowly.
In addition to Simply Karen Designs, I also have professional experience in management, as well as nannying, event management, and decoration.
Now it’s a matter of time and patience to make this dream of mine even bigger here in the US, with God’s grace it will come true. I have had great support here from The Power Gals Networking group. The women have been amazing and the support they gave me and give each other is amazing.
So what do I do with Simply Karen Designs? I design, create and hand make unique one-of-a-kind customized and personalized hair accessories for all your special occasions, and outfits too when the need arises. The accessories and outfits are made with high-end fabrics, a dash of love, attention to detail, and a whole lot of magic”.
All Simply Karen Designs are kid and baby-friendly!
Since I launched my brand, Simply Karen Designs has now shipped to many countries in the MENA region, to the USA, to Europe, and is available in the UAE on the Babyarabia.com website..

I have continued to evolve my brand and designs to now also include ladies of all ages. From the outfit to the accessories and decorations, Simply Karen Designs is the place to bring all those elements together.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We left Lebanon, my home country the first time because of the war. We came to the US did our due diligence and became American citizens. After 13 years my hubby wanted to go back to his career in Lebanon, I wasn’t able to find a job thats how Simply Karen Designs started.  The struggle to build Simply Karen was hard but at the end of the tunnel was my rainbow. I flourished in Lebanon and Simply Karen became a household name for luxury hair accessories.

Life is never a straight road. Lebanon this past year has been in crisis mode from a huge bomb explosion to public revolts because of a corrupt government that has stolen our money plus Covid. I told my hubby we cannot stay in Lebanon anymore. My mom lives with us she needs a respirator 24/7. Unfortunately the economic crises has brought on no electricity, gas prices rocketing food shortages as well as lack of medical supplies., so the decision to leave was immediate, I was not willing to lose my mom. My daughter and her family had also left ahead of us, and I cannot live without my kids close by I am a mama hen.
Trying to bring Simply Karen to the US was not easy, as Lebanon is tiny in comparison.
There is so much more to a business here, so much legal paperwork, learning how to do that, plus taxes, and having to find a job to sustain us until Simply Karen becomes that source.

I had my core team in Lebanon. I am trying to find new ones here. I just started a campaign with influencers in the hopes that they would help. The power gals Networking group also has helped me a lot. I met some amazing women, who have been helping me a lot. I am in the last stages of building a website SimplyKarenDesigns.com , this also needs work to put in all the required legal stuff.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
In the US, I am fairly an unknown. In Lebanon where Simply Karen started, I was known for unique one-of-a-kind hair accessories and outfits. My brand was set up on the promise that the piece I make is unique I don’t copy myself or others. I enjoy creating something special for each child and now lady. I believe if you want something retailers can provide, they are a dime a dozen. I want my piece to stand out, to be special. My clients in Lebanon have always known that and depend on it. I work one on one with my clients with pictures trials and errors until we create the piece they imagined. I prefer my clients be 100% satisfied than to buy something they don’t like and give bad reviews. I am proud of my brand, proud to be a mom and grandma. Proud to have sustained a 35-year marriage and proud of what I have been able to accomplish this far. Ultimately, my dream is to have a store where moms can come and find everything they need for their event in one place.

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
I was a tomboy, and I loved to play outside. I liked school but hated math. I danced for 12 years of my life, taught aerobics back then as well. I was headstrong but very girly. I loved playing with Barbies. Have fond memories of family gatherings, as a child. Lived a very strict life, my dad was very old school. Most of the time though I was the odd one out in my family. I love reading but these days I barely have time. My favorites are Danielle Steel books. Always loved movies and TV, that’s why I must have married an actor.

Pricing:

  • 15$-150$ depending on piece being created.

Contact Info:


Image Credits
@Nourshehabphotography.lb

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