• 20 - 21 July 2022
  • ICC Sydney

Meet the inspiring duo behind Designerex ...

By Carmel Zein, Online Retailer Conference & Expo

Above: Kirsten Kore, Co-Founder, Designerex

Above: Costa Koulis, Co-Founder, Designerex

Online Retailer provides a platform for talented professionals to take the stage and share learnings from one business to another. We acknowledge that through this platform we have a duty to ensure the entire retail landscape is represented accurately and equally, which is why we pay extra attention to curating a show that is inclusive.

With International Women’s Day just around the corner we have taken this opportunity to showcase some of the brilliant women contributing to an equal workplace. Gender parity cannot be championed without the support of men which is why we also love seeing businesses founded and run equally by both men and women. Only when we learn to appreciate each other’s unique skills and talents will we be able to advance.

I sat down with an inspiring duo, who co-founded an ecommerce business at the same time as building a family together.

Introducing the co-founders of Designerex, the first secure peer-to-peer designer clothes sharing platform, Kirsten Kore and Costa Koulis

Can you tell us a little bit about what sparked the idea behind Designerex?

KIRSTEN: My thirst for newness! When I was in my previous job and I needed a dress for an upcoming awards night. I wanted a dress which had a price tag of around $1000 but I knew I was only going to wear it once or twice, which made it difficult to justify the purchase. I ended up renting the dress instead, however the process wasn’t secure and that’s when I realised there was no end to end secure way for women to share their designer dresses with each other.
What made you go into business together? What are some of the benefits that have come out of this partnership?

KIRSTEN: We had already worked together in real estate many years ago, in fact that’s how we met. So working together was already something that we were accustomed to.

COSTA: I think couples find themselves needing to work together anyway, regardless of whether they actually need to work together from a career perspective. For example, running a household, managing finances, raising kids, these all require the ability to work together as a couple.

KIRSTEN:  Costa has a real passion for innovation, so when he noticed the issue that I was having constantly needing new outfits, it was a challenge that he and I both welcomed, and collectively set out to solve.

With International Women’s Day coming up, do you have any words of advice for women looking to start their own business venture?

KIRSTEN: Tap into business groups and really try and surround yourself with go-getters and people who will be your cheer squad during your journey as an entrepreneur, you’ll need it! Ultimately, believe in yourself and your own ability, dream big and just go for it as soon as possible.

From your own experience of managing a business whilst balancing having a family, what role do you see men having in the empowerment of gender equality?

KIRSTEN: I am very lucky that I have an extremely supportive partner, whilst we both manage the business and little child. Because we are both so involved in the business, we both understand what’s required and therefore share family and work responsibilities as equally as possible.

Can you give a little sneak peek of what we can expect to learn from your session at Online Retailer?

KIRSTEN: I am really excited to be involved with this years Online Retailer. You may hear a little about the next generation of retailing, including how millennials and the sharing economy have impacted the traditional ways of consuming fashion and retail.


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