Some people look forward to retirement for years, planning trips to warmer places in the winter and spending long afternoons relaxing.
But Norma Kamari, who turned 77 in June, has never considered retirement.
In fact, the celebrity fashion designer and owner of Norma Kamali Inc. has just signed a long-term lease for a new office in Manhattan’s West Village neighborhood.
“I don’t think I can retire from a creative life,” she told CNBC Make It. “Doing this work is like breathing for me.”
Kamari admits she gets “uneasy” when friends and colleagues announce their retirement. “I think, ‘God, why would you want to do that?'” she explains. “I don’t even know what retirement will be like for me…but it’s a different perspective I have on life and I’m so grateful to be doing the work I do.” I want to take advantage of every opportunity I have in this lifetime.”
Kamari opened her first store in New York City with her then-husband in 1969, and was inspired by the vintage fashions of the 1930s and 1940s and the bright outfits she saw women wearing on the streets of London. I designed clothes.
Since then, her fashion empire has grown beyond the tiny basement boutique she started building. Celebrities such as Mindy Kaling, Heidi Klum, Christina Aguilera, and Eva Longoria have worn her designs on magazine covers and red carpets around the world.
Still, Kamari’s proudest achievement isn’t the accolades she’s received or her design fame in Hollywood. She is the sole owner of her company and has no debt.
“I was really fighting for my creative life and my ability to say no,” she says. For example, I was pressured to sell my company or bring in a partner.”
“I really had to learn how to run a business without role models or mentors. ”
Humor is one strategy Kamari relies on for building strong relationships at work.
“Nice humor is the best way to offer advice, comments, or even criticism without hurting someone’s feelings, especially if you want to benefit from the advice and feel better. ‘ she says.
Kamari wants to continue working in the fashion industry for as long as possible. She says she is happy with her aging.
“I learned how to split when I turned 65,” she says. “By challenging myself, trying new things, and practicing the discipline until I achieved my goals, I gained a great deal of confidence in my work…and a strong sense of self-confidence is the probability of success.” increase the.”
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