We had the good fortune of connecting with Katia Gounou and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Katia, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
In the beginning I did not set the expectations very high. I got the opportunity to buy trendy outfits on sale while being in Spain and I thought it would be great for me to come back with some pieces that I could easily resell to friends and post on different online platforms. While at the airport on my way back, I realized it would be expensive for me to pay for the extra suitcase I had which mainly had the clothes I wanted to resell so I was anxious thinking “what am I going to do?” when I decided to check my bank account and realized my scholarship stipend had just hit my bank account.

I had the privilege of being a Terry Scholar, and at this moment I started reminiscing about my own story and how much this scholarship foundation has changed the course of my life for the best. The main question I was asking myself was “how can I show my gratefulness and bless other people the way the Terry Foundation has blessed me?”
I then decided to establish this business, and put in the time and efforts necessary to scale it so that one day I can also help other women like me fulfill their dreams.

I thought to myself “Katia this is a big commitment, and you still have one more year of College. Are you sure you can afford to be running a business professionally right now? and without paying yourself?” The answer was “YES, YOU CAN DO IT!” That’s how I launched Katia’s Kloset once I got back to the States.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Far beyond an online clothing store, the particularity of this business is that it is a non-profit created with the purpose of funding women education focusing on underdeveloped countries internationally but also minorities in America. All profits from this business are reinvested until it’s ready to create scholarships and build vocational schools.

Katia’s Kloset provides the latest fashion trends focusing on Classiness, elegance with a pinch of sexiness to enhance the woman’s femininity and empowerment.

This summer 2021 we are adding over 80 new styles to our collections which is a big boost in the inventory. We are going for a “hot girl summer” vibe with very sexy and feminine trendy outfits. We also include plus sizes so far up to 3XL, and we plan on incorporating more sizes, possibly up to 5XL for certain styles. A tremendous amount of work is being done behind the scenes to boost the business even further including expanding the team by hiring more highly qualified people to sustain the growth of the business.

While the road has not been easy, I truly enjoy the process and I learn a lot along the way.

The first and biggest challenge I had to overcome was fear. After dealing with fear, I had to deal with the actual situations that I was fearing like running a business while in school, with absolutely no experience in professional branding and digital marketing, on top of a very tight budget.

I did not have anyone to guide me or help me, and I couldn’t afford to hire industry professionals for assistance. I spent many nights trying to figure out building a website, registering a business, finding local designers and vendors etc…

Another challenge has been managing my social media accounts. As a natural perfectionist, I was taking so much time to create the type of contents that would market the products but also introduce the mission of this business. Thankfully we will be hiring a Social Media Marketing and Content Coordinator starting June 2021 which will give me more time to focus on other aspects of the business and also manage my personal life responsibilities.

In fact, it’s the perfect time for us to start outsourcing because beside the fact that we feel financially ready to solicit the help of professionals, I have also started my career as an engineer with a full-time job which also requires a lot of time and dedication.

I am so proud to say that Katia’s Kloset is owned by me, a Spring 2020 first gen College Graduate who felt the calling to create this business during my senior year of College while still being an extra full-time Engineering student.

I moved to the United States at 16 years old by myself without anything other than a dream of getting a College Degree, and today I am not only a Mechanical Engineer but also a strong entrepreneur with huge humanitarian goals. I am proud to say that hard work pays off, and that the hand that gives wholeheartedly never lacks anything.

I want the world to know that Katia’s Kloset is not just a regular business, but a legacy. It represents an awakening call for women around the world to make their voices heard, and pursue their dreams. It is a movement that I want other women to follow in order to support our own communities and build the female game changers of tomorrow.
I also want all the girls out there who would love to start their own business but are afraid or think they don’t have enough resources to get up and start anyways. You have to believe in your own power or no one else will. When it gets too difficult, take the time that you need to get back on your feet and keep going.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
As long as I have lived in Dallas, I still feel like I have not seen everything. There are so many places to visit in Dallas and so many fun activities to do. I recently discovered a sushi restaurant in Uptown called “Uchiba” and on top of being a very cozy and classy place, they have the best sushi I’ve ever had in Dallas. They are a little bit on the pricier range but it’s so worth it, and the deserts are amazing and they have a very fancy looking bar.

Another one of my favorite restaurants is Zenna Thai Restaurant. You can never go wrong with this restaurant, and they have locations all around the metroplex. I love their Panang Curry with shrimp, and the fried banana with ice cream desert. The prices are very affordable, and they have a variety of choices both for food and drinks.
Legacy West, Frisco is one of my favorite spot for cute photos and to explore nice restaurants as well as the many food options inside Legacy Hall.

If you’re feeling extra fancy you have to check out “Five Sixty” restaurant at the Reunion Tower downtown. It is definitely pricy, and you have to dress accordingly but the food is definitely worth it.

I don’t go clubbing a lot but every Saturday night there is a West African party at a club called Luxor in Lewisville which opens at 11PM and keeps going on until 5AM. I have only been there twice but a lot of my friends go there all the time and I must admit it is very fun and addicting.

Other activities may include biking especially at White Rock Lake, do a scavenger hunt in downtown, or visit the Dallas World Aquarium.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shoutout to the Terry Foundation who has provided free educational funds to thousands of underprivileged students in Texas, along with great resources, mentorship and a reliable community of students. Based in Houston, The Terry Foundation is the largest private scholarship provider in the state of Texas and is available in 13 universities. Without the Terry Foundation, I probably would’ve never traveled to Spain for my internship, and I would’ve probably not had the means or the motivation for starting Katia’s Kloset while being in College.

Website: shopkatiaskloset.com

Instagram: instagram.com/katiaskloset

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katia-gounou-346296a0/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/katias_kloset

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katiaskloset99/

Yelp: https://biz.yelp.com/home/p5oZPuQJbou_GTPZba21Pw/

Image Credits
Yobo Photo UT Dallas Photographers Life in Perspective Photography

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.