Karol Richardson is an English-born designer who came to Cape Cod after completing her art school education at the London College of Fashion, and after designing for several years in the clothing industry in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City.
“One day I was watching my seven-year-old daughter, Natasha, ride her bike forlornly around our loft in Tribeca. I thought longingly about my own happy childhood exploring the English countryside, and I decided we needed a change.
“We moved to Wellfleet in September, just when it was most beautiful on the Cape. Natasha could walk to her little school and I could be there when she came home- so relaxing after the bustle of 7th Avenue. Initially, I thought I would take a sabbatical and work on some gallery pieces over the winter, but then I saw an empty retail space in town and signed a lease that afternoon. Suddenly, I had a store to fill and a business to run.”
“I spent all winter designing and sewing clothes under a leaky roof, while trying to keep my studio warm with a finicky wood stove. I remember dyeing fabrics in the bathtub until my hands were bright blue, and sometimes raspberry.”
“Shortly after I opened the store, a woman bought a few of my designs and took them to a wholesale show on the west coast. Next thing I knew, I had more wholesale orders than I thought I could ever possibly handle. Fortunately I found many talented sewers in the area, a number of them fisherman’s wives who helped me get production up and running.”
“It was hard work, but great fun too. There’s something so wonderful about creating a successful business from your own ideas. Here we are over twenty years later and still growing.”
Karol’s daughter, Natasha, has since grown up and joined the family business. In 1997, Natasha and Karol opened another KR location in Newport, RI. Natasha now does all the vendor buying, as well as managing the stores, one each in Wellfleet, MA, and Newport, RI. In addition to the exclusive KR collection, the Karol Richardson stores are known for their eclectic mix of featured designers. The style, ranging from casual/boho to quite dressy, succeeds in captivating women of all ages and walks of life. The addition of the KR Rayon Lycra Travel line eight years ago has been a runaway success in providing many women with comfortable, versatile outfits that go from day to evening with ease.
Natasha’s husband, Jeff Soderbergh, a well-known furniture designer with a studio in Newport, has opened a furniture and art gallery on the lower level of the Wellfleet KR building at 11 West Main Street. He and Natasha and their two boys are so happy to be part of the Wellfleet summer community, and look forward to many years there.