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How She Got There: Harpreet Kaur, Founder of Pree Brulee


Name: Harpreet Kaur
Age: 29
Job Title and Description: Founder of Pree Brulee
College/Major: University of St. Thomas/History
Website: www.preebrulee.com
Twitter Handle: @PreeBrulee

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

Harpreet Kaur: Delegating everything! But there is really no such thing as a typical day at our studio. Mornings begin with looking over at all of our correspondence accounts and sitting down with my team and strategizing the day ahead. Orders come in by the hour and while the packaging and customer service team are busy taking care of all the shipments, I usually am coordinating product shoots in our warehouse studio.

Since launching our clothing line this past spring, photo shoots take place almost daily and it's an exciting challenge to have those fresh products up on the website within 48 hours. From the beginning, our orders have included personalized thank you notes and regardless of how busy we are, my team has been directed to still add that little personal touch which our customers truly appreciate. Finalizing purchases from our designers is exciting and we are constantly researching what our customers love most and trying to bring the styles that really speak to them. Every day is different and that makes it very exciting.

What is the best part of your job?

HK: Oh, everything! Going into the studio each day as if it were the first, meeting new designers and being able to work with creative minds, making new friends with the various people that represent us, making lasting connections with our customers and just helping make women feel beautiful each day.

I also get to let loose my creative spirit which is empowering. I am constantly working on making our brand more beautiful, affordable and enjoyable for our customers. It's amazing to see my ideas come to life. And I am constantly surrounded by beautiful jewelry and clothes, so it's really amazing to come to work each day and very hard to leave at night!

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

HK: This perhaps would come as a surprise, but prior to Pree Brulée I had just been a full-time student and volunteer with different organizations on- and off-campus. And I believe all the things I learned in college, spending extra hours conversing with professors about varied topics, taught me many important things that are constantly included in my work life.

What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?

HK: There is a lot of planning and work that goes into making a company successful and you must choose the right people to represent your brand. Every little detail matters and building a team that is inclusive of hardworking, creative and caring people who understand your vision is absolutely imperative. You can't build a skyscraper with a faulty foundation!

Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?

There have been many people whom I have met that have given guidance and support that it's hard to pick just one person. My incredibly talented friends have been a source of constant support and encouragement. My dad is a seasoned businessman so whatever business acumen I possess it is thanks to him. When my fiancé, who was a successful petroleum engineer, joined Pree Brulée full-time, it gave me an incredible impetus to keep working even harder and realize what a beautiful opportunity I have to be able to run this company.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

HK: So hard top mention just one! But one of my favorite quotes is by Mark Twain: "20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, dream, discover."

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

HK: Realizing that mistakes happen and one must learn from them and move on quickly and not make the same one twice! There have been many unknowns with how fast Pree Brulée grows daily but I've always tried to not steer away from any difficulties. Accomplish even the most mundane task with steadfastness and make use of all opportunities that come your way, big or small.

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

HK: There have been so many surreal moments! From being featured in several national magazines to now having our own studio and warehouse space, to styling entire bridal parties (which I consider such an honor!) it has been quite a journey. And to think all this has happened in just two and a half years, I cannot wait to see where the next two and a half years will lead.

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

HK: They have to be passionate about the work they do at Pree Brûlée. They must be resourceful, honest and be able to come up with solutions if problems arise and also care deeply about the company. And we have a very important unwritten rule at the studio which is that bad attitudes in the studio are a no-no. Being around pleasant people makes work extra enjoyable for everyone.

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

HK: If you have a dream, invent ways to make it come true! The results are worth 20-hour work days and all of the endless delegating. Improvise if you don't have all the tools available in the beginning to make your vision come alive. And don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle. Lasting success takes time, patience, hard work and lots of coffee. 

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