Barbara Kavovit is almost a symbol of ‘there is nothing you cannot do’ having been involved in the construction industry for more than 15 years she then founded one of the largest female owned renovation and construction management companies in New York, from that point on, this lady was very much becoming a dominate force in an area that is still very much considered a man’s world.
Today with the experience gained Barbara K as she is known, is changing the way women think about DIY, empowering them to start look after their own home improvements giving them the confidence and knowledge that they can repair that leaking tap or any other jobs that may need doing around the home.
Barbara’s vision though is not just to change the way women look at DIY but to do it with style – with her own range of designer work tools! We caught up with Barbara to find out what was new in the world of Ladies DIY.
Barbara, first off thank you for taking some time out to come chat with us, just to kick things off – where did it all begin?
There wasn't just one thing in particular but there were “evolutions” along the way that brought me to where I am today. Fresh out of college I overhead a conversation my Mom and her girlfriends were having, complaining about how they couldn't get their husbands to do basic things around the home; like hanging a shelf, fixing a leaky faucet and so on. Hearing this and thinking of myself as a motivated modern day woman inspired me to start a Home Improvement and General Contracting company. Some years later my divorce when my soon to be x husband took our toolkit and left me feeling like a damsel in distress! Soon after while watching an episode of Sex In The City, "Samantha", another women in distress, at her new apartment, couldn't hang the curtains and made an ill fated attempt to coerce a boyfriend to her apartment to do it for her. You've heard of "Eureka" moments- well these gave me the ideas and inspiration to create the Barbara K brand, line of female friendly tools, guide books, and home solutions for women."
Over the years have you seen a change in attitude over the years in how women now view home improvements and actually undertaking the task themselves?
Women have made such strides, great at using their imagination and are so creative that it would make perfect sense they would want to know how to enhance, improve or repair their homes. Easy access to “home improvement” tips and how-to via the Internet gives us the ability to complete tasks in the home, thus being more goal-oriented, independent and self-sufficient. In the US 22% of all homes were purchased by single women last year so obviously we are motivated and eager to learn about our homes, no matter where you live. Whether you decide to Do It Yourself, or hire someone it is equally important to have the basic knowledge to not get "screwed! " Women can do anything and it’s a powerful feeling of self- esteem that transcends to all aspects of a woman’s life!
From your own experiences what basic tools should every modern woman have around the house to fix most jobs?
You know that painting that’s been sitting at the bottom of your wall for six months—well you can hang it and tackle most home repair projects! No woman should ever be without a hammer, screwdriver, tape measure, pliers, hex keys, utility knife, paintbrush, Spackle knife and flashlight. Throw in a Power Drill for good measure and you’ve have confidence to you count on for a lifetime!
One of your products I just love is the pillow purse, it is one of those things on a journey you wish you had, where did the idea come for this?
Thanks! When I thought of my latest brand “DIYVA”, by Barbara K, which is pronounced, DIVA, but means “Do It Yourself DIVA” (“Y” is silent) , I knew as an entrepreneur and product inventor I had to create a fashionable product. That's’ why I love my Pillow Purse—it’s a true labor of love– talk about “utilitarian fashion!” I had a bad back, which I think a- lot of people can relate to and one day while sitting on a chair at my computer, I used my handbag to prop myself up to support my back. I realized I had a problem but also a great solution –- a handbag that convert into a supportive pillow while still leaving my items intact. Whether I’m at a hair salon, plane, train or office, I combined fashion and function in a 2-in-1 product that provides comfort and support in an instant! I then played around with many colors and styles and realized what a perfect solution for the busy girl-on-the-go!
You have an impressive range of tool kits for women including the Barbara K Ultimate Tool Kit, how much do you feel design and looks play a part in women buying tools?
Fashion, style, accomplishment and self-esteem go hand in hand and I always believe it’s a better world if a woman designed products, for them, made by them! Women love their systems and completing goals and like most women when I buy a lipstick I want the lip liner and lip-gloss to go with it. That's my system for making my lips look pretty. So it’s no surprise that design would be just as important when women buy a toolkit. They want a stylish bag but give her the system to hang a picture; a tape measure, hammer, level and picture hook and tell her a quick and simple way to get the job done!
One final Question before we ask a few fun ones, what does the future hold for DIYVA by Barbara K any new products or designs hitting our stores soon?.
I have a line of new toolkits hitting select Home Depot Stores later this year. The line is called the “Kissy Lips/Leopard Toolkit. Also, I’ll be doing DIY demonstrations for Macy’s in-store events starting April 2nd at Herald Square in NYC that I’m very excited about. Also pitching a new TV show focusing on “Screwing, Banging and Drilling and writing a new book!
Ok well now we have all the serious stuff asked Barbara time for a little fun
If you were a Cartoon Character whom would it be and why?
Probably a little bit of the Powerpuff Girls mixed with Dora The Explorer! Got to love sugar, spice and everything nice mixed with a little Chemical X, and an energetic sassy girl who’s always up for a challenge and willing to learn as she goes!
What’s the last movie you watched?
Wolf of Wall Street- Leo Dicaprio was larger then life and I love watching a movie that’s all about excess and attempting to have it all. It was also fun to speak to a friend about the movie that was one of the original sales people hired and depicted in it!
Do you have any fears such as heights or flying?
All of the above- I don’t like to do anything that makes me loose complete control and I would says flying and skydiving makes the top of that list!
What type of music do you like to listen to?
I’m a total rock chick! Love the guitar, drums and everything from Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Hendrix, to Guns and Roses, Metallica, Velvet Revolver and Alice n Chains! Also love Ray LaMontange and Enya on mellower days!
Where in the world would you most like to visit?
Probably Bali – I envision building designer huts with the locals using of course my tools.
Well Barbara that’s about all we have time for, but it’s been an absolute pleasure getting to chat with you and please keep us up to date with all your news and events
Pillow Purse video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zqZOuQRRrI
Guilian Rancic Pillow Purse E! — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWnTFokx_JY
How to Hang A Curtain Rod — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RU8WVphfS0&feature=gp-n-y
CNBC Campaign-“ I am American Business” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sd041d0cfnc