The best blankets in the whole wide world – Women in Business
Branberry co-owner knits together her own success and fosters the next generation of designers and makers.
KASSIE Blaszak worked hard to be where she is today.
At 32 she’s the co-owner and director of Branberry and Interknit, an award-winning local knitwear manufacturer and designer label based in Mount Pleasant, Ballarat.
Growing up in low socio-economic circumstances, Kassie never considered higher education to be an option to her.
“I left school after completing year eleven,” she said. “The classroom didn’t suit me when I could be out learning to work and earning full-time in the real world.
“I was fortunate to have the great influence and support of my stepfather who ignited my entrepreneurial spark and my mother’s strong work ethic.”
It’s just one of the reasons why her company now hosts high school work experience students and supports RMIT fashion students with their final projects. Kassie knows very well that a lot of learning happens on the job.
“I am a knitwear designer, although it feels strange to say it because I’ve never sat a day in design school,” she laughed. “I’m actually more qualified for a career in hospitality management on paper.”
Learning design on the job has led to the creation of fantastic new and useful products.
“I didn’t start drinking red wine until I was thirty, but I have two very active messy children so I was already making baby blankets you could machine wash and tumble dry,” Kassie said.
“It was a natural extension to make throw blankets and cushions from the same luxurious natural fibres with the same easy to care for instructions, you know, for those accidental red wine spills.
“I didn’t want to create anything I wouldn’t use with my own family or wouldn’t wear myself which completely rules out hand washing, but I still needed it to be natural.
“I have designed each garment for Branberry which is really beyond my wildest dreams. I love working with my husband every day building a business that has a real purpose both in the local community and in Australia in general.”
To see more of Kassie’s designs, visit the store in Ballarat or shop online at branberry.com.