Kara Tongring Wirin: Co-Owner of Bungalow Road
My goal was to provide that "cozy" shopping experience offering the most unique gifts at fair prices to anyone who stepped foot thru our doors. When your store becomes the "go-to" for just that, it is extremely rewarding.
Give us a little history about you and how Bungalow Road began?
I'm Kara Wirin, Co-Owner of Bungalow Road. I reside at the Jersey Shore in Interlaken, NJ with my husband and three boys. Years ago, I began a small business and I had the desire to make it something more; specifically a gift store. Then one afternoon in October of 2010, while picking up my kids from school, I met Katie. She shared that same entrepreneurial spirit and we decided to join forces. That's when Bungalow Road began to take flight.
How does the trifecta of Kara/Katie/Bridget effect the day to day?
I couldn't have dreamed up a better team! Katie's organization and strong logistical skills keep us on task. Bridget has a serious eye for design and her finger on the pulse of social media, bridging that age gap between our customers. My enthusiasm for retail and creative thinking help drive our business. When I see something I think our customer should have, I bring it to the team and make it happen. I have over 20 years of fashion merchandising with Ann Taylor Inc. under my belt. Bungalow Road is a dream come true!
What are you wearing?
Jeans, boots, and a fun top. I'm classic, yet daring, and I don't usually have to reel it in. I also have a penchant for stacks of bracelets.
What is your favorite room in the house to decorate?
The foyer. It states my eclectic sophisticated coastal style of home and family; driftwood mirror, Lucite console table, reclaimed wood fish art, but the most important decor are the canvas pictures of my boys on the beach. The foyer is dynamic too, you can switch it up throughout the year with a simple exchange of photos or signs.
What is your all time favorite gift to give?
Hostess gifts hands down! If someone goes out of their way to invite you over, they care about you and nothing returns that feeling then a thoughtful gift. Bungalow Road has a reputation for offering unique hostess/host gifts; especially nautical themed.
What about Bungalow Road reminds you that your dream is a reality?
The moment a customer walks into our with that "I have no idea what to get my..." and within minutes transforming their shopping experience into finding the perfect gift... that's it! They can walk out picturing how this new product in their lives is going to look and function and most importantly bring joy to the recipient, even if for them. That's what it is all about for me. My goal was to provide that "cozy" shopping experience offering the most unique gifts at fair prices to anyone who stepped foot thru our doors. When your store becomes the "go-to" for just that, it is extremely rewarding. We have so many repeat customers and it always brings a smile to my face when I see them #Bungalow Roading out and about!