The Women of KOKET

the women of koket, founded by janet morais, sofia silva and rute estrela

The power of another person’s story is unique. In its raw form, it flows from one person’s experience to another in an almost physical rush. Perhaps a feeling of inspiration: “If they did it, so can I!” Or a moment of clarity where, all of a sudden, a new idea appears, sprouting from the exchange of experience.

For women, another’s story of perseverance, innovation, motivation, and success can be oh-so-powerful! In honor of Women’s History Month, we want to share the stories of women behind the brands that they have dreamed, founded, and built.

These are the women who bring a brand to life; women who are living, working, creating, and raising families. Through a series of questions, we delve into the minds of these women to share their empowering and uplifting thoughts and stories. Up now, The Women of KOKET (an extra special group of women as the publisher of Love Happens Mag!)

The luxury bespoke furniture brand KOKET is on a mission to inspire love and empower through unique design-driven experiences, content, and statement pieces. Led by founder Janet Morais and her exquisite eye for the intersection of haute couture fashion and savoir-faire in interior design, alongside her two closest confidants and co-founders Sofia Silva and Rute Estrela, the By KOKET team is composed of a dynamic, highly skilled, and empowering group of women. May you find inspiration, motivation, or perhaps just a good giggle as you read through this article and meet The Women of KOKET.

The Women of KOKET

Janet Morais

Founder | CEO

janet morais the women of koket iconic chandra chair

When did your love affair with design begin? And how did it make you feel? 

My love affair with design began as a child. I would go into to spaces and reimagine them in my mind. I loved collecting and organizing things in the most fantastical ways. My interiors have always been curated spaces of experiences and memories.

Tell us a bit about your path and what led to your decision to start KOKET?

I have always been a very decisive person, I never second guess a decision and when my mind is made up I apply laser focus to the journey. After design school and working with with prestigious international firms I launched my own design firm, DeMorais International, which is still active today for very select clients. This firm focused on high end residential projects but my imaginations and taste for European flair took me to Europe in search of products and craftsmanship that were not available in the US. 

During this journey I realized an opportunity to take European savoir faire to the United States and offer it to the interior design community. Very quickly I went from knowing exactly what the end consumer wanted, the market voids, and most importantly who was who in the design design industry. The path to the ultimate expression on myself was closer than I thought. I knew who to sell it to, where to produce it, who I would have at my side  – Rute Estrela – Sofia Silva. All I needed was a name.

Dresses, accessories, bows and and laughter have always been present in my life and it was only fitting that my brand was named KOKET.

Tell us about the name KOKET.

As a child I was given the name Janet la KOKET for my playful ways. I was a true coquette at a very young age. I refused to wear pants even in freezing temperatures. As early as 1st grade my mother would send me to school in pants and I would take a skirt in my bag and change in the bathroom as soon as I arrived. Dresses, accessories, bows and and laughter have always been present in my life and it was only fitting that my brand was named KOKET.

Who are Rute & Sofia?

During a trip to Salone del Mobile Milano, where I was traveling alone visiting one of my suppliers I came across 2 designers interning for a furniture brand at the show. Their desire to be at the show was visible in their eyes. As all eager interns they were filled with a will to do anything just to be present at the most inspiring show in the world and be exposed to the best. I watched them for 3 days and on my last day in Milan I offered them an Internship in the US for the following fall, which they eagerly accepted.

During that time their job was to to do nothing but watch me and learn how I designed and made the choices I did. Learn my inspirations and apply them to product. And on a hand painted black kitchen table KOKET came to life.

This was 15 years ago, today Rute and Sofia are still with the company and managing partners.

What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?

Being grounded in reality.

Who/what has contributed most to your success? 

The resilience and dedication of my team.

What surprised you most about growing a business?

The importance of an aligned company culture.

If you could have done something different, what would it be?

Followed my intuition.

What helps you move forward with your business despite the inevitable struggles?

Extreme Focus, Silence, and Time Alone.

Who is Janet Morais, a Woman of KOKET?

A fun loving bitch.

When women invest in other women, we all rise together, do you have any specific thoughts you would like to share about the women on your team? 

They are resilient, strong, determined, and will to do anything to succeed and learn.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in design?

Thick skin, and operational and business skills are crucial.

What’s next for Janet & the women of KOKET?

Retirement. Or ..?

Follow Janet Morais @janetlakoket

Sofia Silva

Founder | Chief Innovations Officer

When did your love affair with design begin? And how did it make you feel?

My passion for design began at a young age, fascinated by the beauty of art and the power of expression it provides. I’ve always studied art, and as I delved deeper into the field, my passion for design grew. Design makes me feel out of my comfort zone, stimulating creative ideas to express myself and creating opportunities to connect with others.

Tell us a bit about your path up to becoming a woman of KOKET.

My journey into design was a natural progression. As a young aspiring designer, I interned at one of Portugal’s most renowned furniture design companies, Boca do Lobo. And it was at a Design fair, Isaloni Milan, in a work context, that I met Janet and was impressed by her vision, inspirations, personality. There was chemistry. I was invited to work for her brand in the United States, and together with Rute Estrela, slowly, and with many work sessions, we founded KOKET. Since then, we haven’t looked back.

Do you recall any critical turning point when you realized your business was succeeding? If so, please explain.

The crucial moment came when I realized how people fell in love with our early pieces, especially the Chandra chair, and how well-received our products were at fairs and even by companies like Saks. It was a confirmation that we were on the right path.

What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?

One of my greatest achievements was being part of creating a brand that represents glamour, elegance, and innovation, empowering people to create spaces that reflect their unique essence. Another significant moment was when I finally saw the first Love Happens magazine materialize, fulfilling a dream.

Who/what has contributed most to your success? 

The dedication and know-how of the KOKET team, our clients and collaborators, and of course, Janet’s unwavering belief in me. Her continual encouragement to push beyond boundaries, strive for improvement, acquire knowledge, explore new horizons, and step out of my comfort zone has been invaluable.

What surprised you most about growing a business?

I was surprised by the impact of perseverance and adaptability amidst challenges, as well as the transformative power of creativity in an ever-changing business environment.

Tell us about your most demanding client. What was the experience, and what did you learn from it?

Every client presents unique challenges. We learned that attending to their needs with care and exceeding their expectations can turn even the most demanding clients into brand advocates.

If you could have done something different, what would it be?

I would have embraced risk and innovation even more fervently from the beginning.

What helps you move forward with your business despite the inevitable struggles?

Belief in our mission and a commitment to excellence drive us to overcome obstacles.

Who is Sofia Silva, a Woman of KOKET?

Sofia Silva is a dreamer with her feet on the ground, always positive but aware of the risks, and loves making plans. I love expressing myself artistically and I love plastic arts, photography, music, and people. I always believe in willpower and dedication, but also in continuous learning, through experiences, people, and new challenges. Also I am an empathetic, creative person, and always with a mind full of diverse thoughts at the same time.

When women invest in other women, we all rise together, do you have any specific thoughts you would like to share about the women on your team?

This quote reflects our core value at KOKET: women supporting and investing in other women. Our female team members consistently show care and invest in each other. We lift each other up, providing guidance and fostering proactivity to succeed. I’m incredibly proud of the women on our team. They embody the spirit of women empowering women, and together, we’re accomplishing remarkable feats and reaching new heights of success.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in design?

  • Be authentic and cultivate your own voice in design.
  • Collaborate with other professionals to expand your vision and skills.
  • Be open to constructive criticism and see challenges as opportunities for growth.

Do you have any favorite empowering quotes?

“Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?” – Frida Kahlo. This quote encourages women to embrace their independence and soar.

What’s next for Sofia & KOKET?

We will continue to push the boundaries of design, expressing ourselves through art, beauty, and femininity as inspiration, expanding our global presence, and redefining the concept of luxury for future generations.

Connect with Sofia Silva on LinkedIn

Rute Estrela

Founder | Managing Partner

When did your love affair with design begin? And how did it make you feel?

Eu comecei a ficar apaixonada por design na escola, quando tive de substituir a disciplina de matemática por 2 novas disciplinas, pois eu era má a matemática! Então eu optei pela teoria do design e história da arte. Fiquei fascinada com a história do design e do seu início com a Bauhaus, fiz a disciplina apenas com avaliação escrita e tirei as melhores notas da escola! Desde aí o meu percurso passa sempre pelo design, desde design de produto a design de interiores. 

I started to fall in love with design at school, when I had to replace math with 2 new subjects, because I was bad at math! So I chose design theory and art history. I was fascinated by the history of design and its beginnings with the Bauhaus, I took the subject only with written assessment and got the best grades in school! Since then, my path has always been through design, from product design to interior design.

Tell us a bit about your path up to KOKET?

Conheci a nossa CEO, Janet, no palco mundial do design, em Milão! E numa conversa ocasional ela convidou para ir fazer estágio de verão com ela nos Estados Unidos! Eu disse que sim! Sem saber a repercussão que iria ter na minha vida profissional e pessoal! Começamos a desenhar o sonho da Janet, e logo se tornou o nosso sonho! 

I met our CEO, Janet, on the world design stage in Milan! And in an occasional conversation, she invited me to do a summer internship with her in the United States! I said yes! Without knowing the repercussion it would have on my professional and personal life! We started designing Janet’s dream, and it soon became our dream!

Do you recall any critical turning point when you realized your business was succeeding? If so, please explain.

Sim! Não vou nunca esquecer as 16 montras da SAKS 5th avenue decoradas com os nossos produtos! A emoção de ver a nossa marca, ainda no seu início ao lado das grandes marcas fashion e a ser elogiada por quem passava na rua! Estive em NY para ver esse momento, posso dizer que o orgulho foi tanto, que não cabia em mim de felicidade! Há mais momentos, como a presença em filmes e séries, onde a emoção de ver o filme é perceber onde estão as nossas peças e como ficam bonitas e não a história do filme em si! 

Yes! I will never forget the 16 windows on SAKS 5th avenue decorated with our products! The emotion of seeing our brand, still in its infancy, alongside the big fashion brands and being praised by those passing by on the street! I was in NY to see this moment, I can say that I was so proud that I couldn’t contain any happiness! There are more moments, like being in films and series, where the emotion of watching the film is realizing where our pieces are and how beautiful they look and not the story of the film itself!

What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?

O momento em que me tornei sócia da KOKET. É a maior conquista de que posso falar.

The moment I became a partner at KOKET. It’s the greatest achievement I can talk about.

Who/what has contributed most to your success? 

A Janet, enquanto inspiração, com as suas histórias e com a sua vontade de fazer! Tem ideias geniais! É um diamante quando começamos a falar sobre criatividade no design e sobre como fazer bem as coisas! 

Janet, as an inspiration, with her stories and her desire to do things! She has brilliant ideas! It’s a diamond when we start talking about creativity in design and how to do things well!

What surprised you most about growing a business?

Lidar com pessoas! É o maior desafio. Gerir pessoas, frustrações, motivação. É um turbilhão de emoções todos os dias! E é um desafio a minha motivação pessoal. 

Dealing with people! It’s the biggest challenge. Managing people, frustrations, motivation. It’s a whirlwind of emotions every day! And my personal motivation is a challenge.

Tell us about your most demanding client. What was the experience, and what did you learn from it?

Na realidade o meu cliente mais exigente é a Janet 🙂 é ela quem me tira da zona de conforto todos os dias! 

Falando de clientes nossos, houve um cliente que me deixou completamente atordoada, cliente que inicialmente trouxe um discurso de amor sobre as nossas peças, após a compra houve um problema logístico com o produto, deu origem a uma reclamação. Tive de gerir muito bem o cliente e a expectativa do cliente, até ao ponto que a solução que eu estava a propor não a agradou mais e ela passou a usar um discurso intimidatório e a ameaçar com a fama do seu marido, que era uma pessoa muito famosa. A partir daí, o cliente disse que não falaria mais conosco, colocou advogados na história, e no final ganhamos o caso. Mas foi desafiador! 

In fact, my most demanding client is Janet 🙂 she is the one who pushes me out of my comfort zone every day!

Speaking of our customers, there was a customer who left me completely stunned, a customer who initially spoke of love about our pieces, after purchasing there was a logistical problem with the product, which gave rise to a complaint. I had to manage the client and the client’s expectations very well, to the point that the solution I was proposing no longer pleased her and she started using an intimidating speech and threatening the fame of her husband, who was a person very famous. From then on, the client said he would no longer speak to us, put lawyers on the story, and in the end we won the case. But it was challenging!

How do you handle negative feedback or criticism of your work?

Não muito bem no primeiro impacto. Preciso de recuar e só mais tarde consigo refletir e entender a crítica. 

Not very well on first impact. I need to step back and only later can I reflect and understand the criticism.

If you could have done something different, what would it be?

Nunca saltar regras bem definidas! Isto de querer resolver problemas leva-nos algumas vezes a saltar procedimentos e, apesar de resolver o problema do momento acarreta outros associados ao não segmentos dos procedimentos.

Never skip well-defined rules! This desire to solve problems sometimes leads us to skip procedures and, despite solving the problem of the moment, it leads to others associated with missing segments of the procedures.

What helps you move forward with your business despite the inevitable struggles?

O amor pela KOKET e por todos os projetos envolventes o acreditar que somos capazes e a vontade de querer ver a KOKET sempre melhor. 

The love for KOKET and all the projects involved, the belief that we are capable, and the desire to see KOKET always better.

KOKET is truly a women’s company that supports women, I can share my story, I was a mother twice within KOKET, in both situations I felt fully supported by the women on the team, especially Janet and Sofia.

Who is Rute Estrela, a Woman of KOKET?

Uma mulher menina, cheia de boa energia, uma mulher capaz de agarrar desafios e de os transformar em realidade. Uma problem solver, capaz de me adaptar às situações onde estou, sejam com fornecedores, clientes ou colaboradores. 

A young woman, full of good energy, a woman capable of taking on challenges and transforming them into reality. A problem solver, capable of adapting to the situations I find myself in, whether with suppliers, customers or employees.

When women invest in other women, we all rise together, do you have any specific thoughts you would like to share about the women on your team?

A KOKET é realmente uma empresa de mulheres e que suporta mulheres, posso partilhar a minha história, fui mãe 2x dentro da KOKET, em ambas as situações senti-me inteiramente suportada pelas mulheres da equipa, sobretudo pela Janet e pela Sofia. Nunca vou esquecer uma gravidez difícil, cheia de medos e as amigas que foram incansáveis durante todo esse período e depois de uma segunda vez, sem rede de apoio familiar por perto, os 2 meses que a bebe passou comigo no escritório e que todas cuidaram com amor, quase a “lutarem” para ver quem trocava a fralda e quem dava a papa. 

KOKET is truly a women’s company that supports women, I can share my story, I was a mother twice within KOKET, in both situations I felt fully supported by the women on the team, especially Janet and Sofia. I will never forget a difficult pregnancy, full of fears and the friends who were tireless throughout this period and after a second time, without a family support network nearby, the 2 months that the baby spent with me in the office and that everyone took care of with love, almost “fighting” to see who changed the diaper and who fed the baby food.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in design?

Resiliência, paixão pelo trabalho e dedicação ao projeto. 

Resilience, passion for work, and dedication to the project.

Do you have any mottos you like to live by?

Vive a vida hoje, dá o teu máximo em tudo. Se estás no trabalho, 100% no trabalho, se estás com amigos, 100% nos amigos, se estás com família, 100% na família. Não te esqueças de ti! Antes de tudo és mulher! Tens de estar bem contigo e para ti! 

Live life today, give your best in everything. If you are at work, 100% at work, if you are with friends, 100% with friends, if you are with family, 100% with family. Don’t forget yourself! First of all, you are a woman! You have to be well with yourself and for yourself!

What’s next for Rute & KOKET?

Depois de termos estado na 5a avenida em NY, agora só mesmo estarmos em PARIS com o nosso espaço na Rue Saint-Honoré. 

After having been on 5th Avenue in NY, now we are only in PARIS with our space on Rue Saint-Honoré.

Connect with Rute Estrela on LinkedIn

marta viera marketing director koket

Marta Viera

Director of Marketing

With my keen eye for beauty and a fashion degree and a master’s in marketing and management, I demand excellence in every aspect of my life – whether it’s at KOKET, as a mother of two, or in glamorous nightclubs. My unique blend of creativity and determination drives high standards in our marketing efforts, ensuring that the brand maintains a strong and empowering image.

vania gomes hr and finances manager koket

Vânia Gomes

HR & Finances Manager

Born and raised in a lovely little town that goes by the name of Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal, I’m passionate about everything I do, and I’m always available to help those who help me! I’m someone who searches for new knowledge and loves to be surround by people that inspire me to became better, that share teachings, and contribute for a better version of myself. I love my family, my friends, and my pets! To be with them, “spending” time with them will always be the best investment of my life!

sofia de sousa senior graphic designer

Sofia de Sousa

Senior Graphic Designer

I am a lover of fashion and music. Traveling to see my favorite artists deeply influences my perspective on life and design, making me uniquely me. Everything I create is infused with love, reflecting my eclectic tastes and vibrant personality. It’s this blend of passions that defines my creative journey at KOKET and with Love Happens Mag, and in life in general.

Sílvia Oliveira women of koket

Sílvia Oliveira

Marketing Specialist

I’m a proud member of KOKET’s marketing team, with a big passion for fashion. Traveling is my escape, where I feel completely liberated and true to myself. I thrive on challenges, constantly pushing boundaries and taking risks to grow. I like how the progress made through my efforts can bring me self-confidence. For me, happiness is found in achieving balance across all aspects of life, embracing each challenge and adventure along the way.

anna beck editor love happens mag women of koket

Anna Beck

Editorial Director

As a lover of beautiful things, especially those handmade with love, knowledge, creativity, and style. And as a lover of words. Working with the amazingly talented women of KOKET on editorial content for the brand directly and, of course, here at Love Happens Mag is one of my favorite pastimes. The rest of my time is filled with two spirited young boys, travel, and as much time as possible outside!

Raquel Sousa women of koket

Raquel Sousa

Brand Ambassador Europe & Middle East

A graduate in psychology, a dedicated mother, and enthusiastic saleswoman, my life is a tapestry woven with different roles, each bringing its own texture and color. It’s in the art of selling that I find a unique expression of my personality and skills, transforming everyday interactions into opportunities to connect people. In addition to my professional passions, I immensely value time with my friends and family and in trendy places, where atmosphere intertwines with conversations and laughter, this is where I find a refuge for my vibrant soul. Every day, I commit to being a better version of myself, both personally and professionally. Every experience, every challenge, is an opportunity to grow and flourish.

beatriz rocha brand ambassador usa women of koket

Beatriz Rocha

Brand Ambassador United States

A graduate in Business Relations, I thrive in the crisp winter days, showcasing my best outfits. I delight in evenings spent indulging in dinners and cocktails with friends. Dedication is at the core of everything I do, both personally and professionally.

melissa alferex demorais international product specialist usa

Melissa Alferez

Product Specialist USA

My professional journey at KOKET is filled with experiences navigating through various departments, soaking in the learning process, and feeling empowered within a circle of incredible women. Currently embracing the joys of new motherhood, I find immense happiness in seeing my baby girl grow amidst the supportive and empowering atmosphere fostered by the remarkable women at KOKET.

larisa cican business development koket

Larisa Cican

Junior Business Development Manager

Originally from Romania but now happily settled in Portugal with a degree in Marketing, I thrive on unleashing my creativity in the professional sphere. My background fuels my innovative approach as I blend cultural influences seamlessly into my work. I love living life slowly and observing every moment with my loved ones. I love a pretty and comfortable outfit, neutral make-up, and gold accessories. The diversity around me inspires me. I am proud to be a KOKET member whose mission to empower women guides my creative pursuits and femininity through luxurious offerings.

Mariana Alves marketing and press assistant at koket

Mariana Alves

Marketing & Press Assistant

Curious by nature, I have always been passionate about communicating. After some obstacles and detours, I found my true calling in the path of Marketing, which I fell in love with. If I had to define myself in two words, I’d choose life enthusiast. My forever goal? Trying to make the most of life and be as happy as possible, always.

Inês Monteiro interior design intern koket

Inês Monteiro

Junior Interior Designer & 3D Specialist

A graduate in Interior Design, my passion lies in creating environments that captivate and inspire, setting the standard for chic sophistication and elegance. I also love seamlessly blending digital innovation with timeless aesthetic. With my intuitive grasp of spatial dynamics and flair for digital rendering, I turn visions into virtual realities.

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