the most unexpected reason to visit austin, right now
Published Sep 23, 2015 5:00 AM
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, Founder and Creative Director of her eponymous brand, recently opened her first brick-and-mortar store in Austin, Texas. If you thought Austin was all BBQ, beer, and Barton Springs, Katie has a thing or two to teach you. (Though for the record, the BBQ, beer, and Barton Springs are all completely amazing). Her style and decor vision are nothing short of luminous, as both your space (and your eyes) will light up at first blush. If you crave posh prints, lovely lucite, and decor that your friends and Instagram followers will instantly envy, get to Austin–fast.
WE’VE LOVED SHOPPING KATIE KIME PRODUCTS ONLINE–WE’RE CURIOUS THOUGH, WHAT BROUGHT ON THE IDEA OF A BRICK-AND-MORTAR STORE? Brick and mortar was always the hope, a place where the entire vision and brand aesthetic could be experienced by the customer. That hope was probably based more on creating an experience. But then the rubber met the road when we realized that our trunk show sales, where people could really see, touch, measure, and try on our various lines, were really exciting numbers and a really exciting demand. When those combined with Austin’s growth and budding design scene, all the pieces finally came together.
WHERE DID YOU DRAW INSPIRATION FOR THE SPACE? I think when you’re launching a new lifestyle brand of various product lines, until people get to know the brand and what it offers, you have to create a space that tells the story, tells the vision a little more overtly than you may have to down the road. That’s what we’ve tried to do. My sister once described my aesthetic as “preppy chic goes globe-trotting.” I think that explains a lot about where I draw inspiration from. I grew up in the South and love bright colors and bold prints. But there’s nothing I love more than traveling to foreign countries. I think particular aspects of the lifestyle of the former and the experience of the latter is where I draw the majority of my inspiration from.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THIS SPACE? Our mandate is large and framed behind the counter. What it says I really believe so it’s one of my favorites, both aesthetically and psychologically. Or emotionally I suppose…
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BASING YOUR COMPANY IN AUSTIN? Austin has a unique creative scene in that everyone really is for each other. It’s not cool in Austin to not root for others in your industry, even your competitors. And I love that. I feel it and I’m proud to be a part of it.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY OF DESIGNING AND BUILDING YOUR STORE? The night before the first preview of the store my whole team was there until 3:30 am. Our store manager was sewing curtains for the dressing room. We’ve done a lot with very few people. The morning of the preview when I walked into the store my whole team was there and smiling. Quickly after the smiles turned to tears of triumph and joy and it was a really special moment for me.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE? Permitting, budgets, hiccups, all of the predictable answers that every entrepreneur might give. Which I guess more simply is just keeping the faith. The biggest challenge is staying the course, no matter how many challenges present themselves along the way.
WHAT IS THE BEST CUSTOMER REACTION YOU’VE HAD TO YOUR STORE SO FAR? It’s so fresh and new! Those are words we keep hearing and we like them.
ARE THERE DESIGN ELEMENTS FROM YOUR STORE THAT YOU USE AT HOME? For sure. Mostly bright colors and bold patterns. I love a print in a powder room and a bold solid velvet on an ottoman. I’ve done those at the store and at home.
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH EVERYONE KNEW ABOUT KATIE KIME? Probably more about our business practices and what we’re after there. So much of what we do is handmade in Austin, employees have unlimited vacation, and my partner and I are both working moms of small children. We’re bringing on a full-time local seamstress today who we would rather employ than just outsourcing to a factory. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with that, and I’m sure we’ll grow to a place of having to. But we care about relationships with our employees and our artisans and are committed to those values.
THIS MIGHT BE TOUGH, BUT WHAT IS THE PERFECT “STARTER PIECE” FROM KATIE KIME? WHAT’S THIS HOLIDAY SEASON’S MUST-GIVE GIFT? Something from the Bright Bar, which allows customers to pick from an array of lucite pieces, trays, recipe boxes, desk accessories, and cocktail shakers, and put their own stamp on it using our patterns and various color and monogram options. It’s a fun way to personalize a gift but also participate in the larger brand.
WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL FAVORITE ITEM IN YOUR STORE? Our brass and lucite bar carts. We have two sizes. And I just can’t get enough of them!
CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT IT’S LIKE TO SEE YOUR NAME AND BRAND ON YOUR STORE’S FACADE EVERY DAY? Equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. 😉
SEE MORE FROM KATIE KIME AND SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE!
VISIT HER STORE AT:
500 S LAMAR SUITE 150
AUSTIN, TEXAS 78703