There are few things we love more than dainty jewelry and a good gallery wall – and this office tour features both! Katie Dean calls this neutral and feminine office space home for her beautiful line, Katie Dean Jewelry. The dreamy workspace has soft creamy walls decorated with art prints from Minted in muted tones – talk about a statement wall! We wouldn’t mind working from here one bit! From her posh velvet chair, Katie Dean shares how she got here, has stayed true to her brand, and is inspired by her pretty office. And if you aren’t familiar with her yet, after reading this you will be one of her biggest fans!
We’ve been following Katie Dean Jewelry for what feels like forever (shameless super fans!) Tell us a bit about where it all began?
Aw! You guys are so sweet! I’ve been following Inspired by This since forever too so we’re even. 🙂
My love for the arts started when I was really young. I always knew that I wanted to work in the arts when I grew up. I moved to LA when I was 18 and had all sorts of random jobs. Office assistant, production assistant, nanny, personal cook,… Then I was offered an assistant position with a celebrity stylist. Even though I only had a personal interest in fashion and no work related experience I felt it was a move in the right direction.
After doing that for a few years I started to do crafts at home for a creative outlet. This included painting, making cards, and deconstructing jewelry pieces that I already had and then reconstructing them. I started wearing them out and about and people asked where I got them. I told them I made them from various pieces that I took apart and re-assembled in different patterns — that was the true beginning!
Your jewelry, Instagram feed, and website are so feminine, fun, and beautiful. How did you formulate your brand and stick to it?
Thank you again! To be totally honest it was trial and error in the beginning. I was working a full time job while starting the line and it was my first time starting a line of any kind so there were a lot of things that I had to learn along the way creatively and on the business side of things. Ultimately, I landed upon our voice as a brand by taking note of what I was most attracted to in images. We would do a shoot and there would be a dozen images that I loved and they all had similarities which happen to be the exact words that you used to describe us – feminine, fun, and beautiful.
Sticking to our branding is a commitment. It takes discipline and an attitude of ‘keeping your eye on the prize’ to stay true to your branding. I don’t think designers should be afraid of switching it up but I do think that you have to be honest and ask yourself, “Does this follow our vision or will it lead people into a confusion on who we are?” Ultimately, you are creating a connection with your audience and customers. You want them to follow along as your brand and artistic vision changes but also you want to be known to represent something. For us that would be dainty, feminine jewelry so I create images that communicate that and connect us with an audience that likes that.
Clockwise from left to right: Presence horse print, The Sunday Blues beach print, Weathered print, Grass with Seeds print, Female Figure Sketch, Men in Red print, Birch Story print, Eye print, Budding Peony print
Did you have this same aesthetic in mind when designing your office?
YES, I totally did! I would say my office is slightly more refined but it very much follows the same aesthetic as the branding of the line. I love bright, airy spaces with lots of neutrals and a touch of brass accessories. Most of all, I wanted to go into my office and be inspired to create beautiful things and a beautiful life.
We are obsessed with your gallery wall! How did you curate the perfect prints and design it to be just right?
Thank you!! I never knew how much thought goes into curating a gallery wall until I started working on mine. It was a fun process with lots of ‘pinning’ on Pinterest for inspiration!
I was very lucky to work with Minted on my gallery wall using their new Art Styling Service. Minted is AMAZING because they have a huge online gallery of prints and photographs from artists all over the world for you to chose from. I love supporting fellow artists when decorating my space so that was important to me.
The other amazing thing I loved about Minted, actually two things, were: they frame everything for you so it arrives to you perfectly framed! And their Art Styling Service gave me the guidance I needed to envision what the gallery wall would look like with different size frames, helping me balance out the different compositions of each print within the wall placement.
What does your day-to-day look like?
This changes a lot for me because I travel fairly often for the line, but usually, I wake up around 7am and either go to a pilates class or shower and go to one of my favorite cafes. I like getting out of the house pretty soon after waking up to get space and clear my head for the day ahead. I try to make my to-do lists for the day the evening before so I’m more focused in the morning. Then, I’ll review that and prioritize the items on my list with anything new that’s come up. One thing I try to avoid is checking my email before 8:30am. I find that by giving myself some time to orient myself to my day, I can tackle my emails and things that pop up with a level head and not feel scattered.
Typically I’ll have 1-2 phone or in person meetings throughout the day so the times before and after those meetings are spent on my email, google docs or google sheets, going over logistics for our events, marketing plan, or photo shoots.
These days I probably spend one eighth of my time designing and the rest managing my team + more of the above. Since I had never owned a business before or really worked within a business position, I did not realize that owning my own business would involve all of those things as much as they do. However, I always try to balance it out with designing because that is my passion. That’s actually the reason why we have been releasing a new mini collection every 4-6 weeks this year. Instead of releasing two huge collections within the year, I’m spacing them out. I’ve really enjoyed doing that and our customers have responded really well to it.
Do you have any Katie Dean Jewelry pieces you wear every day?
I do! I go through phases though. For almost a year I wore the Linked choker every day and then I would layer up the Guinevere Lariat or Evil Eye necklace with it. Now, I’m wearing our Female Symbol necklace or Heart Necklace daily.
What is your favorite part of living and working in L.A.?
I’m a huge coffee snob so I love all of the coffee shops! Also, I love how there are so many different neighborhoods of L.A., all with unique and beautiful places to visit. I just recently started spending three out of four weeks up in the Bay Area because my fiancé works in the tech industry, which is based in greater San Francisco. It’s totally different but amazing. The jewelry remains handmade in L.A. and I still have my place in Silver Lake but we’re growing and expanding into the Bay Area now and having so much fun in both cities!
Do you have any advice for other hopeful young entrepreneurs?
I most definitely do. There is so much to say here but I think the main thing is that if you have an idea, go for it! There are a lot of talkers out there who never take a chance.
The harsh truth is that you may not succeed but it’s better to try and learn from it than never try. I can assure you that even if it doesn’t go how you imagined, you will learn SO much and that experience will help you in anything you go on to do. And the flip side of that is you may be wildly successful!
I recommend that any entrepreneur keeps his day job while starting out. I worked full time for the first two and half years of starting my business. It was stressful at times to make everything go right with limited time but it was a lot better than not paying my bills. Keeping your day job also teaches you responsibility and how to be efficient, of which you have to have both when fully going out on your own.