Following your passion is a life long goal for many. Katie Gariepy is a designer, and she is living that dream. However, there is one problem with Katie's shop. I kept clicking through all the pages to look at her cute accessories and adding things to my Christmas wish list.
Katie takes us through the ups and downs of owning a creative business, and how she found her passion.
Tell us a little about you and your small business.
Hi! I'm Katie I reside in the city of Buffalo, New York, with my black cat Luna. I have a degree in fashion design. I'm happily using it in my business where I create cute fashion accessories and clothing by hand and sell them online. I grew up in a family of artists; creativity is in my blood. I am always thinking about things I want to make next.
Why did you decide to start a business?
I started my business when I was 16, I was taking my old clothes and making them into new things. Then I was taking all my mother's fabric and making purses and selling them to the girls at school! Everyone was asking for them, and I had a good, little thing going. Plus it was so much fun to create and then see girls at school using the bags I made. I knew from that point that I wanted to go to school for fashion design. I went to Buffalo State College and got an awesome education with some of the most fantastic professors. I have been running my business for almost 10 years now, and I love every moment of it.
What is the best and worst thing about owning a business?
The best thing is freedom. I can do whatever I like whenever I like with my business. I work from early till late because I am so motivated for my business to succeed. Yet I am happy doing so and working these long hours because it is my passion.
The worst thing is accountability. No one else is going to hold you accountable but yourself. Honestly that isn't a really terrible thing if you're able to crack down on yourself. It is hard though when you're missing out on things because you have to be an adult. However, I can quickly get over the fear of missing out when I am seeing success in my business.
What is your favorite item in your shop?
My favorite item right now is the recycled leather bucket bag. It's a one of a kind, and made of beautiful soft recycled leather that would probably be in a landfill right now. It makes me happy and is on point trend-wise. I've been seeing a lot of this style bag around but none quite like mine with the cute bow! It makes me happy in it's easy to wear style.
As a small business owner, what is one thing you cannot live without?
My phone! I am so addicted to this darn iPhone! It's something I'm getting better at keeping in my purse when I'm out with friends. I'm constantly checking on my business or updating my social media in downtime throughout my day. It is nice when I go up to Canada (we're only 30 min away!) and I have no service, you feel a little free!
Any advice for someone wanting start a creative business?
Be true to yourself. This is my advice always, because sometimes we just want to be something we're not. You are you and everyone will see right through this "I want to be like___". This is hard for people to find who they are, it comes with time. I tried to stray away from "cute" which is just what I enjoy making. It didn't work. It just wasn't authentic and it totally felt wrong! Being you and showing the world who you are is what will bring people to you.
When you aren't working on your fabulous products, what do you do for fun?
I'm a fun seeker, I love to go to shows/concerts, travel, practice hot yoga, eat food and drink cocktails. Also, I snuggle up in bed at night with a book or a video game with my cat on my lap. It's winter 9 months out of the year here so we have to keep active and have fun!
Thank you, Katie for sharing your passion and cute shop! Since I'm a Texas gal, I'll wait to visit Buffalo until summer.