STYLISH SOPHISTICATE: Talk about your career path in detail. Did you face any obstacles?
I made several connections through the University of Mississippi and was able to land a great job immediately out of college working for a boutique PR firm in Dallas. The environment was fast-paced and ever changing, but I knew this wasn’t what I wanted to do forever. Just like the Notebook scene when Noah asks Allie “What do you want??” I knew that if I was ever going to feel fulfilled, I needed to change my career path to something I felt truly passionate about. Was designing handbags a realistic job with a clear-cut path? Definitely not. But I couldn’t shake the desire. This is what I truly felt like I wanted to pursue, and once I admitted that, I never looked back!
As I’m sure any entrepreneur will agree, the biggest obstacle you run into is doubt and fear of failure. Doubt from your friends, doubt from potential investors and clients, and of course, the ever-present self-doubt. Overcoming that initial fear that is created by that doubt was the biggest challenge, but one that I was able to overcome with the encouragement from my family, and the reliance on my faith.
Once you choose to let encouragement drive you instead of fear, you realize that your passion is able to completely overshadow any hesitations.
STYLISH SOPHISTICATE: Did you always know what you wanted to do in life? What did you want to be when you were little?
I have always had a love for fashion but never really envisioned myself as a designer when I was younger. In high school and especially college, I grew to love handbags and that’s when designing came into play. I would always accessorize my friends for every event, so I became known as the “The Accessories Queen”.
When I was little I wanted to be an Art teacher. I have always been passionate about creating, whether it’s painting, building something out of 3D materials, scrapbooking, etc. Little did I know this passion would lead me to designing handbags.
STYLISH SOPHISTICATE: What inspired you to create your brand Kelly Wynne? Where do you find inspiration for the materials you use to make your handbags?
I graduated from the University of Mississippi with a B.A. in Studio Art and Mass Media Communications with a focus in Graphic Design. While I was working for the Public Relations firm in Dallas, I was able to offer the company the ability to create graphics for their many clients. It was there that I fine tuned my graphic skills and designed logos for different start up companies.
Once I decided to pursue my dream of designing handbags, I immediately began developing a logo for Kelly Wynne. It took weeks of sketching, but I finally decided on a “K” on its side sitting on top of a “W”. Our logo is the perfect representation for Kelly Wynne because the logo is discreet and embodies classic with a twist. It wasn’t until the logo was finalized that the brand really came together and I could envision Kelly Wynne as a company.
For me, choosing the right materials to create each handbag is an extremely important part of the process. I’ll have a vision for the entire collection, and I want the collection to tell the story behind my vision. The way the colors and textures complement and contrast with each other, and the way they make the consumer feel are vital in telling that story. When I first start designing a collection, I spend a lot of time researching to find those materials that will best fit the feeling I am trying to create.
STYLISH SOPHISTICATE: Do you have any advice for someone interested in creating a fashion line?
What has made this experience so successful is that this is truly something that I am passionate about.
There are so many ups and downs in this business, but you have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. There will be days you want to give up, but you have to keep fighting. Know that this business is a roller coaster ride before you jump on!
STYLISH SOPHISTICATE: What is a typical workday like for you?
There isn’t a “typical” day for me because no day is ever the same. I honestly never know what each day may hold! I may have the most rewarding day ever receiving positive feedback from a customer about her Kelly Wynne bag, or I may have a discouraging day putting out fires with the manufacturer.
One day I might be in complete design mode preparing for the next season, the next day I may be on the road hosting trunk shows or speaking engagements. One day I might have a photo shoot for social media, and the next day I may have a brainstorming pow-wow session with my team about a new marketing angle. Being the boss means your responsibilities are endless and you have to be ready to change gears at any moment and handle anything thrown your way!
STYLISH SOPHISTICATE: How does your career affect your stylistic choices?
I’m constantly networking with people for collaborations, photo shoots, meeting with customers and potential retailers, so I constantly have to present myself the way I want my company to be portrayed. Being around the fashion world (through bloggers, Instagram, and boutiques), I’m able to not only explore different trends, but also experiment with my own style. I love being around the most fabulous, stylish women in the day-to-day business!
STYLISH SOPHISTICATE: What do you do to de-stress? How do you balance work and play?
I am still learning how to balance work and play, especially now that I am married. It’s very challenging turning work off after leaving the office. Being a business owner is difficult because there is always an email to answer or a text message to respond to and you feel that pressure and need to finish the task at hand. Even when I go on a vacation, I have people who depend on me, so I never actually “get away” from it all.
If I do ever find myself overwhelmed, I like to meet up with a friend for a scenic hike through one of Austin’s many trails, or have a date night with my husband to try to unwind and take my mind off things.