For my July 2017 Blog Post I wanted to share the Kitty Katrina story since July 15th, 2013 is when our online shop was launched!
However, my personal journey into styling / design / creating began long before the launch of KittyKatrina.com.
My passion in life has always been to create - anything and everything! This passion led me to study design and layout in community college for three years in the Bay Area, where I focused on color theory so I could select the correct colors for individuals to wear. I also styled and created many costume pieces, primarily headpieces, for use at various community college events and theatrical performances.
During this time, I was influenced by the melting pot of fashion and art I found in the Bay Area, which still inspires me today. My favorite part of fashion and art found in the Bay Area is that it combines many different genres into one and the use of bright colors has always been paramount.
My favorite places to spend my free time and shop for funky fashion / art were and still are Telegraph Ave in Berkeley and Haight Street, Union Square and the Castro in San Francisco. Even though I live / work in Nevada now, I still make a yearly pilgrimage to the Bay Area for inspiration.
My dream was to transfer from community college to a 4-year University and eventually, pursue a career in fashion styling and help people select the best colors to wear that would make them look fantastic!
However, not all dreams are easy to follow, especially when life throws you roadblocks. Also, sometimes, what might seem like a roadblock in our lives, later turns out to be a detour onto a better future.
Through a series of odd but not unfortunate events, I was inclined to change my major to Communications so I could attend a 4-year University.
While finishing my B.A. in Communications from the University of California, Berkeley, I made connections that led me into the Human Resources field, where I eventually worked at helping various companies comply with state and federal employment laws.
Outside of styling, I also had a fascination with law and how people managed businesses / employees, which is probably why I spent over 8 years in Human Resources before coming back to styling / design / creating.
Ironically, throughout my time in Human Resources, my colleagues said they enjoyed working with me because I would always style creative outfits to wear to work, and according to them, this made me the most interesting and fun Human Resources professional they had ever met!
Ultimately, this consistent feedback about my attire was really a reminder that I should return to styling / design and a sign that I could never let go of my original passion - to create.
I finally came to the realization that I was not “fulfilled” in Human Resources. While this field was one of the best detours in my life because it taught me how to manage a business professionally – a skill that many entrepreneurs learn through trial and error - I decided it was time to return to styling / design and most importantly, creating.
At the time I made this decision, I had no more connections in the fashion / costume industry since I left that behind me long ago at community college. Therefore, I decided to start again by producing / selling items that I made and wore for myself.
One of my favorite accessories to create was floral hairpieces. I had made many floral pieces starting in middle school using real flowers.
In high school, I started using fabric flowers for my hair accessories, which my friends wore to proms and formals. Along with a team, I also helped design / create several large vehicle floats for high school homecoming parades.
In community college, I created several costume floral headpieces for events and theatrical performances, and after college, I created pieces for myself, friends and family to wear, including my wedding headpiece.
From 2010 through 2013, I tested various products I made and searched for quality vendors to supply me with the best items so I could produce my creations. Part of the reason this process took three years was because I was still working full-time in Human Resources as my “day job” while also, slowly funding my new creations.
I was also confronted by several medical / health issues that made me allergic to many foods, household items and environmental elements, which in several cases, became life-threatening and required lengthy recovery periods.
However, it was because of these health issues that I became more aware of allergies and decided to incorporated allergy-free and eco-friendly materials into my creations while I was sourcing vendors.
My efforts eventually culminated in the launch of Kitty Katrina Floral Accessories in July, 2013, where I introduced around 100 floral creations. Today, KittyKatrina.com has over 700 floral accessories and the list of creations keeps growing!
I never think of myself as a “designer,” but I will always be a "creator." To me, being a “creator” allows me to make anything, which I LUV to do! And while I focus on floral creations, I thoroughly enjoy testing new ways to use flowers in hair accessories, making sure to incorporate vibrant colors.
I also enjoy working with people to produce custom accessories that will match / express an individual's unique style and be LUVed forever, which has led me to offer many customizable options for my creations at KittyKatrina.com.
Today, I have a small team of four people, including myself, and I create all items by hand. In some cases, I work with other creative individuals who want to collaborate to produce special edition pieces.
While the journey to launching KittyKatrina.com has been slow and full of many more difficulties than could possibly be shared in this story, in the end, I have come to realize that despite several detours, it is not necessarily the time it takes us to reach our goals and dreams, but our determination, courage and how we achieve these goals and dreams that matter the most.
For example, without my detour into Human Resources, I might not have learned how to manage / operate a business effectively / professionally and comply with many state / federal laws.
Without my health issues, I might not have learned about using allergy-free and eco-friendly materials to produce my creations.
Also, because of my health issues, I now have two Service Animals / dogs, who have allowed me to see how much animals can help heal the sick. It is because of this amazing experience and my two wonderful Service Animals that a percentage of all Kitty Katrina sales are donated every December to help rescue animals receive food and medical attention.
Therefore, my detours, along with many others not mentioned, have helped me grow as an individual and also, made my dream of creating a realization and Kitty Katrina an amazing small, woman-owned business.
In closing, many people ask me why I chose @LUVKittyKatrina for my social media handle and Kitty Katrina for my company name…
When I was little, my mother used to always say that the world would be a better place if people could learn to love each other. I took her special message to heart and whenever I would send greeting cards or notes to friends and family, I would sign at the bottom, “LUV, Kat,” which was my way of showing people that there is love / LUV in this world to be shared.
Later, in college, in my color theory classes, I produced several paintings, which were featured in small galleries, and when I was asked to sign my creations, I wrote on the back of the canvas, “LUV, Kat.”
Therefore, over time, signing any cards and my own creations with, “LUV, Kat” became part of my unique style.
When starting Kitty Katrina, I chose this name because Kitty was a nickname in high school, and while Kat was the formal name I have always used, people thought this name was short for Katrina. When I would explain to people that Katrina was not my real name, I would jokingly add that Katrina was my “alter-ego” and the “fun” side of my personality. In life, I think everyone has a “serious” and “fun” side to their personality – Katrina became the “fun” side of my personality.
Therefore, the name Kitty Katrina was born and I sign / stylize the beautiful “Thank You” cards included in orders with “LUV, Kitty Katrina.” We also use the phrases, "LUV IT!" and "Spread the LUV" on a regular basis in Kitty Katrina social media as a reminder - there is LUV to be shared in this world :)
Also, our small team knows that in business, you cannot succeed without help from others. We are so grateful for the support our fans / followers and clients have shown KittyKatrina.com – it has allowed our team to grow and for the floral creations to continue - thank you so much from all of us!