Women Celebrating Women

Some of my earliest “feel good” memories are of watching my mom stop random strangers on the street to say things like “that color sure looks nice on you.” I've been reflecting a lot lately on how much these heartening comments and moments of recognition can affect people. Sometimes it's that one little note of appreciation that can really turn the day around.

So in celebration of Women's History Month, I reached out to a group of women I admire with an idea. I asked them to think about a woman they'd like to thank. The intention was that these “thank yous” would be a surprise, a little moment to lift the unsuspecting recipient up and make them smile.

I was overwhelmed by the beauty of these responses and I am so excited to share them with you here. It's a long newsletter, but I promise it's a worthy read! Because as my friend Joanna Williams says in her thank you, “there is nothing greater than women supporting women.”

xo
Kate

 

A thank you to my friend Susie who has been very open about a health struggle. She inspired me to get a medical test I had been putting off. I am so relieved to face my fears and have it over with now.

A thank you to my friend Gillian, who I met in the second grade. She owns a bakery called Black Jet in SF. She ALWAYS texts or dm’s me out of the blue with something funny to say or to tell me she loves something I designed or just to say “love you!” She calls me by my full name for dramatic effect—the same way she always did when we were in grade school and it cracks me up, example “Jessica. Randall. I just got a new pair of your shoes and I love them.” She’s hilarious and charming and does the best job of anyone I know at staying in touch with the people she loves.

A delicious-looking rhubarb pastry from Black Jet Bakery in San Francisco.

 

I want to thank design veteran and shop owner, Jill Brown, who owned the most incredible lighting store in Houston. We met at Round Top and have kept in touch ever since. She's older and wiser, which is why I absolutely love spending time with her... she has stories and a way of just being that makes me hope I can be like that when I grow up.

She definitely doesn't know this because we don't know each other too well, but she inspires me from afar, to create my own story and have courage. Thank you Jill!

 

I'm so lucky to have so many inspiring women in my life and also that I work with. I'd love to thank Kyra Hartnett of Twenty2 wallpaper. She and her team are amazing partners to work with, but I'll always remember the care package sent after I had my daughter. It was a present for me, at a time when I felt so exhausted and vulnerable. It meant so much. She'll send me the occasional text, a note on instagram, or an email that just makes me smile. I feel really fortunate to consider her a friend as well as someone I work with.

 

We're so lucky to be a part of an industry that is so supportive of one another, so this is a difficult question! The woman that I would like to thank is stylist Frances Bailey. She's humble, generous, positive, and always so full of energy. Photoshoots can be stressful and emotional, and she puts her clients at ease and is such a professional. I don't think she fully understands the incredible contributions she has made to our industry, and I think it needs to be celebrated and recognized. I am grateful and honored to be her friend and collaborator.

Beautiful visual inspiration can be found on Frances Bailey's Instagram (aptly called @francesfinds), such as this post featuring Pearl Fryar's garden in Bishopsville, SC.

 

My 'thank you' is to one of my first bosses many years ago, Jen Foyle.  She gave me so many opportunities that have truly shaped the trajectory of my life....and taught me so much along the way. I will never forget something she always said—"you get more bees with honey"—which is just a way of saying: BE NICE. She showed me (and everyone) that you could actually be a nice person AND be super successful in business—you don't have to be a jerk to get ahead. She could get everyone on her side so easily. And even though we haven't worked together in a long time, if I called her today, it's like not a minute has passed. We can still gossip about the same old stuff and be there for each other. I love you, Jen! 

 

Thank you Arati! Arati runs Tantuvi, a handwoven rug and textile company based in NY and India, and you can feel her creativity and unique point of view shining through her gorgeous line of textiles. While we're based on opposite coasts, we periodically exchange business advice and textile thoughts over DM. While it may seem like a small thing to chat with someone about fulfillment warehouses over instagram, it's quite a huge thing to offer support and a spirit of generosity to someone in the same corner of the design industry. So thank you for the chats, for the exceptional work you bring into the world, and your ethos.

Arati of Tantuvi was recently featured in NYT's T Magazine, showing how she celebrated Holi this year, the festival marking the arrival of Spring, and celebrating the triumph of good over evil.

Around 6pm on a Friday while riding the 1 train, I was standing across from a mother, sitting with her toddler son. He was climbing up her torso and pulling at her long hair, shouting something into her ear about the ID badge she had around her neck... I saw her take a deep breath and close her eyes in that "why is this train moving so slowly" meditative kind of way. She had a giant stroller wedged against her legs, and about four or five plastic bags at her feet. 

The car was packed but silent, except for a man reciting what seemed like the same plea for help that he must have uttered a hundred times that day. He was injured, went to the hospital, but could not afford the medication. This story, not just endemic to NYC, is heard so often on the subway that sometimes all you can muster is at best, a consoling smile, or more typically, to bury your head in your phone and await your stop. I could see a wave of tension as the man made his way through the car with an empty hat.

Just before we reached the next stop, I noticed the mother adjusting her son to her other knee, reaching hurriedly into her back pocket. With barely a look at what she had pulled out, she tapped the man's back, and slipped a $20 bill into his hand. He took it without much fanfare, and she went back to detangling her son's hands from her hair, as if to have already forgotten about her exceptionally kind gesture. It's not for me to assume what $20 can mean to someone, the giver, or receiver, but it was more about the unquestionable ease in which the kindness played out. Someone asking for help, and another readily offering it without a second thought. Whatever came out of her pocket was what she was giving. I don't think she was looking for a thank you, but I'd like to give her one!

 

 

Inspiration has been hard to come by the past couple of years without travel and experiences, so I have been finding it via instagram among the many female artists that I follow. One artist in particular who has been a bright spot in this dark time is the illustrator and floral designer Cathy Graham. Cathy shares irreverent and hilariously kooky videos in her studio, as well as gorgeous floral arrangements. She makes delicate watercolors and includes dolls, tiny vases, and sometimes googly eyes in her work. Her studio is filled with books and dollhouses, what a dream. She is 100% original and her work always makes me smile.

The social feed of illustrator and floral designer, Cathy Graham is full of exquisite floral arrangements like this one.

 

I would like to thank my “aunt” Kit. Katurah Hutcheson has been a family friend—chosen family—since I was a year old. She was about 20 years old when she came into my life and has forever after been a source of inspiration and cool. She introduced me to edgy and emerging artists and musicians: Lynda Barry cartoons, Laurie Anderson, Talking Heads and even let me watch Exorcist inspiring months of nightmares (character building).

She opened my eyes to the world of visual art and made me feel like I could be a part of that world. She cheered us on and counseled us as we started our business—as if it was perfectly believable for us to pursue this crazy dream. Kit remains on the leading edge of knowing what’s cool.

 

I want to thank all of the women in my life who have been by my side this past year, providing endless support and encouragement. All of those who have held so much space for me and who have never passed judgment, and who continue to lift me up to the highest version of myself. There is nothing greater than women supporting women.

 

 

 

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