Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business.This week we chat with Katrina Caspelich, founder of Kiss and Wear, a blog transformed into a lifestyle brand that seamlessly combines the perfect mix of west coast cool and east coast chic. Katrina shares with us everything from her inspirations to advice for young fashion gurus.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career.
I’m originally from San Diego, CA but moved to NYC right out of college. I was so eager to start working I didn’t even walk at my college graduation (which I kind of regret to this day as I’ve had a few nightmares about not graduating). The first job I had in NYC was at a high-fashion modeling agency called Race Model Management as a junior booker. The transition from CA to NY workwise was pretty easy for me as I worked at Jet Set, a modeling and talent agency as a booker in San Diego as well. After a year at the agency, I decided to pursue my dream of being a fashion editor. I eventually got a fashion editor gig working for an online magazine called Page Daily and finally got to attend Fashion Week, which was a childhood goal of mine. Although I thought I had “made it,” I wasn’t getting paid much as an editor, so I took a part-time job at Billabong in Soho. Because of that retail job, I forever hang clothing I try on in a fitting room and neatly put back items I do not purchase. After the magazine I worked for closed, I got a job as a content manager at a fashion start-up, The Impression, which focused more on the creative and behind-the-scenes aspect of the fashion industry. It was here I learned a lot about websites and content creation in general. It also helped that my boss took me under his wing and was willing to let me experiment, pushing my creative boundaries. Although I did enjoy working for the start-up, I ended up doing in-house PR and marketing for a scarf brand called Bindya NY. As a child I always loved accessories so working at a company that made them only seemed appropriate. I probably learned the most at this company. Not only did I do PR, I eventually ended up doing sales and helping with production. I was able to see the complete cycle of fashion from beginning concept to in-store display. And the whole process intrigued me.
2. What is a typical workday like for you?
Each morning, I wake up and spend a good 15 minutes in bed answering emails and updating social media. Once out of bed, I put on my contacts (as I am blind without them). I usually have breakfast (sliced bananas and peanut butter on a waffle or some sort of unhealthy sugary cereal) then start working. Recently, I’ve started freelancing in addition to running Kiss & Wear. So, each day, I go to the office I freelance for for about 4 hours, come home around 2pm and work on Kiss & Wear for the rest of the day. Daily, I update the website, fulfill orders and press requests, shoot fun images for social media, reach out to buyers, work on content, and go back and forth with suppliers. I also Google a ton of how-to’s because most of the time it’s just me running the show. I try to work until 6 or 7pm because if I don’t put a time limit on work, I won’t stop. At that time I usually treat myself to a nice home cooked meal and catch up on reality TV.
3. What was your inspiration behind starting your blog, Kiss & Wear?
My best friend, Lindsay, and I started the blog right after Page Daily, the online magazine we were both working for folded. I actually met Lindsay at Page Daily; we didn’t really like each other at first. I guess we’re living proof that first impressions aren’t always correct. Anyways, she was the beauty editor and I was the fashion editor; at the time, it only seemed natural to start our own thing. It allowed us to continue to pursue our passions and keep in contact with all the connections we had made throughout the years working at the magazine. We came up with the name Kiss & Wear because it was the perfect play on beauty and fashion; the two things we loved and wanted to write about.
4. On your website you have a charity tab. Can you tell us what charities you collaborate with etc? Any specific that are near and dear to you?
Right now, I’ve only collaborated with Bright Pink which is the only national non-profit organization focused on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women. In the future, I would love to work with more cancer charities as I lost my dad to the disease 3 years ago.
5. How did the idea of the Kiss & Wear blog escalate into an online store? A successful one at that matter!
Thanks for adding successful, haha! Although I had stopped blogging for quite some time, Kiss & Wear was a brand name I always liked; it was catchy, a bit sentimental, and for a brand, it was a play off loving what you wear. So to me, the online store kind of grew organically from the blog. I always wanted to launch my own accessories line and I already had the Kiss & Wear domain name, so why not try it out?
6. What has been your most successful form of marketing?
As far as marketing, my friends and family have been the best marketing tool. Not only are they my biggest cheerleaders, they spread the word and sport my items on a regular basis. It’s through their support; I’ve been able to gain a following. If you were looking for a more technical answer, it’s probably been my Kiss & Wear Clique series. Each month I like to feature a successful woman in the fashion, beauty, or lifestyle industries. I get to share their story and in turn, they share their write up with their audience, which obviously drives major traffic to the site.
7. What has been your favorite role so far, whether is be a blogger, designer, or maintaining the store?
My favorite role so far is being an entrepreneur. Ask anyone who has started a company. It’s truly been such a rewarding and humbling experience. Every time I get stressed or break down emotionally from work, I tell myself that I am lucky. To be able to pursue my dreams and make money off of my passion is something I can’t take for granted. My future goal is to grow Kiss & Wear into the next must-have lifestyle accessory brand like Ban.do. In the meantime, I’ll just live in the moment and have fun.
8. What advice would you pass along to aspiring lifestyle bloggers and fashion designers like yourself?
I’ll never forget part of a quote by Marie Forleo. She said, “Guts are required if we’re going to do anything meaningful with our time here on earth.” I totally agree. If you’re aspiring to be or do anything, the hardest part is actually going for it. It’s scary and takes a lot of courage. So, my advice would be to follow your dreams and when things become difficult (because they will be), to never give up. With bravery and a lot of determination, I truly believe anything can be achieved.
9. Who is a #bosslady that inspires you?
This may be random but I really look up to Lady Gaga. Not only is she super talented, she’s such a wonderful role model to girls. She is true to herself and praises individuality. She isn’t afraid to act smart, dress for herself, focus on things other than her body, be odd, and have a stage name like Lady Gaga. From being bullied to bad reviews, she’s always overcoming which makes her such an inspiration. In addition to her talent and originality, she also gives back. Whether she donates money or brings awareness about a specific issue, she uses her celebrity status for a good cause, which I admire. She truly embodies what success means to me.