One of the Babes: Kristen Samuelson
Meet Kristen Samuelson, creator and owner of Pretty Kitten Boutique, high-quality jewelry for everyday wear "with a focus on sterling silver fabrication." View Kristen's beautiful and modern jewelry on her Etsy shop and read what she has to say below.
Q: What inspired you to start working in the field/Industry? Did you have any role models or learn from someone, in particular?
A: My start to the jewelry world wasn't as conventional as others'. When I was in college, I saw that one of my friends had a certain type of earring that I really wanted, but I couldn't find it anywhere. Having no previous experience in jewelry-making, I went to Michael's and bought all the materials to make it. Once I did and realized that I liked it, I opened an Etsy store with awful iPhone pictures of this piece that I took against my bathroom wall. I'm still surprised to this day that people initially bought that from me. It's been a little over four years since that time, and I'm happy to say I've improved a great deal.
Q: Do you have any tidbits of advice for people with passions, in general?
A: My tidbit of advice is that you don't have to feel discouraged if you're not the best (or don't even want to be the best) in any given field. I feel like our culture really respects people who have the drive to commit a disproportionate amount of time to a singular thing. That's great for them, and they'll probably be way better than me at a lot of stuff, but I've learned that I'm definitely more of a jack-of-all-trades type of person. I have a lot of mini-passions, and jewelry-making happens to be one of them. It took a long time to recognize that my way of being is different than people who are tunnel-vision focused on their "Passion" (which, again, if you have that—more power to you!). To me, neither way is better or worse, they just say different things about you as a person. Whatever the case, always have your ears open to learn more about anything!
Q: What have been your favorite moments of creativity?
A: My favorite creative moments have been when I've been under a time crunch (usually preparing for a fair) and I'm at the studio late at night and get a crazy idea to produce a certain piece, and I do it and it looks great! Those have only happened a few times, because most of my production involves advance planning and researching, but when those in-the-moment experiments turn into something great, it's always exciting.
Q: What have been your most challenging moments in your career, thus far?
A: I would say the most challenging moments have been coming to terms with the unpredictability and the ever-changing nature of the jewelry/retail world. There have been fairs I've attended where I've gotten a crazy amount of sales, and then when I did the same fair in a different city, I barely broke even. You have to trust the ebbs and flows, but also be constantly looking for ways to make yourself and your products better.
Q: What's your day job?
A: Currently I'm working at Main Street Hub as a Community Manager. It's a job that I really enjoy, because I get to represent a bunch of local businesses and help them get noticed in different capacities. From doing my jewelry work, I know how easy it is to forget about marketing and how important it is, so I'm happy to offer small businesses help with their online presence.
Q: When you're discouraged, what do you run to or away from?
A: When I'm discouraged, I find it's helpful to write things down in a journal so you can sort it out later. Being in touch with how you're feeling and why is important, so it's good to be able to identify those things. Then you can probably find me binge-watching a show and eating ice cream.
Your favorite band at the moment: Todd Terje! (Not a band, just a dude, but I think he qualifies.)
Your favorite book at the moment: Predictably Irrational! Fascinating book that always continues to blow my mind with how strange human behavior is.
Your local Austin gem: ColdTowne Theater! My favorite local place now and forever.