As part of a new venture on the Kindred Words blog, today I am launching the Her Kindred Story project. As I mentioned in my newsletter, this is a space where I will be sharing her-story and celebrating the beautiful beginnings of a female creative and her business each month. The idea behind the project is simply to encourage more women to share their stories and although I will be featuring an interview here each month, I would love for as many people as possible to get involved through the hashtag #HerKindredStory. Sometimes, it can be so difficult to pluck up the courage to shout out about yourself and how far you have come so I am hoping this might be a nice springboard for you to go and do some sharing of your own.
My first guest is someone I have been inspired by for quite some time. Kate Cullen is a stylist and designer for creative businesses and has quite a number of strings to her bow. From her Curated by Heart workshop which she has now taken online, a shop selling fairytale wares of silk ribbons and linen to her latest project; Nurture & Bloom, an online magazine. Kate is a strong advocate for encouraging women in creative businesses and her unwavering support is keenly felt amongst the online community. So let’s get started and discover Kate’s story.
Could you tell us about yourself and how you came to run your business as a stylist, workshop leader, shop owner as well as be the founder & editor of your new publication; Nurture & Bloom?
I started out in the wedding industry about 8 years ago with a vintage hire business which quickly grew after I styled a couple of weddings alongside. I completely fell in love with the styling and creating aspects of weddings and spent several years enjoying designing gorgeous wedding days. A lot of my couples came to me because they wanted bespoke creations and I have always loved textiles and crafting which led to the silk ribbons and linens arm of my business. I’m passionate about many different things and am very eclectic, so it naturally followed that I wanted to explore a new avenue a couple of years ago, which is when I founded Nurture & Bloom as a way of helping and supporting other people in the creative industries – the magazine was a dream I had that finally launched in the Autumn, and I’m very excited to see how it will grow in 2019.
What does a typical day look like for you in your business?
Thankfully there is no typical day! I love that everyone is different and that I get to work with so many different clients. But over the course of a week I will always be cooking up new natural dye pots and packing ribbon and linen orders, planning new content for the Nurture magazine, and working with my brand styling clients on design proposals. About once a month I will also design and manage a styled shoot which I absolutely adore.
Personal projects seem to play a big part of staying creative in your business, can you tell us a little more about how you come up with ideas to stay inspired?
Nature always inspires me – a good long walk foraging for plant dye stuffs always clears my head and allows my creativity to shine. Staying off social media for chunks of time too – I’ve found it only encourages subconscious replicating of other people’s ideas and I try very hard to get my ideas and inspiration away from screens. Stories, especially historical and architectural are also massive influences.
You are now working on your third issue of Nurture & Bloom, can you tell us about what inspired you to begin the magazine and what your hopes are for the future for N & B?
Being self-employed in a team of one, I definitely yearned for more interaction from other creatives, and N&B is perfect for that. I wanted to start a magazine that was unique and focussed on inspiring and supporting small creative business owners – it can be a lonely existence and the Facebook Group and magazine are a way of helping us all come together and be open to each other’s experiences. For this third issue we are embarking on something very special – an original story with imagery and illustration – all will be revealed in due course!
Can you share some of the biggest challenges that you face in your business?
Constantly innovating to stay interesting – the wedding industry moves especially fast and staying unique is a constant challenge – albeit one I mostly adore! The market has grown exponentially since I started too, and with ever more choice it can be harder to reach the people you want on social media especially. Also, practically speaking working in my own house in the only spare room also presents its own challenges!
Can you share some of the greatest joys in having your own business and working for yourself?
I’m sure it goes without saying, but the flexibility with my family is one of my most cherished advantages – being able to attend school events, do the school run and be there for family generally at my own schedule is amazing, in a way that my old ‘day job’ could never be.
How important has the online community been to the work that you do?
Absolutely vital – I wouldn’t be here without the people I have met through twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I built my business with zero budget through these platforms and I value my online community enormously for their support, creativity, humour and knowledge.
Can you name some of your favourite fellow online creatives and why they inspire you?
Oh I barely know where to begin, there’s so many incredible people out there that I admire – but if I have to pick a handful then Jess Collins (aka The Feral Writer) for her perfect words, Georgina Harrison for her perfect eye for photography, Laura Patrick for her simply exquisite stationery and calligraphy, and Tammy at Wild Bunch Flowers for her gorgeous flowering. These ladies also make my life that much brighter with their friendship and kindness (and of course their willingness to get involved in all my crazy ideas!).
What advice would you give to anyone starting out with their own creative venture or business?
Research and network – find out as much as you can by following people you admire in your sector – try and work with them if you can – shadowing, assisting, interning – whatever you can manage. Get out there and meet as many people as you can – find your tribe. Oh and of course join Nurture & Bloom for our lovely supportive online community too!
What’s instore for you and your business in 2019? Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share?
Well I possibly (if all the planets align!) might be moving to a new house – somewhere where I can actually have clients to visit, and also where I can create a little haven for making. If this happens then there will certainly be a number of changes to what I can offer. If not, then this year will be a year of consolidation and growth, I have just launched my first online course (Curated by Heart) which tackles brand identity and styled shoots, so I will be focusing on supporting my students on their journey with that. I will of course continue to make beautiful things for florists, stationers and brides, and build on the success of the first two issues of Nurture & Bloom – suffice to say I will be as busy as ever – just the way I like it!
Thank you so much to Kate for being my first guest for Her Kindred Story, there are so many brilliant takeaways and I hope you have found Kate’s story as inspirational as I have.
To learn more about Kate you can visit her website at www.katecullen.co.uk or find her on Instagram @katecullenstyle. If you would like to purchase a copy of Nurture & Bloom, you can head over to www.nurtureandbloom.co.uk.