Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi! I’m Kaitlin and I was born and raised in Fairfield, CT and I currently live in Harrison, NY with my husband, daughter Penelope (age 2) and our mini goldendoodle, Murray. We also have a little boy due to arrive this Summer. I work part-time as a Recruiter at a staffing firm in NYC and I just launched my jewelry line, Kait and Toby, this past fall.
What exactly is Kait and Toby?
Kait and Toby is a line of semi-custom necklaces. Every Kait and Toby piece is distinguished by consecutive diamonds and a single Significant Stone to symbolize something important and unique to you. And every piece has extra significance because 5% of the proceeds of each purchase are donated to the charity of your choice. We have over 80 charities (and counting!) for our customers to choose from when selecting the donation recipient for their purchase. Through Kait and Toby, our hope is that we can share our love with one another while also making a positive impact on the world.
Can you tell us what you mean by we are allowed to select a unique significant stone?
Each necklace has a single Significant Stone that is chosen by our customers and there are 15 Significant Stone options to choose from. The beauty of Kait and Toby is that you customize your jewelry by choosing your own Significant Stone and deciding what that Significant Stone means to you. You may choose a stone based on your preference for a certain color, the relationship a color has to a cause that’s meaningful to you, or the connection to a birthstone or zodiac sign. For example, you could choose Amethyst for Juvenile Diabetes. Sapphire for your birthstone. Emerald in memory of your mother. The possibilities are endless -and unique to you!
What inspired you to start Kait and Toby?
The Kait and Toby collection is inspired by my close friend Katie (nicknamed Toby). In 2012, Katie’s boyfriend, Will, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After unsuccessful rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, he fortunately had a successful stem-cell transplant. When Will reached his post-surgery 100-day post-transplant milestone, he proposed to Katie. To honor their journey, Katie added two peridots, the green gem to support awareness of lymphoma, as accent stones to her diamond wedding band. I thought this was a beautiful way for her to honor her husband and all that they had been through together. From this concept, the Kait and Toby brand was born, based on a single Significant Stone that is set with diamonds creating a unique and personalized piece of jewelry.
How did you come up with the name?
Since the core concept of the brand was inspired by my friend Katie, I wanted to incorporate her name into the name of the brand. Katie and I have always called each other Toby as a nickname, and I thought the name Kait and Toby was a perfect fit.
You donate 5% of purchases to charity; can you tell us about that?
It was really important to me to make charitable giving a key component to our business model. I think our customers appreciate that we give back, and it makes them feel more connected to the organizations that are important to them.
Is there a favorite product?
Currently we have one signature necklace that comes in three different sizes – the Mini, the Midi and The Maxi. The Midi is the most popular right now. I love them all for layering but they also look great on their own. We have more designs coming later this year for earrings, bracelets and rings and I can’t wait for our customers to see them!
What is your favorite part about running Kait and Toby?
I love connecting with other brands and creating partnerships with other entrepreneurs. It’s also a very humbling and warm feeling when something you create brings joy to someone else.
What is your least favorite part about running Kait and Toby?
The accounting and finance side of the business! There’s nothing fun or glamorous about tracking your expenses -but it’s a necessary evil.
How do you spread the word about your company?
I’m currently doing a lot of social media promotion and outreach, specifically with influencers on Instagram. I have a sales background so I’ve been doing a lot of outreach and cold emailing to influencers and celebrities. I’ve also joined a few entrepreneur communities and it’s been instrumental in creating collaborations with other entrepreneurs and brands.
Do you have any advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
My best advice is to just keep at it. It took me years to take this concept from an idea in my head to a tangible product. I hit a lot of roadblocks and often wanted to give up but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. It’s okay to take your time – and it’s also okay if it doesn’t turn out how you wanted it to – but I’m pretty confident that if you just keep going it will turn into something amazing.
Do you have a favorite quote or go to saying?
Go where you can grow. It’s nice to be comfortable sometimes but there’s no greater feeling than personal growth. I believe that all of the greatest moments are always preceded by moments of great doubt or fear. It’s scary but you’ve got to experience those periods of doubt or fear to really enjoy the best kind of excitement and happiness.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
It’s an honor to be included in She’s Fit To Lead! I love your mission and what you’re doing for young women.