Katie Dean, founder of Katie Dean Jewelry, is awesome. We’re so inspired by her decision to pursue her passion as a jewelry designer, and her creations are beautiful. (In fact, Kendall and Kylie think so too – see below). We love that she says, “Nothing makes me happier than making gorgeous, flirty jewels for you to shamelessly take a #selfie in.” You can meet Katie, shop Katie Dean Jewelry and take those #selfies at ConnectToConfidence UCLA on October 15, 2016. We can’t wait!
What exactly is Katie Dean Jewelry?
Katie Dean Jewelry is delicate, dainty jewelry made in LA. I design it for the minimal, simplistic girl that has a very beautiful look, but wants to add something special to her style.
Where did you get the idea for Katie Dean Jewelry?
Before I started Katie Dean Jewelry, I was an assistant for a celebrity stylist. As an assistant stylist, I would help pick out outfits that our talent would be wearing in commercials, television shows, and the red carpet. It was an amazing job and opened up a lot of doors to experiences I learned from, but, since I was young, I’ve loved drawing and making things with my hands and I wasn’t feeling fulfilled as a stylist. I started making jewelry when I would get home from work as a creative outlet. I wore my jewelry when I was out and about, and people loved it. Girls started asking me about the pieces I made, and I sold my first bracelets right off of me. I eventually realized that this could be a career and that is when I started to get serious about Katie Dean Jewelry. As an artist, you want to enjoy what you do and make the ideas and visions that you have come to life, and that is what running Katie Dean Jewelry has allowed me to do.
Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration has changed over the years. At first, I wanted to create pieces that were delicate and stood out in an outfit. As I matured, my style evolved, and I now get my inspiration from high fashion but I keep it down to earth. I like creating necklaces that can be worn multiple times, not just on special occasions. I enjoy making everyday wear. Also, I watch people when I am traveling to see what people around the world and the country are wearing. I love New York style, since it is minimal–black, white, and grey–but I also get a lot of inspiration from right in my neighborhood in Los Angeles. I like to think the jewels evoke a sunny and bright vibe along with the minimal aesthetic, which is very California.
What is the best part of running Katie Dean Jewelry?
That I am able to create something and see it come to life. Jewelry can totally change a look and it’s just magical. Art, including home decor, paintings, and jewelry, can completely change the mood, setting, and vibe of a person and place. It is really cool that I get to create something that changes how someone feels. I really enjoy designing my line and meeting new people. I have met so many amazing people and traveled to so many places with my work. It’s lead to me to a lot of new and fun experiences.
What was it like to start a business?
I had no business experience prior to Katie Dean Jewelry. It was definitely a bit of a roller coaster in the beginning and I made a ton of mistakes at first. I was doing a lot on my own and I did not have a right way of doing anything because it was my first time doing all of this. It was fun, exhilarating, and terrifying all at once. I just knew I had to make this happen and I had to challenge myself to think outside of the box to find a way to get more people to see my jewelry and love it, while still being able to sleep at night. It was difficult, but as long as you work hard and are dedicated and committed to your passion, you are doing the right thing. And always learn from your mistakes. You can’t regret your experiences as long as you took something away from them that is making you wiser and more successful!
What was your business breakthrough moment?
It’s interesting because I have had a lot of business breakthrough moments. I have been in business for four years now and my first breakthrough was when I got a wholesale order for 3,000 pieces after only being open for a month. At the time, I didn’t even know what a wholesale order was, but it was incredible. It’s not very common to get a wholesale order so soon after starting your business. That order made me realize that, no matter what, I could make a living doing this and it made me really confident.
Another business breakthrough moment was when my jewelry was photographed on Kendall and Kylie Jenner for Dolly Magazine (a very popular Australian teen magazine). They also posted photos to their social media and images of them wearing the jewelry were all over the internet. This made me realize the power of social media and it really opened my eyes, because small businesses are often very limited since they do not have the same amount of money as companies like Target and J. Crew that have large budgets for marketing. Social media is really beautiful because it allows you to reach any demographic and it’s free! It’s very empowering and freeing for creatives and entrepreneurs. You do not have to make any financial investments when it comes to social media; you just have to create great content and be disciplined on posting daily.
I had my final business breakthrough moment when Forever 21 bought a handful of my designs. This was really important to me because a big company validated my brand and it showed me that I had potential to appeal to a large audience.
What is next for Katie Dean Jewelry?
Long term, I want Katie Dean Jewelry to be a household name with women around the world. I want it to be the brand that comes to mind when someone is thinking of buying a new piece of jewelry. And, of course, I always have the goal of having the line carried in more stores, growing our online sales and have our social media community be continuously expanding.
What is your favorite piece of jewelry you have ever made?
Evil Eye Necklace
What is your guilty pleasure?
I love watching “Sex and the City.” I don’t care how many times I have seen an episode, “Sex and the City” is timeless and so honest in what women go through, plus it’s hilarious. It makes life and embarrassing moments funny and not that big of a deal. I really admire the characters because they are all independent and they show different parts of femininity.
What is your binge watch at the moment?
“Sex and the City!”
Describe yourself in one word.
How would your best friends describe you?
Energetic, hardworking, girl boss, warm, friendly and down earth.
What is your favorite part of summer?
I love going on bike rides.
What are you most excited for this fall?
I have a new collection coming out in October that I am very excited for because every collection is more tuned in to my vision. It shows my growth. As a designer, I am honing in to what I want to wear – forever. I am going to be releasing timeless pieces that are still true to the minimal and simplistic elements of the brand but incorporate new details that make them different in their own unique way. They are pieces that mothers can hand down to their children one day.
Thanks Katie. So excited to see you on October 15th.