"THE MAKERS" Biography featuring Pender Islands, Katie Anderson
Katie Anderson our local artisan from Pender Island.
Kismit Co thoughtfully curates clothing, accessories and market goods based on the concept of new, found and made.
Tell us about your path to what you’re doing now; how did you start Kismit? What is your background?
There are so many factors that drew me to owning an online shop. Through high school and years after, I worked in retail (both local and corporate) and grew a passion for the ecommerce industry. This was during the rise of internet shopping and the concept of being able to shop from anywhere at anytime fascinated me! I left retail to work for my family’s plumbing contracting business and go to school, where I studied and learned more about the workings of business, retail, and ecommerce. During that same time, I was really into blogging about fashion and lifestyle, which gave me the spark that this was something I wanted to do.
How has your style developed as you’ve grown?
I’ve always loved trends and watching styles recycle over time. However, since opening the shop, I’m constantly learning what sells well (quality made goods with timeless style) and what items I feel my best in personally. The two go hand-in-hand, as I can’t sell something that I don’t love to begin with! The shop—and I—will continue to grow and try new things, but always stay dedicated to bringing well-made products to our customers.
“If I didn’t love this field and the merchandise I sold, I wouldn’t be able to successfully run this business.”
“The shop...will continue to grow...but always stay dedicated to bringing well-made products to our customers.”
When did the idea of starting your business feel like something you could achieve? Was there an “aha!” moment?
I thought about actually starting a business for a solid year (plus more years of dreaming). It felt like the natural path for me. At the end of 2013, with the support of my loved ones, I finally decided...this NEEDS to happen. I created a business model, started working on the website, contacted brands I wanted to sell, and started promoting like crazy through social media. Once products started rolling in, everything felt so real!
If you weren’t running Kismit, what would you be doing?
I’d probably like to do these things even while running the shop, but I could see myself getting more involved in photography, interior design, and working in the community (with children in some capacity). I’ve always wanted to get involved with an anti-bullying organization. One organization in particular that I admire and would like to work with is a kind campaign, nonprofit focusing on awareness surrounding girl-against-girl bullying. No dream is too big, right?
Now that you’re running your own business, does your process come pretty naturally or do you find yourself fighting against creative block at times?
I do hit a creative block from time to time, which I think is completely natural. I use that as a sign that it’s time to step back and seek out new inspiration. That usually involves an adventure around town with my friend/model for new photo locations, or scouting out new product to bring into the shop. Opening up Instagram or my email is the best way for me to come across new items to sell—the internet is a beautiful thing!
Have you taken big risks to move forward? Do you see a connection between risk and creativity?
Every aspect of owning a small business feels like a risk—it’s all a major responsibility! Having known I wanted to be an online-focused shop, I never thought I’d need a space outside of our second bedroom (who doesn’t want to work in their PJs?). However, that quickly came to an end when product was accumulating in my dining room and beyond. I was hesitant to move to a space that would add rent and utilities, but it was the best decision! Being able to merchandise product and have a shop-able space for locals has been so rewarding. And, of course, getting our second bedroom back has been really nice!
Have you had any memorable collaborations? Why do you think it’s important for creatives and small businesses to come together and collaborate?
There is so much individual talent out there and I love being able to offer all of it to my customers through my curation of products in the shop. One of my favorite and most special collaborations has been selling a photo my mom took of a desert scene as a wall print. I had it hung in my living room for awhile and kept getting requests about purchasing one. I finally brought the prints into the shop and have sold well over 1,000 prints to customers all around the world.
Another favorite is the collaboration with “Market City Totes,” created by the brand Artist. They work with a co-op in Qualicum to create exclusive totes with retailers in different cities around the world. Qualicum Artisans aim to create jobs with living wages and supports women’s rights, education, and much more. We’re getting a new and updated run soon and I can’t wait!
“If I brighten one person’s day with a package they receive in the mail or an interaction in the studio, then I’m happy. It’s not entirely about the material aspect, but the experience that you get shopping at small businesses.”
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