Female Feature Friday: Kelly Kay Vidrine of Kelly Kay Paper Co.
We are back at it, bringing you another Female Feature Friday. We are so excited to be sharing a new amazing Girl Boss every week. The inspiration behind this series was to highlight the brilliant women running small businesses in an effort to inspire other women to bring their talents to the table. We can do it all, ladies!
This week we are featuring the incredibly talented, beautiful and artistic Kelly Kay Vidrine of Kelly Kay Paper Co.! Her artistic abilities are out of this world and nobody should be able to create such beautiful designs…but she does…and we love her for it! And we know you will love her as well - enjoy!
LET’S GET DOWN TO (SMALL) BUSINESS:
Name and Occupation:
Kelly Kay Vidrine // Owner & Artist @ Kelly Kay.
Briefly describe your business:
We endeavor to bring joy and beauty to your life through artful paper products such as calendars, art prints, Table Grace Cards and personal stationery.
How did Kelly Kay come about and what were you doing before its creation?
I was fresh in the graphic design field and was asked to create an invitation for a friend’s bachelorette party. She is a fashionable blonde and so naturally, I made an intricate paper doll invitation complete with paper lingerie outfits. I had a blast designing & bringing it to life and people went nuts. I began taking on more freelance projects and got a job at a paper store for market exposure and a consistent paycheck. My maiden name is Kelly Kay, so my freelance work was “Kelly Kay Design” before it was a paper line. The line was solidified when we brought it to our first Dallas Market in 2008. The name stuck.
What is your favorite thing about running an illustration business?
I am passionate about color, composition, design, texture and beauty; each are fuel for my soul and the reason I do this. That all comes alive for me when I actually get to sit down and draw in my sun-soaked office. A cup of coffee and a great podcast are icing on the cake.
How did you become an illustrator?
I grew up drawing but really fine-tuned my skill and technique through pursuing an art degree.
Why is small business so important to you?
Small business makes America greater. I love exercising freedom to pursue what I choose. Most small businesses are built by passionate, clever, hard working people. It’s an incredible community to be a part of and I’m humbled to be among them.
What is your favorite illustration to design?
Calendars. I love to imagine future seasons and months and think of people’s lives & plans and assign beautiful images to the coming year. I’m currently working on our 2020 calendar and loving every minute. Every month is new artwork to enjoy and it is a joy to experience each new illustration.
What motivates you to keep going on the less than awesome days?
I deeply believe in the power of beauty to ground us, and that pausing the daily whirlwind to take in art is fundamentally transformative. To be a small part of that in someone’s home or place of work is an absolute honor. And I really mean that, as there are a large number of not awesome days!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own business / become an illustrator?
Work hard every day. Give it your time and energy, push yourself, practice, learn more, challenge yourself all the time. It takes a lot of time and work to develop your personal style but it will come as you spend the time getting better. Keep going, it’s worth it!
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made and what/how did you learn from it?
Not staying in retail from the beginning. We started out as a retail business but soon pursued the wholesale market instead. I wish we had been working & growing both sides of the business these twelve years. But I trust that there was a purpose in it and am so thrilled that it’s growing now.
Who have you looked to for advice and mentorship?
My husband (we’re each other’s biggest fan), my dad (a fellow entrepreneur), my wholesale reps, small business workshops, a couple consultants, the Bible.
What does it mean to you to be a woman in small business?
That question gives me pause because I don’t think it’s the right one for me. My gender isn’t a factor in the truth that each day I mess up, do something good, drop the ball, learn from mistakes and celebrate great ideas. The only thing specific to being a woman is that I’m a wife and I’ve had three babies. Since I desire to stay home and raise our children, my business has grown more slowly than if I focused on it full time. I would make that decision again every single day.
What’s next for Kelly Kay?
We are continuing to grow the retail side of business and interacting more directly with customers is the BEST. Also, I’ve had the privilege to see my art prints on season 1 of HGTV’s One Of A Kind and that experience (and it’s aftermath) has been a blast. They’re currently filming season 2 so here’s to hoping for more.
LET’S GET THE SKINNY ON FORT WORTH:
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO FORT WORTH?
TCU // Go frogs!
BEST TACO IN FORT WORTH?
The Migas at Mash’d (brunch menu) are served in taco form and they are a perfectly balanced flavor explosion.
BEST STEAKHOUSE IN FORT WORTH?
Reata. Every time.
FAVORITE MARG IN FORT WORTH?
Can’t do margs anymore (ahem, Joe T’s), but Lazy Moose employs cocktail magicians and I love their Rosemary Greyhound.
FAVORITE COFFEE SHOP IN FORT WORTH?
Craftwork if you can get a seat. Brewed when it’s been a week and I need a Valrhona chocolate croissant.
FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND A DAY IN FORT WORTH?
Long breakfast with my hubby at Del Frisco’s Grille overlooking the square, a walk through The Modern art museum, explore the small shops on Magnolia, then I would pack up my oil pastels and draw in my imaginary future studio somewhere with lots of light and a great view. Then a progressive dinner on Magnolia Avenue: cocktails at Lazy Moose, then Ellerbe for fried okra and house-made ranch dressing (and where you must always get the soup even if it’s hot outside). Sushi at Shinjuku Station and ice cream at Melt. After-dinner wine flight at Grand Cru.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT BEING A BUSINESS OWNER IN FORT WORTH?
The community! We lift each other up. This city is absolutely full of kind, interesting & creative people in business. What a gift to be counted among them.
TELL US 3 OF YOUR FAVORITE FORT WORTH SMALL BUSINESSES.
Wanderer Boutique on Magnolia, Winton & Waits on South Main & Shop Small Fort Worth, the Collective. Artful, lovely places to shop and amazing owners behind them!