We recently launched a limited edition collection of mats (see here) with Designer + mom extraordinaire, Kate Arends, the creative brain behind lifestyle brand Wit & Delight. She's as equally gifted as she is kind and inspiring in all the good ways. We're delighted to bring this behind the scenes look at how she scatters goodness in all areas of her life. Read the full interview below. XO, Mare + Jess
- We're such big fans of what you've built at Wit & Delight. For anyone unfamiliar, how would you sum up the purpose of your platform?
You know how every 20-something has that moment when they realize becoming an adult doesn’t automatically solve the existential question, “Who am I, really?” and, “How am I going to build the life I want for myself?”
What we do is write essays on topics designed to help us feel a little less alone as we become the people we want to be with a bit of humor, community support, and a lot of visual eye candy. I like to think of us as professional feelings feelers, elevator to glass ceiling breakers, and a soapbox for anything from building a home on a budget to battling anxiety and depression.
- You're so good at striking a balance between humor, design, and deep thinking. It clearly comes naturally to you, but how have you maintained that sense of 'you' as you've expanded your team?
First and foremost, I look for talent that reflects the people we serve every day. They inspire the content, essays, topics, and issues we discuss on the site. We also have a “code of conduct” at WD that aligns directly with type of content we produce. Good judgement, selflessness, curiosity, and honesty are a few values I look for in a new hire.
- What's the single most important thing you look for when hiring someone?
A willingness to own their mistakes and the ability to self-manage their time (and themselves).
- We love your insights into motherhood, especially balancing motherhood with a career. Why is it important for you to host those discussions?
What I hope for all mothers is the confidence to trust their own path. There is no one right way to balance your career and motherhood and once you are able to free yourself from comparing your path to others you have more energy to focus on making the most of your strengths and talents. Motherhood hasn’t been a cornerstone topic at WD yet but it will be as we get more and more requests from readers to dive deeper into it.
It’s a struggle for me daily, and I try my best to have enough space to reflect on my experiences so I’m not projecting my story and struggles onto our readers. We all have different ways of dealing with the loss of the woman we were and embracing the woman we’ve become after birth. I’m still processing it, for sure.
- What's your favorite thing one (or both) of your kids has said this week?
“Mama and August made art today!” - my son to my sister-in-law after we shot photos for our collection last Friday. We had a particularly rough week and he was SO PROUD of what he made.
- We know it's a myth that anyone's 'doing it all,' but you actually seem to be doing quite a bit. What does a day in Kate's life look like?
I would say the same about the women of Gathre! But I think that’s where social media can be so deceiving. I couldn’t do nearly as much in a day without having a full-time nanny. We are so fortunate to be able to afford that luxury. So, this is what a day looks like for me:
7am: Wake up when the kids wake up
8am: Our nanny arrives and I leave for the office
9am: I drive the long way to work and listen to podcasts and get my coffee. I consider this an unbreakable ritual… to have some alone time before getting ot the office.
10am: I’ve gotten through emails, Basecamp to do’s, and am either prepping for meetings (M,T) or getting ready to spend a couple hours focusing on a big project. I batch my time to make room for projects that require full attention. I’m still the main creative “maker” behind our product so that’s taking up almost all my time.
1pm: Break for lunch, watch a Skillshare class, take 10 minutes to do a Headspace session
4:40: Head home to let the nanny head home, finish dinner and do baths and get kids ready for bed.
8pm: Spend time checking in with my husband, bills, cleaning, etc
9pm-1am: Usually back online writing, designing, or working on strategy.
- In many ways you're 'living the dream' of having built your own business. Any other dreams still on your list? Big or small?
So many. I dream of getting our business to a point where I’m “out of the weeds” and able to focus on the vision and creative direction of our company. I would like to sign off at night and keep a more sustainable work schedule. Right now… I am working towards create a home decor line and eventually… a book or two. So much of Wit & Delight is built from following my intuition, so I try to make sure my head and my heart are able to make space for one another. They each play a role in driving our brand forward.
- Top 3 most visited websites in your browser?
Aside from our own sites (because I’m working on them every day!) you will find me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Pocket (where I keep all the things I’m collecting on the internet).
- Lastly, if you were looking to gather more of anything, you would gather ________.
Empathy. We could all benefit from thinking before we speak, because we as humans tend to be really bad at recognizing when we’re projecting our own issue on to others. It’s cliche, but everyone is fighting their own battles and there is no way of knowing what struggle sits below the surface of an otherwise cheery disposition. Once we stop assuming our paths are identical we are more open and accepting to the areas where we share differences.
Wit and Delight for Gathre is live. Shop the collection here. #WitandDelightforGathre