Artists don't often place their spirituality at the center of their creativity, but Katie Scott of Katie Designs has done so and seen her career go from a superficial pursuit to a deeply fulfilling part of her life and career.
"I believe most artists are spiritual because they recognize that their gift comes from a source that can't be taught and a lot of people are afraid to talk about it," said Scott with a smile as shoppers crowded around her display smack dab in the middle of Neiman Marcus Galleria. The luxury retailer hosted a trunk show for the newbie a few weeks back and, based on the number of attendees, she already has a serious fan base.
Initially drawn to home design, Scott founded her decor and custom furniture company Katie Design more than ten years ago. She describes her aesthetic as a blend of modern and edgy flare that both resonates a sense of peace and calm while energizing with spontaneous jolts of bold color, art, and accessories. Within three years, Scott found herself featured in national magazines including Elle Decor and Southern Living, and, in 2008, domino magazine named her one of the nation's top ten up and coming designers of the year.
Scott can't help but be in awe of her early success, but speaks candidly of her want for more meaning in her work, a longing that came to the forefront in 2007. As success was beating down her door, she began to wonder if this was all she was meant to do with her talents and, much like her customers, she searched for an infusion of spirit into her life.
"I really struggled with that for a while, because here I am being spiritual but I'm in this material world. I started learning how to meditate and was really asking for direction. I knew I really wanted to start living my life for a higher power," said Scott.
She began searching for the ministry that would supplement the work she was doing through her company and a trip home to New Orleans provided the big aha moment.
"I wanted to wear something more significant, a more significant piece of jewelry. But as I went out, I couldn't find anything new or modern or edgy, just kind of the same old stuff. So one day I was antiquing for an interior design job wearing this hot pink Hermès alligator cuff and I found all of these spiritual charms at an antique store. I asked the salesman to see them and when they crossed over that Hermès pink cuff, it was like a lightning bolt went down my body. I'll just start designing a line of spiritual jewelry that's modern and fashion forward!"
In October of last year, jewelry line Katie Design was born. Within a few short months, the collection of spiritually inspired cuffs, rings, necklaces, and charms has seen its customer base skyrocket.
The lines popularity has led to placement in major stores like Neiman Marcus, Sloan Hall, and more than 15 independent boutiques across the country, much to the surprise of Scott who says she never in a million years thought she would design jewelry.
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The ability to mix and match pieces of differing metals, finishes, and sizes has been the biggest draw for her clients. No necklace is the same, and, with designer pieces representing many different religions and spiritual perspectives, each person can make a statement true to themselves. "I believe the jewelry is a vehicle for me to speak. It helps me reach people and hopefully increase their spiritual life," says Scott.
By blending customary religious symbols with modern jewelry techniques and materials, the line sits alone at the crossroads of soul and style, much like its designer.