Tuesday, 1 April 2014

profile kati williams - spoken.


Kati Williams of Spoken
I absolutely LOVE plywood, so when I spied Kati Williams pieces, they Spoke to me! Sorry, I couldn't help the play on words. For Kati Spoken started as a side project making carved plywood wall art to help fund her and partner Rory's bespoke furniture company Maker Studio, yet it's turned into a thriving  business in itself. With a love of writing and obvious knack for working with timber, combining the two is a natural fit for Kati who makes all the pieces herself from her Noosa studio. One which particularly resonates with me is, "but first, coffee", so true! You can find Spoken online here, or if you are on the Sunshine Coast you can pick up a selection of boards at Lamington in Noosa and Kati is at the Eumundi Markets each Wednesday and Saturday.... Stay tuned for a further peak at Kati's and Rory's talent with timber over the coming weeks.

How would you describe yourself:
Grounded, stubborn, honest, creative and independent.

What was your childhood dream?
To be a ballet dancer.

What led you down your current path?
When I finished Uni at the end of 2008 with a marketing and creative writing degree, all I wanted to do was get a job in big company in the marketing department. Unfortunately the GFC was happening and jobs were scarce (non-existent for first year graduates). So, I found a full time job in retail and started working on my own projects on the side.

It wasn’t until my boyfriend wanted to start designing and making furniture that we started making the quote boards in our spare time. Initially we were hoping they would help fund the equipment and materials needed to start developing a range of furniture, but we soon realised they were a business in their own right. I quit my job and bought a pair of blundstones. 

You, Me and the Sea.

What do you love most about what you do?
I saw a quote a few weeks ago that said “love the necessary work” and although making the same product over and over again can get very monotonous I do enjoy the continual work it provides. I always feel busy and productive, which I suppose is true with plenty of jobs, so it’s great I get that feeling from my own business. I have to say though, my favourite aspect of making quote boards is cutting out new designs for the first time and changing my colours every six months. 

Where do feel most inspired?
Travel seems to be my best source of inspiration. I love getting out of my normal environment and experiencing new things. I always feel refreshed and full of ideas after a holiday or weekend away. 

Who do you admire?
My parents for instilling good work ethic in me. And I guess anyone who is willing to go after their passions in life- it’s very inspiring. 

Ampersand - Personalised Wedding Board

What challenges have you had to overcome? 
The biggest challenge has been starting a business in an ‘organic’ way.  Learning to manage and grow a business without loans is sort of tricky. It’s great because you learn to walk before you run and you learn to prioritise your finances, but you really do need to spend money to make money. I feel like I’m finally getting a tiny bit of flexibility which is definitely improving my daily life. For example spending money on things that will make the process easier (better tools, customised packaging, etc.)

What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment? 
 I think when the quote boards really started to take off. It feels like such a big risk putting in so much time, money and effort into something when you aren’t even sure it’s going to sell. It’s SO exciting when people love it too-  it’s very rewarding and a good motivator to keep going. 

What are your top inspiring resources?
*Pinterest for styling and interiors although it’s also very distracting
*All forms of writing I come across—  books, poem excerpts, articles, whatever really. Things resonating with me was why I decided to initially cut quotes into the boards (as opposed to images). 

Do you have a dream creative project?
I’m really looking forward to either building or renovating my own house one day. I’m not in any rush to do it, but my interest in interiors has only really developed in my mid 20’s, so I think it’d be a great project (and challenge). 


What are you currently coveting in the world of design?
Plumen light globes and Pony Rider textiles.

What's next?
Promoting the quote boards and getting them out there. Adding a blog to the website, doing some more styled photo shoots, adding new quotes to the range— my list of things I’d like to do is endless, it’s just finding the time to schedule it all in. 

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to: 
Read -  About to start “Where’d you go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple - I’ve heard good things.
Watch -  I seem to be in this crime/legal drama phase right now. Two favourites at the moment are The Good Wife and Scandal.
Cook-  My go-to tomato pasta recipe or eating out.
Create- Special Sunday morning breakfasts.
Listen to- My custom spotify stations.
Dream about - Sleep ins.
Look forward to - Catching up with friends.