Kate Elkind’s entrepreneurial journey started a long time ago when Internet wasn’t a common thing yet. It was the year of 2001 when after being fresh out of college and not being able to find a job within her major as a fashion designer that she started working as a sales person at a supermarket. She was so bored over there that Kate decided to try something else on the side. Early on she knew that for your business to be successful, you have to find people’s pain points and satisfy them. “In Belarus, that is a country I’m from, the cold seasons are prevalent, so I thought that warm, cute knits like scarves, hats, and sweaters should be in demand”. She purchased a knitting machine and started learning how to use it, searched for knitting threads suppliers and created her samples. Unfortunately, this business wasn’t successful but it started her down the road to being an entrepreneur.
Since then Kate has tried different things such as selling cosmetics, vitamins, custom clothing sewing. “I have constantly been thinking about how to apply myself beyond the 9 to 5 job. Thoughts about escaping the corporate job have never left my mind and grabbed my imagination stronger than ever at the end of 2015”.
Before that, Kate’s focus was on building her family, getting the college degree in the new field and establishing herself as a professional in the United States where she had to start from scratch. “Being that busy, I didn’t even notice how the Internet, e-commerce, and social networks became a part of our everyday lives and how all kinds of industries moved their business into virtual space. It was a wakeup call for me. Why not use these tools to spread a word about things I am passionate about?”
Kate loved fashion since childhood, so it was no brainer – so she decided to do what she loved the most. Little by little her world filled with threads and ribbons again. She started to sew a lot and sought feedback from her friends. “Everything I was making was met with lots of admiration, surprise, and suggestions that I needed to market myself”. So she decided to give it a try and began catching up on the new technologies and programs, read many business books like the 4 Hour Workweek, and taking online courses at lynda.com.
Today Kate creates colorful fun handbags and shares her work with the world on Facebook and Instagram. In May of 2016, she opened an online store on Etsy named KateElkindDesigns. All of the bags are handmade by Kate. “I get real satisfaction working with my hands and making one-of-a-kind pieces with all of the imperfections and character inherent in this type of work”.
Kate is still working on her escape from the 9 to 5. She still has a full time job, not including raising her family. She wants to get to the point where she can get her business running smoothly so she can focus on what she loves most – design. “Persistence, open-mindedness, and humility are the necessary attitudes on my road to success. My favorite thing that helps me every day is just being positive and smile big no matter what”. She hopes that building a blog and expanding her mailing list will let her grow her business and have the flexibility to travel and live life on her own terms. Like many entrepreneurs she is trying to get better at delegating. “I’m a “do it all myself” person only because I am capable of learning about anything I put my mind to. However, I finally see that “better done that perfect approach” to business is required if I want to grow”.
“My attitude to fashion and beauty is that I never liked mass produced things since they obliterate the sense of you being truly unique since you become a part of a mass and lose your special character”. That translated into her branding where Kate decided to cater to women who desire to reveal their individuality through the bags and clothes. “I think of myself as an artist first, but I do realize that I need to scale my business to grow. Therefore, shortly I plan to put some bags and clothes to be produced in limited editions. There are so many things I want to accomplish, create and need to figure out before I can say goodbye to my 9 to 5, but I am excited about so many possibilities available to the entrepreneurs nowadays that only your imagination becomes a ceiling”.