Five Questions with Katy Kippen

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m the owner, creator and designer behind GRAYLING – a modern, vintage-inspired statement jewelry line sold in more than 40 boutiques and galleries across the United States. Our jewelry is handcrafted entirely in Portland, Oregon.

GRAYLING is also available for purchase online ) and in the company showroom in the Central Eastside of Portland, Oregon (107 SE Washington St.).

2011 was a banner year for our small business. We received enormous support from the local community and web sales continue to increase. Sell-through at retailers has been incredible. We added jewelry storage and jewelry boxes to our product assortment; that’s an area with lots of growth potential.

2012 will bring new challenges and opportunities. Our first bridal jewelry collection will be available in stores beginning March 2012. A men’s collection is in the primary stages of development.

How do you bring ideas to life?

This is a hard question to answer because frankly, I have no idea HOW I actually do what I do. I wake up, head in to the studio and start with the things that are closest to our revenue stream. If we have an order that’s halfway through production, we’ll get it out the door. Later in the day, I might get an hour to pursue new business. That may be via a Facebook post or an email reaching out to a new account we’ve targeted.

As a designer, it’s all about sketching, playing with materials and pushing the boundaries of what people consider (the art form of) jewelry to be.

In contrast, as a business person, it’s all about staying organized and keeping your priorities straight. There are notes all over our studio regarding customers, orders, marketing ideas, you name it.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

[amazon_link id=”B0013L8AUC” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Never Check E-Mail In the Morning [/amazon_link]by Julie Morgenstern. It’s easy to lose focus, especially in a creative business! This book is a constant reminder to stay on task and to keep company efforts close to your revenue stream.

What is one piece of advice that you’d like to give?

Take a weekend. Every weekend.

What is one idea that you’re going to bring to life in 2012?

Learning Italian!