Today we’re bringing you a video from MN Original featuring our Founder & Creative Director, Kate Arends. Kate spoke with MN Original last year about her design process, design aesthetic, how she started Wit & Delight, and where she finds inspiration for all that she does. She also talked more about the growth of W&D, a space that began as a blog written by one person to what it is today—a site with dozens of contributing writers, a studio and event space, a shop, and a creative studio offering product design, strategy, creative direction and consulting, and so much more.
Wit & Delight began as a website that focused on design and decor, and Kate stayed true to that original concept from 2009 – 2013. In 2013, Kate decided to incorporate a lifestyle aspect to the site that had less to do with material items and more to do with how we view the things in our world and how we treat ourselves. “Things really changed when we began to talk about being good to yourself so you can live a better life.”
“I started it in late 2008 when the stock market was going crazy and I was worried about losing my job and I thought, ‘Might as well deal with the anxiety by betting on myself.’ When I started the website I was trying to figure out really basic things like, How do I create an apartment that I’m proud of and love living in on a shoestring budget? And I found that all the things I was gravitating toward were beautiful, but they also were smart. And that’s where the name of the company really came from.”
“I would say my aesthetic is a mixture between classic and modern. I love that tension where two different styles meet; there’s a kind of energy in mixing and matching. It’s a lot of high and low; it’s a lot of mixed materials; there’s a little bit of patina on things, and everything looks really good against a white wall.”
“My creative process is much like this meandering circle of excitement and sort of the fear and feelings of inadequacy and then total excitement again. I know that I’m in good territory if I feel lost and I know now that I have to work through those feelings of I don’t know what I’m doing or This thing is terrible to get to the other side.”
“Becoming more open about my anxiety and depression is probably a parallel path to me understanding exactly the role they played in my life. I felt that all of these things that were really weighing me down and holding me back suddenly became assets. My ADD became this wonderful way of having incredible speed in creativity. My anxiety kept me from running my business amok. My depression was essentially a way of saying that you’ve gone too far and you need to take a break.”
Today, ten years after Wit & Delight first launched, design continues to be a primary tenant of the brand. However, the approach these days is more broad, with a focus on how design and life interact.
Kate continues, “If I’ve taken this diagnosis that I’ve been so shameful of, realized all the benefits of it, and realized how to live with it, I have a responsibility to share that with people—especially if we’re writing about designing a life well-lived. You can’t design your life around having material things save you from who you really are.”
If you’re looking for tools to help you prioritize the tasks that need completing plus keep track of all your own inspiration and ideas, check out our new line of planning tools now available at Shop Wit & Delight.
BY Team Wit & Delight - August 13, 2019
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.