A Peek Into the Life of Founder and Creative Director, Kate Arends

Career Development

A Peek Into the Life of Founder and Creative Director, Kate Arends
Photos by Raquel Benedict

Hello! Welcome to Wit & Delight. We have some new faces frequenting our site (and Instagram page) of late, and we decided it was time to give a bit of a reintroduction to new and longtime readers alike. For the uninitiated, I’m Kate, the founder and creative director of this space on the Internet.

Our editorial director sent me a couple of burning questions to answer and I’m sharing my responses below, including a bit about my background, what a typical day in my life looks like, what I’m looking forward to, and more. If you have any additional questions for me, please leave them in the comments and I’ll get back to you ASAP!

Thanks, as always, for reading. It really does mean the world. Without further ado…


1. Tell us a bit about your background. What were you doing before you started W&D?

Before I started Wit & Delight, I was working as a graphic designer for a small brand design agency in downtown Minneapolis. I was really into the blogging community and couldn’t find sites that represented my style aesthetic, so I decided to make my own. Enter: W&D.

2. What is the origin story of W&D?

In 2008, the housing market crashed and I was afraid of losing my job, so I decided I wanted to broaden my network and expertise by way of a creative venture. I was interested in writing about styling and design and decided to create a blog of my own.

Wit & Delight started as a personal creative project. When I first created it, I was hoping to branch out in the online design world. At the time, my career mostly involved working with men in the brand design industry and I wanted to do more writing for women. The blog was originally named Afternoon Delight but I eventually changed it to Wit & Delight, which felt like a better representation of the type of content I wanted to bring to the online landscape.

3. What’s one of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned over the course of your career?

I’ve learned that you never fully have anything figured out at the onset of a project or venture and the best thing you can do is keep moving forward, a little bit at a time. If you wait to start until every circumstance is “perfect,” you might talk yourself out of starting altogether. It’s so important to foster a willingness to keep going and to show up for yourself every day.

If you wait to start until every circumstance is “perfect,” you might talk yourself out of starting altogether. It’s so important to foster a willingness to keep going and to show up for yourself every day.

4. We talk a lot at W&D about improving our habits and prioritizing the goals that matter most to us. What is one of your tried and true methods for managing your time and getting sh*t done?

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned along the way (and the one I’m most proud of cultivating) is to not beat myself up when I’m procrastinating. I’ve learned that there’s always a reason behind my tendency to procrastinate. It may be because I need to take a step back and take care of myself, or because I’m afraid that whatever I’m doing won’t turn out as “perfect” as I’d like. No matter the reason, I’ve learned that when procrastination hits, it’s crucial to not fight too hard against it but rather to have a dialogue with myself about the why behind it.

I’m a curious person by nature and I like having my hand in a variety of different projects at once. I’ve learned over time that sometimes that sense of curiosity can lead me to stray from the task at hand. I try not to worry about being perfect anymore, to accept that sometimes I take the long way to get to the final result, and to not beat myself up when I put something off or have a hard day.

5. What does a typical workday look like for you (if typical even exists…)?

Most days of the week, I wake up between 6:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. and spend a bit of time with my kids. From there, I check my calendar for the day ahead and often send a text to Nancy, my executive assistant, before getting ready for the day. By 8:00 a.m. (or 8:30 a.m., depending on the day) I’ll sit down to start writing, creating, or tackling whatever task is the highest priority. Most weeks, Mondays and Tuesdays are heavier with meetings, and I can make more time for creating and admin work toward the end of the week.

(You can read about a day in my life at the start of working from home at the end of March, and a very different version of it from the beginning of March…oh how things changed in a matter of weeks.)

6. Tell us about an article on W&D that’s resonated most with you.

There are SO many. A few that have really resonated recently are “Marriage Is Too Important to Take It Too Seriously” by Carol Bruess and “How to Learn to Enjoy Your Own Company” by Jill Elliott (among many others). I love learning from others’ points of view, and reading our contributors’ perspectives on leading a life well-lived is one way to do just that.

7. What advice would you give someone looking to pursue a career like yours?

Truth be told, your journey will look different than mine and there is no one specific formula that fits all! I’ve found that by being willing to put yourself out there, doing things that scare you sometimes, and listening to your audience, you’ll be better equipped to follow a path that feels true to you.

Truth be told, your journey will look different than mine and there is no one specific formula that fits all! I’ve found that by being willing to put yourself out there, doing things that scare you sometimes, and listening to your audience, you’ll be better equipped to follow a path that feels true to you.

8. Where did the colorful design inspiration for your home originate?

One of the biggest sources of inspiration for this house has come from places I’ve traveled. Thinking about past hotel stays, I realized that the design of those spaces was about creating a different approach to home and making guests feel cared for, and that has been a very inspiring perspective shift for me.

It’s also been curious to look back at my Pinterest history and images I’ve saved over the years—those images definitely reveal that playing with color in design is something I’ve always been drawn to. This house forced me to play with color in a very tangible way and I’ve found that this sense of experimentation with new design elements was something I was really craving.

9. When you have free time on your hands, how do you spend it?

More often than not, in my free time I can be found hanging out with my kids and with Joe—the kids have tons of opinions and are super creative, and it’s always a delight to experience life through their eyes. I also like to cook, take care of my plants, and read. This year has really been about bringing life back to the basics and finding the simple things that bring me a lot of joy.

10. What are your current favorite self-care rituals you’d recommend?

Right now one of my self-care rituals is ice rolling—it’s so soothing and touts a host of benefits, like inflammation reduction and a more defined jawline. I’ve also become very focused on intentional breathing—it helps when I feel worked up or stressed (I’ve been reading this book on the topic and really love the messages it holds). I’ve also been working to intentionally do nothing more often and to not feel guilty about it (harder said than done at times!).

11. What are a few of your favorite blogs, designers, or social media accounts to follow at the moment?

There are so many! At this particular moment, I really love following Jessica Reilly at @domacile37, Dr. Nicole LePera at @the.holistic.psychologist, Laura Jackson at @iamlaurajackson, Jamie Beck at @jamiebeck.co, and Shavonda Gardner at @sgardnerstyle.

12. What is something you are looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to a slow holiday season compared to seasons past, maybe more time for activities like baking bread, a new season with the kids as they become more independent, and (eventually!) traveling more with the kids in tow.

BY Kate Arends - November 16, 2020

2
Leave a Reply

Caitlin

Thanks for this Kate. I am not a new follower but I am a loyal one. The reason being I find you interesting and somewhat of a kindred spirit in a social sea of sameness. Your answers to 3 and 4 really resounded with me!

I’d love you to talk about keeping true to your artistic self and working identity and keeping a balance with motherhood. I struggle as the pull to fulfill both is strong and yet doesn’t feel achievable. Perhaps it’s just magnified by the current times!

Most-read posts:

Did you know W&D now has a resource library of  Printable Art, Templates, Freebies, and more?

take me there 

Arrow Alone

Get Our Best W&D Resources

for designing a life well-lived

MORE STORIES

Arrow Alone

the latest

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.

Hi, I'm Kate. Welcome to my happy place.

follow  @WITANDDELIGHT

ELSEWHERE

PINTEREST

FACEBOOK

351k

3m

12.5k

INSTAGRAM