As part of our MMB Exclusive line, we get to work with amazingly talented artists to create one-of-a-kind pieces for Mommy Mailbox subscribers. For our June monthly box, Kristin of Kern + Flourish designed these darling koozies to keep your beverages frosty all summer long. We snagged a few moments with Kristin to talk about being a mom of 3 + an entrepreneur.
Tell us a little about you, personally and professionally.
I'm Kristin, the owner and artist behind Kern + Flourish. I'm 27 years old, wife to my hard-working husband and mom to three miracle babies - twin boys and a spunky little girl. I have lettered for as long as I can remember. In high school, I covered an 8' table in my bedroom with poster board and would letter anything I could think of while I procrastinated my homework or daydreamed. When it was full, I flipped it over and did it again. All sorts of styles, quotes, thoughts. It turned into a bit of a messy, swirly journal after a while. I graduated with a degree in advertising and spent a good deal of time in college learning the power of words. I fell in love with the ability to communicate bigger, deeper meanings by saying as little as possible. I think my favorite pieces really reflect that.
Tell us about your esthetic and why you started your shop.
I started my shop because I was in a really tough spot while my husband was in chiropractic school. We had three kids under 3. I was all alone in Texas, far away from family. I needed a creative outlet and honestly we needed the money as well. What I didn't expect was getting to connect with so many other good, strong mothers. I think I'm grateful for the social aspect of it most of all. I have some of the most thoughtful, strong, beautiful customers ever.
Kern + Flourish got its name from my love of the contrast between the orderly and the chaotic. I love the clean lines of type and the feminine and elegant, and sometimes playful feel of modern calligraphy and swirls. Together they make something even more gorgeous. And the more I thought about it, the more it fits in with my life. Equal parts order and chaos make such a rich life. That balance is elusive, and always changing, but it's definitely worth striving for.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I'm inspired by countless things, but the most prevalent are the feelings I want to feel when I see each piece. I believe the home should be a safe, joyful place for each member of the family and I want my art to contribute to that feeling. I think experiences inspire me more than anything. My latest line is inspired completely by the feeling I get when I read bedtime stories to my kids. We read longer novels at night and I read until they fall asleep. I wanted the pieces to communicate that feeling I have as a mom when I kiss them at night, after they've already drifted off. On a more somber note, one of the most important parts of this brand is that I wanted to have pieces for every day - not just the sweet, perfect, pretty days. One of my best-selling prints says "just love me through it" and it's for the messy, hard, rough days - because they're real, and they're the ones that make strong people, strong marriages and strong families.
You have a few different types of products in the shop. Which one is your favorite?
I absolutely love the gold foil prints. I only sell a handful of each design, so they always go quick and I don't get to enjoy them in my home for very long. The shine always makes my lettering pop and seeing the final pieces is really fulfilling. I also created a cookie plate last Christmas that was so fun to see popping up all over Instagram. I'm a bit of a Christmas tradition junkie, so to be a part of others' traditions was really fun.
Finding time to work from home as a mom is tricky. Any tricks?
It's really hard sometimes! I think the hardest thing is not feeling guilty for doing something you really love. It took me a long time to figure out that I have this passion for a reason. We have "coloring time". I letter and my kids work on worksheets or color. Their favorite is when I get the paints out, though. They paint right alongside me and actually, my flamingo canvas has such a fun story behind it (which I actually haven't told anyone before!) It began as the palette of another piece I was working on. I left and my son Granger had brushed the paint all over the palette and it looked exactly like a flamingo! If you look closely, you can see that its beak is actually a big glob of paint that dripped down the canvas just a little bit. I cleaned it up a bit to prep for printing, but it's so playful and quirky and it makes me grin every time I look at it. They also love helping me put inserts into each package and take packages to the post office. My best advice is to include them in any way you can. They can always help with something!
What are some things you like to do with your family?
We love going camping, hiking and playing hide and seek. Lake Powell is my happy place. I grew up 2 hours south of it in Flagstaff, AZ so it's kind of a mainstay for us now. My husband and I are major foodies and recently moved to Phoenix, so we've been loving finding new places to eat. (Send me your recommendations, locals!) As a mom, I spend a lot of time at the park and play dates with friends. We're pretty normal. :)
What can we expect from Kern and Flourish this coming year?
Kern + Flourish just turned one, and this next year we've got our feet under us. It's such an exciting time for me and so fun to see things grow like they have! More abstracts will be included with every line and I have some really fun limited edition gift sets in store for the spring, but this year's Christmas line is something I can't wait to launch. There will be a brand new exclusive cookie plate design (last year's was a best seller and way too fun to create!) along with a collection of items specifically for the littlest of miracles (and their amazing parents) - something that's really close to home for us.