Image
Top
Genue Inc.
April 27, 2017

Genuinely You: Kassie Dyes

Kassie Dyes lives in Nashville, Tennessee and is the Founder + Editor in Chief of The Maker’s Post and creator of the clothing and lifestyle brand Clove & Larkspur. Kassie is one of the kindest souls I’ve ever met. Since I’ve known her, Kassie has brought her creative and compassionate lens to everything she does – from her beautiful collection of mismatched plates and mugs to her award-winning line of clothes in her senior show at Philadelphia University, to name a few. Here, as part of our new series featuring creatives and designers, Kassie shares how she balances creative projects and full-time work, why losing her job at Anthropologie was the best thing that happened to her, and how she combats the isolation bound up in creative work…

DSC_0622 (1)Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Even as a child I was constantly that weird kid creating and coming up with new little business ideas.  My parents ingrained in me the idea that I could be and do anything I put my mind to.  After spending my formative years in the Chicago suburbs, I moved to Philadelphia, PA when I was 18 years old.  I had the privilege of attending Philadelphia University and graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design.  From there I moved to Nashville, TN where I worked as a visual merchandiser for Anthropologie, then to my current position as an assistant in the marketing department at a healthcare company.  While the last several years have been learning, paying my dues, and enjoying different fields of work, my creativity and love for knowledge, coffee, and stellar friends have never taken a back seat.  Since graduation, I have worked on several creative projects of my own including Clove & Larkspur, my clothing and lifestyle brand, and most recently, The Maker’s Post, which is a magazine for creatives.

13512165_638395676320085_8307050016792326214_n

How did you get started as a creative? I got into sewing when I was nine-years-old, which has been the focus of the majority of my life’s years.  That Macklemore song, 10,000 Hours, really has nothing on how long I’ve been sewing.  Honestly, my creativity is what has gotten me into all my areas of work.  It’s what took me on the journey of The Maker’s Post, seeing a need for me and other creatives, to have a beautiful outlet to explore and create.  My creativity, surprisingly enough, is also what landed me in my current full-time position as an assistant in the marketing department, where I currently work.
1238345_379695625467525_1688101121_n

What does a typical day look like for you? I wake up early every day.  So I’m out of bed by 6:01am—I don’t like to be rushed at all!  I like having my mornings to drink coffee or tea, read, catch up on work, that sort of thing.  I work my full-time job from 8am-5pm at a healthcare company, but even with that, every day looks different.  I work on my creative projects on my lunch break as well as in the evenings, where I might have meetings or conduct interviews for the magazine.  A weekend day is a little more fun for me.  I catch up on work, but I mostly just love to fill my time with things that make me happy.  Reading, watching films, drinking coffee with friends, and most importantly, listening to music, singing loudly, and dancing poorly.

Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 11.14.39 AM

Tell me more about starting your own clothing lineI started Clove & Larkspur, my clothing line, while still in college. I won an award for the most sellable collection at my senior show and I used the money I won from the award (all $350!) to buy a ton of fabric and just started making clothes. But in recent years, Clove & Larkspur has really transformed since then. Now, I make custom bridal pieces, like bridesmaid dresses, wedding dress alterations, and handmade headpieces, like the one in the photo below. [Clove & Larkspur] transformed into something that I could actually fit into my schedule. Although I’ve always wanted to run a successful clothing company – that was my dream – I just don’t want to do that anymore. Dreams change, and that’s okay. I still love sewing and designing and making clothes – I’ve actually been thinking about designing a limited edition collection, making all the pieces, and then seeing what happens.

935737_490365961036400_461747474_n

759257

How did you move from a clothing line to a magazine? The Maker’s Post was born when I needed it most. I was completing a huge custom order for a wedding, I was working full time, and all my creative work was alone and isolating. My sister was the one who planted the seed about the Maker’s Post. She noticed I was lonely and said I needed a space and an outlet where I can talk to and be around other creatives like me. I realized that a lot of creative work is isolating – most creatives spend their day alone in their studio just making. I wanted to create a community for creatives—but I also wanted to be the person who told the world that these artists were good at their craft. It was hard for me to tell people I was good at something.  Highlighting these designers in The Maker’s Post is the way I get to tell the world that these designers are really good at what they do.  Through this project, I came to realize sewing and making clothes is a piece of me that’s never going away, but The Maker’s Post was the thing I wanted to devote my time and energy into making.

15875530_737356656423986_9047972633550588940_o

How do you balance creating with a full-time job? Having a few different jobs since graduation, I’m still figuring out this balance thing.  I thought that getting a job where I could be creative would be the best way to put my degree and experience to work. Looking back, it’s funny—losing my job at Anthropologie was probably the best thing that happened to me creatively. After working at Anthropologie, I started working for a healthcare company.  My employer at the healthcare business was concerned that, being a creative person, I wouldn’t enjoy my work.  But I think it’s quite the opposite. At Anthropologie, as a visual merchandiser, I spent all of my creative energy at work, like making the window displays, so by the time I got home, I was so tired.  I didn’t have the energy for my own creative work.  But now, since my 8-5 job isn’t so creative, it allows me to spend my creative energy doing what I love and want to be doing.

Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 11.15.07 AM

Where do you draw inspiration from? And how does that fit into your creative process? I have my constants as far as inspiration and influences.  I love pattern, texture, and color, so I seek inspiration in the natural world around me.  It’s incredible what happens without even having to try when I get myself out into nature.  [Nature] has always been a big influence, specifically in my clothing design.  I’ve always tried to play around with texture, print, and fabric manipulation to create something new and exciting.  Music is a huge source of inspiration as far as my mood goes.  I am easily effected by lyrics and love to create based on the mood of specific songs I’m listening to.  Lastly, art and design that is around me is also inspiring.  I love to look at different media of work, specifically architecture and painting, to see how I can incorporate similar ideas in a completely different way.

IMG_0666

What’s your favorite thing about what you do? I love the freedom that comes with design.  When I’m creating a new clothing item, I love being able to look at the form and see new ways to cover it, and flatter it, or take a classic silhouette and play around with texture and new ideas.  Working on The Maker’s Post, I love the community that comes with working with so many people.  We have our staff, but then we also have the 20-30 artists we feature every 6 months.  It’s amazing to hear so many different stories and be able to share those with our readership.

1412550_402518363185251_494938343_oDo you have an overall design or maker philosophy?  The first philosophy that comes to mind is “Make a sample.”  It’s something my professors in college used to say. For example, sometimes you don’t know if something is going to work like you think it is, but trying is always the answer.  So you just have to do it, and see how it turns out. Another [philosophy] is to follow your gut.  It’s amazing how many opinions there are out there, but at the end of the day, your gut is what gets you through.  Listen [to all those other opinions], but in the end, you have to make a decision based on what you believe.

Picture1

And lastly, Genue celebrates designers, makers, and creatives that are unabashedly themselves. What does it mean to be “genuinely you”? Oh man.  I love being myself.  There is something so perfectly imperfect about being myself.  I think for me, this means allowing myself to be my truest version despite my circumstances.  And sometimes this means dancing around the house singing while making breakfast, and other times I’m a little cooler than that!

12038396_526312357528418_8388453142772534368_n

Thank you so much, Kassie!  And make sure you’re on the lookout for May’s pattern collection, designed by Kassie!

The best way to understand Genue is to try it!

So ready... GIVE IT A TRY