Company: Wit & Delight
Interesting Fact: The name “Wit & Delight” was derived from Kate’s experience of discovering and developing her own personal style – “Wit” is a sharpness and quirkiness to the process, while “Delight” is finding the joy and the humor throughout each step.
Kate Arends started Wit & Delight to discover how style fit into her life. At 24, she had a love for beautiful things, but wasn’t sure how to harness it into a distinct sense of style. Kate was purchasing high-end products instead of the right products, putting herself in credit card debt and filling her closet and apartment with things in attempt to figure out who she really was.
Wit & Delight became Kate’s way of considering all areas where style is concerned, serving as a platform for her thought process in developing her own personal style.
Q – Not to give away your “secret sauce” but how does one become a very successful lifestyle blogger?
A – Ha! I’m not quite sure how to answer that question, as I feel like I’m still trying to figure that out myself. While I do manage Wit & Delight full-time, I’m also working as a consultant for a few brands, and only have the time to create content that interests me. I think if I had more time on my hands, I would spend the majority of it at a loss of what to do. I need to stay far too busy to be productive.
Q – One of your biggest platforms continues to be social media. You use it better than almost anybody to share your story, personality and style. How important is social media for you, and why do you think it works so well for your business?
A – Social media is incredibly important to Wit & Delight. Through it, I’ve been able to express myself and my point of view. For some reason, people seem to gravitate towards it and it resonates with them. W&D is my portfolio of capabilities. While I run W&D, I also work as a consultant for brands to develop a social media presence and develop an organic growth of followers. All the platforms of W&D prove that I know what I’m talking about.
Q – 15 years ago if you said you were a lifestyle blogger, you’d have gotten a bunch of funny looks. Now, you’d get fewer funny looks. Ha. But seriously, when did you realize this was a viable way for you to expand your business and make a name for yourself?
A- All false modesty aside, I’m still trying to figure this profession out. W&D started from my days working as a graphic designer at a local Minneapolis design firm. We were slow, and I had time on my hands. I found Pinterest, and like many others, got sucked into that blackhole. I’m good at curating content and editing it together. People liked it and I just kept going.
I realized it was a “thing” when I was approached by brands to feature product on the site. That was the game changer. My big rule with sponsored posts, on any and all of the W&D channels, is I have to use and believe in the product. It’s a simple as that. The end goal is to use W&D as a portfolio for content development as well as the strategy behind it. It’s a tool to garner more “behind the scenes” business; and a forum to express myself.
Q – We see a lot of bloggers trying to be the next you. If you had to give them advice what would you tell them?
A – Have a point of view and stay true to it. It’s easy to get swept up in trends and posture to try and be the next big thing, but people are savvy enough to know when it’s all a front. Also, have a back up plan. The market is saturated with bloggers from every walk of life and point of view. If you don’t have a strong sense of direction, you unfortunately get lost in the shuffle. The internet is huge and is continuing to expand.
Q – You have a million readers every day, you’re huge in social media and you’ve been featured in just about every major magazine for life and home. What are you most proud of in your professional life?
A – Taking the leap. It was scary to go from a full-time graphic design job and take the leap into the abyss. It’s been over a year, and I’m still here.
Q – You’re the “Martha Stewart” of social. What’s next?
A – Good question. I’ll continue to develop content for all of W&D’s channels, while working as a brand strategist. I’m also looking into developing a line of products.
Q – Where do you go for inspiration? Do you have a few favorite lifestyle bloggers that you follow? Do you have favorite designers that influence your work?
A – I’m inspired constantly. Instagram is my go-to for inspiration. With so many people contributing in real time, I’m amazed at some what people can create. I do follow a few blogs when I can. My favorites these days are: Camille Styles, Sugar & Cloth, Vanilla Bean Blog. A friend introduced me to Pocket, and right now it is full of articles and posts that I keep meaning to read.
Q – Part of your job is keeping up with the latest trends. How important do you think it is to set your own trends? You’re a leader now. Do you put pressure on yourself to get out ahead of things?
A – I’m a bit torn on this issue. While I think it’s important to be aware of trends, to continue to be relevant, I’m more interested in personal style. Trends come and go, but when you have an edited POV, a personal style, it surpasses a trend. Trends also don’t work for everyone, but when you have style you can make a trend work for you.
Q – Tell us some of the things you think are hot for the season.
A – With the holidays coming up, it’s hard to think about trends outside of the season. It’s also the first holidays at the house, which we are hosting, so I’m concentrating on getting the house ready for company.
(Kate did select some of her favorite Bellacor home items for this season here.)
Q – Pick one room in the home where you have to get it perfect – what room would that be and what entails being “perfect” to you?
A – The kitchen, hands down. This is the heart of the house, where everything happens and where people seem to naturally gravitate towards. Joe and I just finished our remodel, and the majority of it was focused on updating the kitchen to make it as functional as possible.
“Perfect” has different levels of meaning for me. Clean, obviously. Well-designed, functional and aesthetically pleasing; all of which have come together thanks to the help of the team at McDonald Remodeling. What really completes the kitchen, is when it’s in use and I’m able to entertain, which I’m very much looking forward to doing this upcoming holiday season.
Q – What’s your favorite thing to shop for when working on a design?
A – I love objects for my desk, mantle and bookshelf. I hate to use the word “knick knack”, because I think these objects can be focal pieces or conversation starters. Typically, they aren’t on my shopping list, but I gravitate towards these small objects, typically when I should be focusing on something else entirely.
Q – Because you are big into fashion, do you feel like fashion has an influence on home design or the other way around, or are they two very separate entities?
A – I think that they are two separate entities, but if there is a translation, it’s from fashion to home design. It’s fascinating to me to watch the transition from haute couture to street style to big box retailers, in both apparel and home design. I love that well-designed and crafted items are available to everyone. Over the years, I’ve learned spending money doesn’t necessarily equate to good taste.
Q – We know you’re a Twin Cities girl, born and raised. And you’ve stayed true to your roots even as you’ve made a name nationally. How important is your Minnesota background personally and what impact does it have on you professionally?
A – I’m not, actually; I’m a transplant. I was born and raised in Chicago, and came to the Twin Cities following college. I’m flattered that I’ve blended in enough to be considered a “hometown girl”. Even though I’m not from here, I think I’m inherently “Midwest”, and the traits that are associated with that: honest, hardworking and polite. I’d like to think that my honesty comes through the content developed and my ability to share with the audience. I also think that I have had the successes and opportunities thanks to my hard work, and the fact that I’m pretty easy to work with.
Q – Give us someone you’ve always dreamed of working with? Maybe more than one person. Your dream team if you’d like.
A – There are too many people to list off, and I’d be embarrassed if I forgot anyone. How about, the ideal collaborator? Boundary pusher, challenges the norm, passionate (almost to a fault), hard-working, creative, and funny.
Q – What would people be most surprised to know about you?
A – I was a North American Irish Dancing champion as a child. Seriously.