SF to NY to CLE and back again

16 Jun

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It only took a few years of gentle cajoling from the East Coast, but we finally booked tickets and flew to New York. It was the first visit for both of us and honestly, the longest vacation we’ve taken in over 8 years. Hey! Work is addictive and hard to stop!

I was born on the East Coast, but moved to Washington when I was 7. I haven’t been back since, with the exception of a short trip to Washington DC when I was in junior high. All my memories of the East Coast are infused with weather though, lots of snow, freezing icicles, hot thundering summer storms, fireflies, salamanders and summer smells. The first thing that struck me on this trip was how different the foliage and green is on the East Coast. So different from the Pacific Northwest and Bay Area that I am now used to, but it felt familiar in a distant way.

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We had a few things planned for our trip: I had a few client and shop visits, we knew we wanted to visit the new Whitney, walk the Highline, see Eataly and drive up to Storm King, otherwise we left our week open after gathering lots of recommendations for eating and wandering from friends and neighbors. My favorite parts of our trip was exploring neighborhoods we hadn’t anticipated spending much time in. We spent a rainy afternoon in Greenwich Village, ducking into a few wine bars and record shops, and another afternoon in Dumbo wandering when the sun came out. We spent one of our last days wandering through Greenpoint after brunch an old friend, and ended the afternoon with a drink and a good view at The Wythe Hotel. A few days we walked 8-9 miles, but it rarely ever felt like that.

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We stayed in Brooklyn for the week, but tried out two different neighborhoods– we stayed with Intern’s sisters in Ditmas Park for a few days then stayed at a great airbnb in Fort Greene for a few days. We only encountered the tourist hoards when we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, and briefly saw them from safer distances. Oh, except for the time we spent in Eataly (at my insistence) that place was insanely busy and overwhelming, like Disneyland for food. We managed to run ourselves around every day until midnight, though I know we just scratched the surface of everything. We played the game, “what if we lived here?” in nearly every neighborhood, pondering what our lives might look like. (Note: Don’t worry mom/friends/worriers, we’re not moving, just talking!) It was hard to sleep at night, I think my brain could not turn off after nonstop visual overload, but I couldn’t wait to do it all again every morning.

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We also made a  quick stop in Cleveland on the way back home to visit friends who have not-so-gently been harassing us to come visit them for the last 2 years. Thats what they get for abandoning us, or I mean, moving away from San Francisco for professional opportunities that far outweigh the opportunities here. Whatever. We loved seeing two of our favorite people in the home they’ve built together. They played eager tour guides, and gave us a walking and driving tour of Cleveland, but we were really just happy to hang out with bare feet and a glass of wine catching up. The rack of lamb didn’t hurt either.

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Actually organized, actual updates

20 May

Record Dividers 26 Panel Futura, HorizontalDecade Record DividersBest selling Futura engraved record dividers in use (horizontal shelf)6 panel stencil set (horizontal shelf)

I got some great advice the other day by email, a couple of kind and honest words that have reminded me not to let the haters get me down. Simple enough, but it bears repeating, again and again. What motivates someone to be a jerk online has absolutely nothing to do with me or my work, and more to do with their own fears and insecurities. I realize that I’ve turned this blog into the place where I vent and fret about work, so it may sound like I am down about everything, but thats not true! It is true that I’ve been wound up by some online nastiness, but to let that stall me, or prevent me from moving forward? No way.

The new shop has been live now for two weeks, and the kinks have been ironed out, orders are coming from new cities, and I am getting ready to hire a new summer assistant. We’ve just booked tickets for our upcoming trip to New York in early June. Intern and I are heading to NYC for a bit of play, visiting family, and a bit of work (mostly me). We’re getting excited about taking some time off to explore and wander– and debating if we can both get by without bringing our work laptops! I think we can. Neither of us has been to New York before, and it feels a little daunting to figure out all the places we should see, things to do, eat and enjoy. The organizer in me wants to map it all out, but realistically I know we can’t possibly do or see it all in only a week– part of me wonders if I should just try to let go, and enjoy the process of discovery, rather than meticulous research and planning.

Finally, I wanted to share the newest product photos shot by Cera Hensley— I love the work she did, and feel so happy about all the hard work that went into this shoot. My live-in hand model did a pretty good job too, despite the grueling 11-hour shoot. Though he didn’t exactly sign up for the job, I think he nailed it.

6 panel set of book dividers, $132
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I’m doing this

6 May

KATE KOEPPEL DESIGN
My baby is growing up! By “baby”, of course I mean my meticulous hyper-organizing side project, the thing that keeps me up at night worrying, the thing that makes me dream of stacking boxes, alphabetizing wood panels and coding websites. That thing also gives me enormous satisfaction, and intense I’m a lady and I can do fucking anything vibes. Terrifying stressful exciting wonderful, all at the same time. That baby just relaunched this week, with a brand new website, new packaging, photography and some hard work and sleepless nights, copy editing, and oh god, some late nights with a glass of wine, code and Photoshop.

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Cardboard nightmares and 5 miles of tape

27 Mar

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I haven’t shared many written updates lately on whats happening with my shop, so here I am, attempting to make myself sit still and write down some thoughts on the last few months, and the next few ahead. I want to document where I am, because I already feel so far from where I was this time last year. Work is moving quickly, and I am making so many decisions I think I’ll soon forget in all of the rush and sometimes (self-created) chaos of small business life. Lately I’ve done a lot of handwringing during the day, and tossing and turning at night, worrying about lumber and cardboard… but mostly cardboard.

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On inspiration

27 Jan

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I don’t have any favorite blogs anymore, and I miss that source of creative inspiration. There was a time I had a few female writers tucked nicely into my reading list, that wrote about interesting, personal, weird, or funny things. That list has dried up, or become too different, I don’t recognize most of it anymore. Mostly I loved writers sharing photos and thoughts about their collections and side projects, I liked that more than the stylish cool hunters with flawless houses and outfits. I liked the process stuff, women exploring their work through experimentation and admitting to mistakes and flaws. There are plenty of blogs that I look at regularly now, but I don’t necessarily love them or find inspiration in the same places anymore.

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