At KF, we believe in the power of women. Each month, we'll introduce you to a 'Woman Who Inspires'. These incredible women are entrepreneurs, innovators and makers who are paving their own way in business, education, society, motherhood, and many more aspects of life. Learn how they started their ventures, the challenges they faced along the way and see how they are building their future - all of our futures - while inspiring others.
Katie Farnan, Head Designer and Founder of KATIE FARNAN
Every year at KF April is a very special month for us, with birthdays, the arrival of a new season and our Spring Summer Collection debut. This year in particular it feels extra special due to the interesting 2020 and how far we have come as a brand to get back on track and create beautiful clothes in a world that has changed so much.
Because of all this we decided to highlight our founder and share her story as an introduction to new clients, insight for the current KF family, and to celebrate the SS21 Collection launch this month. Enjoy!
I am Katie Farnan, the founder and head designer at my eponymous women’s contemporary clothing brand KATIE FARNAN. I am originally from Atlanta, Ga and moved to Chicago 8 years ago. I love this city and experiencing everything the culture and community has to offer, as well as have the majority of our clothing line designed, manufactured and sourced here in Chicago. KF was started in 2016 with the idea to create well tailored, timeless pieces in a seasonal capsule collection for the confident modern woman.
Why did you start your own company?
I have wanted to design clothes and be my own boss for as long as I can remember. In 2016 I was close to turning 30, I was fairly burned out at the company I was currently at and was looking to take a leap. I have always been a creative and have sewn clothes my entire life but always skirted around the idea of actually starting my own business in fashion by being a stylist or taking positions in sales. When I finally realized that I was 100% sure this was the next step in life, I didn’t look back and started building the brand the day I quit my job. Being able to create something from scratch fuels my creativity and completely ‘fills my cup.’ The best moment every year is when our seasonal line photoshoot arrives and I get to see the clothes come to life through the vision that was created during the design process. It is amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
What has been your biggest failure in business and what did you learn from it?
Funny enough I think I make mistakes pretty regularly but they don’t necessarily feel like mistakes, but more like lessons to be better at business or design and even in relationships. If I had to pick the biggest mistake it would be in my first manufacturing season. I truly appreciate all advice and experience shares that I receive from other entrepreneurs or designers, but that season I made decisions based on advice and not what I thought was right. To be fair, it was my first season and I didn’t know much of the industry so I really looked for guidance. In the long run I have learned to go with my gut and stay true to what I think is best.
What is the first thing you do after waking up to jumpstart a successful day?
I grab coffee, go to my office and sit down to write my morning pages. Morning pages are a creative exercise from the book The Artist’s Way where you drain your mind through free writing 3 notebook pages. It gets all of the random thoughts out that block the creative juices.
What tools would you recommend to anyone trying to start their own business
Definitely The Artist’s Way as mentioned above. The book/course is made to help unblock creatives, but in reality everyone is a creative regardless of what industry you are in so I highly recommend it. I also love listening to ‘How I Built This’ podcast with Guy Raz to hear how other entrepreneurs started their business. When it comes to apps I use Canva every week to create SS21 marketing, social posts, blog images, etc.. I also use the Notes app everyday to make lists and stay on task.
What person in history, living or dead, has inspired you and how?
Diana Vreeland. She always walked to the beat of her own drum. She never seemed to care what other people thought, was outrageously over the top with everything and seemed very authentic.
If this wasn’t your job, what’s something else you’ve always wanted to do/start/create?
I would 100% have my own flower shop. I am obsessed with flowers almost as much and clothes. They are perfect and beautiful and pure. And if not that, possibly an interior designer.
Let's Get Deep...
What emojis do you use most when texting?
The girl raising the roof 💁🏻♀️, the drunk face 🥴 and the red heart ❤️.
What is your go to cocktail?
Dirty martini, Belvedere vodka.
What books are you currently reading?
Go to fave garment in your closet.
Right now the SS21 KF Raglan Silk Tie Blouse. It goes with jeans, more silk, shorts, skirts, everything! It feels amazing and looks so polished.
What is your signature scent?
Coco Mademoiselle Chanel during the day and Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia at bedtime.
Early riser or night owl?
For sure night owl but secretly want to be an early riser. I don’t see it happening anytime soon though.