I can barely manage talking to my fiancé on speakerphone while also scanning my Instagram feed. It’s an embarrassing display of multitasking ineptitude, but I am continually trying to improve (much to his chagrin). I mean, can you imagine a world where people concentrate on a single task at a time? Please. Ain’t nobody got time for that. While I am still figuring out how to walk and chew gum, twenty three year old powerhouse Kaitlin Holland is busy managing two businesses, founding a stellar styling and business workshop that will be finding its way around the country next year, and creatively assisting at new magazine, Cottage Hill. Beyoncé, who? You have as many hours in the day as Kaitlin Holland. You go, girl.
NAME Kaitlin Holland
LOCATION Greensboro, NC
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND BA Art, Elon University
COMPANY The School of Styling + Creative Assistant at Cottage Hill
You have quite the stylish portfolio! Tell me a bit about what you do & how you got started. When someone asks my what I do the simple answer is “I’m a stylist.” The more complicated answer is I’m the co-owner of Simply Put Vintage, a vintage rental company located in Raleigh, NC, I’m the founder of The School of Styling, a styling and business workshop, and I’m the Creative Assistant at Cottage Hill Magazine, a new wedding and lifestyle publication that will hit stores this fall. While some people might get tired just reading the list of my job descriptions, I love the diversity and what it allows me to do. Each role is so special and different to me, and as a creative I love that I never feel confined to one job title. I began my career with starting Simply Put Vintage my senior year of college. I learned so much about myself, my strengths and running a business. I began styling shoots to create content for my website so people could see how our vintage pieces could be creatively used in their wedding. I fell in love with styling and began to put together teams of creatives for shoots just because. All were published, but I knew that I couldn’t style shoots without much of a “purpose” forever. However, during that time I built my portfolio which landed me a few paid styling jobs and exposure. It also got me two editorial spots in the first issue of Cottage Hill Magazine (one wedding shoot and one interiors), where I later applied to be the Creative Assistant and got the job.
Your Instagram is just one elegant photo after another. Where do you draw your inspiration? I love to draw inspiration from my latest projects or my day to day life. I fully believe that there is beauty all around us, even if you have to look for it at times. While I love platforms like instagram and pinterest for inspiration, I strive to create imagery that is authentic to me and my life. Which often means putting down the phone and looking around me to get inspired!
In addition to Kaitlin Holland Creative, you also head up The School of Styling which recently wrapped up in Raleigh, NC. Tell me about the workshop & how you conceived the idea. The School of Styling was something that I dreamt up last fall and took a leap of faith to pursue wholeheartedly at the beginning of 2014. I wanted to create a workshop that not only gave women a community of likeminded friends to support and push them, but provided tons of hands on experience that they could then take back and apply to their jobs and lives. Our mission is to equip and encourage women to create beautiful and meaningful work. It was so important to me while planning our first workshop to get speakers who were extremely diverse in their work. As stylists, we have to have a good grasp on a wide range of skills, even if it’s simply to communicate with our creative teams more effectively. I wanted the women to be challenged and pushed to grow in their business and their work while being spoiled and surprised along the way! It was so amazing to see the diversity and creativity that filled the Merrimon-Wynne house for two days. I’m still so humbled by the experience and the ladies that I met. They are beautiful women who are amazingly gifted and I cannot wait for the next workshop!
You style projects & events of all sorts – editorial, homes, weddings and luncheons to name a few. Once you have a general idea of the direction your client wants to take, what does the creative process look like? It really depends on the client and the project. I’ve had weddings where people want me to come in and simply execute their plans, while I’ve had others that want me to see ideas through from conception to execution. With all of my clients and projects I create mood boards to capture the aesthetic quality, emotion, colors, and feel I’m going for. Site tours are huge for me, as I’m so inspired by what’s around me. A design should never feel forced in a space, which is why I build all my designs off of my venue or location. Again, depending on the client, from there I compose a team of creatives who match my aesthetic and feel. This is huge – you never want to ask someone to do work that isn’t authentic to them or their brand. This is also a fun stage of the process because I get to collaborate with so many talented people. It’s really amazing to see how people can take a simple idea or design and run with it to create something unique and beautiful. I then prep my team on the execution of the project so the day of goes smoothly and everyone knows what they are responsible for. Communication is key in creating a successful shoot or event!
How did you get the word out about your company when you first launched? How have you handled marketing since? I began receiving exposure with my vintage rental company and many people have stuck around to see what I’m doing now! When I started Simply Put Vintage we did anything and everything we could to get seen. This meant tons of free work, lots of styled shoots published, and some advertising in local magazines or on blogs. As I transitioned into styling full time, I already had an amazing supportive community that was ready to back my new venture. I currently do not market my styling services, but social media has been key for my business. It’s a great platform to get your work seen and to build interest in what you do!
What has been the highlight of Kaitlin Holland Creative to date? Oh goodness, this is a hard one! I’m going to be really honest in saying that each and every editorial shoot day is my favorite. Every shoot I have done this year I have had a moment where I stop and say to myself, “I can’t believe this is my job and I get to work with these amazing and sweet people.” I go home exhausted yet filled to the brim with thankfulness for the work I get to do and the people I get to do it with.
What is your dream for the future of your business? My dream would be to continue to style spaces and shoots that inspire people. Meaningful, authentic, and beautiful. I have fallen in love with telling stories visually and I believe that I have been given this platform to share truth with people who are in need of hope. If I can bring a little more beauty, light, and joy to a broken world, I’m going to do it.
What is one pearl of wisdom you would share with someone considering starting their own business? Give yourself the freedom to figure out what you love to do! When we take a leap of faith to start our business there is so much fear involved. Fear that we will fail, that others will think we are silly, or that we won’t know what we are doing. Well, you may fail, other’s may not understand, and you may not know what you’re doing. But guess what? That’s okay. If you had told me even a year ago I would be working for a magazine and running a workshop and have very limited involvement in my vintage rental company I would have thought you were crazy. But it turns out it’s okay to try things on for size because it will teach you a lot about who you are, what you’re good at, and what makes you feel alive.
Guilty pleasure? Date nights with my husband, movie marathons, chai lattes, fresh flowers, and anything pumpkin chocolate chip.
Go-to recipe? 1/3 cup of oatmeal, 1/2 mashed up banana, a scoop of peanut butter, and a sprinkle of chocolate chips. Mix together, put on a baking sheet like cookies, and bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. My healthier version of cookies to satisfy my raging sweet tooth!
Cake or pie? Pie! Chocolate chess, pecan, peach…I’m not picky : )
Song that just never gets old? Give Me The Beat Boys
Best antique shop find? I’m a vintage junkie so I’m always on the hunt for the next best find. Last year I was at a huge antiques show and I found beautiful white and gold china, 12 place settings (lunch plate, bread and butter plate, tea cup and saucer) for $50. A few weeks later I was visiting my grandmother and we were looking through her china and she had the dinner plates! Now we have a full set of gorgeous vintage china for $50 – a huge steal. Can’t beat that!
Photograph 1: Amanda Castle Photography; Photograph 2 thru 5: Emily March Photography; Photograph 6: Buffy Dekmar Photography Photographs 7 & 8: Nancy Ray Photography