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MTM: Katy with Katrinkles

Katrinkles logo and accessories
Photo Credit: Katy Westcott

We are so excited to get a chance to catch up with Katy of Katrinkles! Grab yourself a cup of your favorite something and settle in to get to know her better with us!

1. How long have you been in business? How did you start?

I started Katrinkles as a hobby in 2010. It began as an excuse to hang out at local fiber festivals with my friends. Initially, I rented time on a laser machine at a local maker space to make my products after work. As the business grew, I had less time to work for other people. The Affordable Care Act gave me the opportunity to purchase my own health insurance, which is how I was able to make the leap into focusing on Katrinkles full time. Now I run the business with the help of 8 employees and five laser cutting machines. When I first was able to offer employee health insurance benefits I felt like I had come full circle.

Woman at worktable
Photo Credit: Brittanny Taylor

2. How would you describe your design aesthetic?

My personal design aesthetic is geometric and high contrast. I love triangles and repeating patterns, which you can see reflected a little bit in some of my buttons (prism, line and minnow, for example). But I also love cute, whimsical things. This is the part of my personal aesthetic that has really become Katrinkles.

Knitted sweater with buttons
Photo Credit: Katy Westcott

3. Describe your studio space/work environment?

The Katrinkles studio is in an Italianate textile mill in Providence, that was built between 1860 and 1917. I love our big windows, brick walls, wooden floors and high ceilings. In building out storage and work areas, I've emphasized the industrial feel of this space by using dark pipes and butcher block style table tops. The studio is one big room with a couple of smaller spaces off of it, which has allowed us the versatility to rearrange a few times since we moved in here in 2018. I'm thankful that there's enough space for 9 of us to spread out enough to work here safely and comfortably during the pandemic!
My home studio is in a 10x10 bedroom of my 1920's bungalow, so its style is more utilitarian and is mostly focused on maximizing space.

Knitted sock on blocker
Photo Credit: Katy Westcott

4. Are there any eco-friendly practices built into your business?

This is something that's very important to me. I recently added a sustainability statement and list of action items to my website (included below), and I'm constantly brainstorming ways we can do even better.

“Katrinkles is proud to provide crafters with high quality, durable tools that can be used for a lifetime. We're committed to improving our environment and are constantly brainstorming ways we can do better. These actions are part of a developing and evolving list of ways that we’re working on environmental sustainability:
-Using certified sustainable woods whenever possible.
-Sourcing materials locally whenever possible to reduce carbon emissions from shipping.
-Our button cards and product packages are printed locally on recycled and recyclable paper. Wherever possible, we design packaging to be durable and useful enough for long term storage in addition to protecting the product during shipping.
-Our plastic sleeves are made from PLA, which is plant based and Certified Compostable.
-We recently created the coupon code, NOBUTTONPACKAGING, which offers customers the option to receive their buttons in a small, glassine bag instead with a 10% discount as an incentive.
-Using paper tape instead of plastic tape to seal our shipping boxes and replacing bubble mailers with a recyclable shipping envelope.
-We try to recycle and reuse our waste materials wherever possible. This includes designing our cutting towards getting most of each piece of wood we use. Any interesting shapes that come off of our laser machines that we can’t use for cutting other products are donated to Resources for RI Education. Our burnable wood scraps are distributed to neighbors for home heating and to local restaurants who use wood fires for cooking. Please contact us for more information if you’re interested in cherry scraps or wooden shapes.
-We recently purchased two filtration systems to our studio to limit the fumes we’re releasing into the atmosphere.”

Knitting gauge and yarn
Photo Credit: Katy Westcott

5. What is currently your favorite item(s) that you sell?

The Darning Loom! It was fun to design and I constantly use it to mend (there are nonstop holes in my husband's socks for some reason). I'm currently working on covering a sweater with woven patches.

Darning Loom
Photo Credit: Katy Westcott

6. Where do you get your design inspiration?

I knit, crochet, spin, sew my own clothes, and dabble in all sorts of other crafts, so I'm always thinking of new tools and trinkets as I'm making things (I love a good gadget!). Inspiration is everywhere, and I've always seen and appreciated shapes and patterns in the world around me. In a normal year, I would be travelling a lot: visiting art museums, exploring galleries and antique stores, people watching, and dining out. I'm really looking forward to getting back out in the world.

Scissors with tag
Photo Credit: Katy Westcott

7. What is your favorite mythological creature?

No one has ever asked me this before! I'm not sure if he counts but I'm a big fan of Moby Dick. :)

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