Branding and Web Design Business Owner: Kaitlin Fontenot
Today we get to introduce you to a great female business owner - Kait Fontenot! She started her own branding and web design business in 2015. Kait has created a business that helps retailers and lifestyle brands look good, but also works for her family. You'll love her career path story!
Name: Kaitlin Fontenot (better known as Kait)
Business Name: Kait Design Studio
Year Started: 2015
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Website + Instagram + Pinterest
Tell us about your business.
Kait Design Studio is a full-service Branding & Web Design Studio. We primarily work with retailers and lifestyle brands crafting their branding, website designs, and collateral. I began our studio as a way to have a creative outlet after becoming a mom for the first time, and it just sort of exploded. It has seriously become something I look forward to every day!
THE EARLY DAYS
Describe your childhood in one word. Fun!
Describe your childhood personality in one word. Tomboy
When you were a little girl what career did you dream of having “when you grow up”?
I dreamed of working at an editorial such as Vogue or Elle. The fast-paced environment is something I’ve always loved and the creative hands-on mentality has always been right up my alley.
What was your first job?
I was a waitress at a seafood restaurant at age 15! It was totally not my personality but it was a lot of fun because everyone was so sweet and the job was super easy.
Where did you attend college? What’s your degree?
I attended Louisiana Tech University (go dawgs!) and majored in Marketing!
What was your first job out of college?
My first internship was with ChicGalleria as a PR intern. I managed their staff and wrote articles, reviews, and interviews of celebs. We majorly worked with Hearst Corporation magazines. My first actual paid gig was with a clothing boutique in Louisiana. I went from the Assistant Manager to the Store Manager and into Social Media, Retail Marketing, and even Assistant Buyer. I truly loved my job!
THE ENTREPRENEURIAL YEARS
What year did you decide to start your own business? 2015
Why did you decide you wanted to start your own business?
I felt I had hit my ceiling with my degree. As a female, its difficult to find a career in the south (especially in marketing) that affords you the opportunity you feel ya deserve. With the amount of knowledge I had garnered in retail, I knew I would quickly be overlooked by the men of the marketing industry. Unfortunately, breaking into a marketing and PR firm at a comfortable level is no easy task. Being married to a pilot, I wanted the opportunity to travel with my husband, be home with my son & attend his school functions, while still being able to provide for my family.
What three lessons have you learned running your own business?
- Own your skill and be confident
- Not everyone will have your back or respect your opinions
- Charge your worth always
What’s next for your business? Top 3 goals.
- I’d love to hire a larger staff and open a physical studio where I can have more one-on-one creative directing sessions with my local clients.
- I’d love to be more hands-on with my clients branded photography sessions.
- I'd love to host local events to discuss marketing, retail, graphic design, and so much more.
What’s your strongest skill set that’s helped you succeed?
I believe having extensive knowledge of different aspects of retail helps me have more of an edge when working with my clients. Since I primarily work with retailers, its great to be able to discuss their merchandise buying options & manufacturing, floor plans, merchandising & layouts that flow with their online presence, their product designs, marketing both online and in-store, events and promotions, and even staffing. I like that I can offer some insight to those who need someone to bounce ideas off of.
On this journey, who have been your three most supportive people?
My husband hands-down has been there for me since day one. My parents are always insanely supportive of everything I do. Also, I have a group of ladies who are in the same field as me that are just incredibly supportive. We’ve coined ourselves The Creative Clique! We met in a Facebook group and they have just been amazing to have by my side.
THE BUMPS IN THE ROAD
Have you had any hardships or setbacks in your business or personal life?
Absolutely! When my son was five months old, I was diagnosed with Post Partum Depression. It really showed me how quickly things can change and how strong I could be. I took a stance in my relationship with Christ, started cleaning negative friends & bad habits out of my life, got my butt in the gym, and really just forced myself to see all things positive. I’m actually grateful for the experience because it changed my entire perspective on life and relationships.
ALL ABOUT YOU
Did you always dream of owning your own business or was it a surprise on your career path?
Such a surprise!
What are your hobbies outside of work?
The gym, anything outdoors, just generally being with my husband and son and our families.
Tell us about your family.
I was raised in a small town in north Louisiana called Downsville with my mom and dad, two brothers, and one sister. I’m the baby of all four and I’m incredibly close to my brothers! One of my brothers is an Army Veteran and the other is a Police Officer. My parents have been happily married for over thirty years - my mother is a Registered Nurse in the Medical Surgery Unit and my dad has been a Mechanic since he was seventeen years old. They’re all incredibly hard-working and have always inspired me to go farther and do more. I'm super close to my in-laws and our 14 nieces and nephews - they make my life so full any chance I get to spend with them.
Describe your career path to-date in one word?
North American Hunters for Heroes - my dad is the president for the Louisiana chapter. They take disabled veterans on hunting and fishing trips.
Age you’d like to retire at?
No preference - I could truthfully design forever.
Travel location on your bucket list?
Anywhere in France! I’d also love to go to Australia and even Germany. My great grandparents came from Germany and I would love to learn their story.
Introvert or Extrovert?
Extrovert to the max. I'm usually the one who will say hi to strangers and start a conversation with just about anyone.
Night owl or early bird?
Early bird always. I wake up at 4am most days to get a head start on my work day!
Favorite business tool.
Dubsado & Planoly all the way!
Three female entrepreneurs you admire:
Heather Marsh Fitness
Promise Tangeman of GoLiveHQ
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