Kate Packer is a well travelled #Girlboss that has a penchant for art, inspired by nature and her travels she launched her own brand. Here, she chats to us at House of Coco about her aspirations for the future and so much more…
Tell us a bit about your journey with Biomorphos to getting where you are today?
I was born in a small coastal town on the Côte de Granit Rose in Brittany, France and spent my first years there before moving to Chicago. My early years in France were spent playing on the beach near the emerald waters and pink granite cliffs of Perros-Guirec, or the nearby fields dotted with crimson poppies. My father was an architect, so design has always been in my life since I was a little girl. I’ve always been artistic and creative, and while my career has mostly been in the tech industry I always was painting, making pottery, drawing and designing jewelry in my spare time. Later on I moved to Colorado and took formal education in metalsmithing, and that’s when I began making jewelry more seriously for family and friends. Before I left my tech job a few years ago I decided to start my own business doing something more creative.
Like a lot of artists I take much inspiration from nature and travelling, and love going camping or on road trips around the United States. I wanted a name for my business that related to my love and inspiration from nature that was cathartic to an artistic endeavor and fruition in a tangible form. From day to day, season to season, our environment is always changing, as are we, and so I chose the name Biomorphos for my business, bio indicating life and organisms and morphos from the Greek word ‘morph’ translating to form, shape, beauty, outward appearance.
I didn’t know at the time there was already an art movement called Biomorphism, and didn’t find out until about a year and a half later! However, what I do can certainly fall into that sphere of artistry.
Some of my pieces are very literal inspirations from nature, springing from patterns I see, while others are more of an abstract suggestion, inspired by light dappled from the trees in my garden, the seasonal flowers that bloom, or the graceful sweep of vines growing and entwining around each other.
What has been your highlight since launching the brand?
Attention from major publications has been an amazing highlight, and of course so has been the different kinds of people who enjoy Biomorphos jewelry. I love to hear feedback from customers and fans. I’ll get comments or emails from them about the different things they like about Biomorphos, and what they look forward to seeing next, or we might just have a casual conversation. I find it inspiring and refreshing!
Describe the brand in 3 words?
Glamorous, inspired, stylish
Tell us about your ideal customer?
Anyone who loves high quality, unusual pieces to add to their jewelry collection, who would like to feel effortlessly stylish. When I put on a piece of Biomorphos jewelry, I instantly know I have changed my look; I’ve added a flash of light and brightness that has tied my outfit together. I feel uplifted. I’ve draped myself in something beautiful and inspired. Whether it’s one of our lighter, simpler pieces or heavier, more glamorous pieces, that’s how I’d like people who buy Biomorphos jewelry to feel when they open the tell-tale white box, unwrap their jewelry and put it on.
Tell us what a typical day in your life looks like?
When I wake up in the morning it doesn’t matter what day it is; I meditate for 15-30 minutes. It’s a long habit and it works so well for balance and focus in day-to-day life. Since I work at home, I don’t have to drive anywhere but I do get dressed in something comfortable for work all the same; sometimes I have meetings. In the mornings I log in and see what needs to be done in the realms of customer service, accounting, orders, and any other business-related tasks that have popped up overnight in addition to the day’s agenda. After lunch is when I do design work, metalsmithing and jewelry fabrication, which can last into the evenings if I’m not careful! Every day is different however; when you are running your own business, flexibility is important, as you must deal with anything that pops up as it happens.
Who/what inspires you?
I find nature to be particularly reanimating. Travel is also something I take great inspiration in. There’s nothing like a good road trip or a flight to a much-dreamed of destination to get a different perspective on your business, or where you want to go in life. I also find talking to fellow designers and clients inspiring as well!
You are clearly well travelled, where is your favourite place on the planet?
My absolute favorite place on the planet is Brittany, France. It’s my childhood home, so I have so many fond memories there and it is such a beautiful and inspiring place to live and visit. A close second favorite is Rome, where I truly enjoyed its architecture, history, food, and I found the people there to be warm and friendly.
When creativity is lacking, what do you do to get it back?
Nature and its many forms helped shape the look of Biomorphos jewelry, and if I’m stuck I always turn to nature and chill out for a bit in a lovely green environment or enjoy some time at the beach. I might go for walks along the beach and see what washes up on the shore, listening to the waves breaking on the sand. If I can’t get to the beach I’ll go out into my garden and work on it; there’s always something to do out there and a bit of physical labor can get some ideas flowing again. Even in my tech job I made sure to take a walk every day. It helps to relieve stress if you just get outside away from the computer and mute that smartphone for a bit.
Are there any sources you go for support with running your business?
I do frequent the library for any books that can add to the knowledge I’ve gathered so far. Even if you’ve been in the business world for a while, it’s also good to have a mentor or a group of people you can touch base with for troubleshooting or various issues in your chosen field, and I’ve tapped into that. I also currently run an Etsy shop, and that automatically comes with a lot of enthusiastic people you can talk to about their experiences as well as trade advice, stories and resources. Even with my tech background, ecommerce is a bit new to me, and it’s a bit of a learning curve but there’s so much information in online business blogs big and small.
What are your plans for the brand in the rest of 2016?
I have several photo shoots lined up for the rest of the summer, as well as some publication features later on, which goes in with my goal this year of getting Biomorphos jewelry seen by more people. I have some new designs in the works for later this year, as well as more pieces that are coming out within the next month on the Biomorphos shop on Etsy. I also am in the preliminary stages of designing a brand new collection. On top of all that I’m preparing to expand into wholesale. It’s all a lot of work but I’m very excited about it!
Did you always know that one day you would be a #Girlboss?
No, it was something that came together over a period of time. When it did happen, it was based on different creative interests of mine and different experiences and skills I had gained forming a new career I that would be fun, interesting and exciting. There’s a few entrepreneurs in my family background, so perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised that this is where life ended up!
If there’s one #Girlboss activity you could get better at, what would it be?
There’s always something to be done, so it would be to manage time even better than I do now. We live in a very fast-paced world, where there is also a great deal of distractions coming at us daily. It’s so important to manage time wisely and prioritize as a business owner, however one can.
For people aspiring to run their own company, what advice would you give?
I would say, make sure you realize you will probably be wearing a great many hats in the beginning. I’m a one-woman show, but look at how much I have planned just for this year alone! There’s a great deal of planning that goes into starting a business, or rather it should go into starting a business. Not enough people plan ahead or even have a business plan. Lack of foresight, planning and research can have expensive consequences. Even if money is not an issue for you, this still applies to you. Business plans also are important for getting funding, so if you are thinking of funding your company with investors and loans, you need one, and it needs to be well-researched and clear, both for your sake and the sake of getting funded. Also, whether you are bootstrapping it or getting financial assistance via business loans or investors, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each method of financing open to you… with the understanding that heavy reliance on debt to start a business is one of the big reasons companies go under. Is it worth it to get that loan? Is getting angel investors right for you? Can you drum up enough on a kickstarting project? Or are you better off doing it on your own, keeping your day job and working at your business until you make it? Make sure you can fund day to day operations for at least a year or two to be safe, and have a backup plan or two if things go south, because you can’t depend on being an overnight success. And even if you are, demand for your product or service that outmatches your ability to serve your customers and clients sounds great, but I can assure you it is not; it’s a special kind of nightmare all on its own. Hiccups in the beginning can be very stressful, so be prepared.
Be ready for a lot of work, and make sure you love what you’re doing and that it’s something you really want to do, because it’s going to take a lot of work and perseverance, even if you have made connections in your field already. Just stay positive, get up every day and work hard!