By Kristen Marano
Kelsie White is changing the stationery game with her cheeky sayings and fresh designs. Her cards challenge the need for an occasion to send a sweet note with lines like ‘You’re my favourite blanket stealer,’ and her sleekly-designed paper pads encourage people to make to-do lists they’ll actually fulfil.
White’s childhood enthusiasm for stationery kick-started her paper goods business K Gets Organised in 2014; she has since created a collection of more than 100 products that fuse black and white sleek typography and cheerful watercolour designs such as popsicles and doughnuts.
At only 23 years old, White is a creative woman on the move who is constantly connecting and creating. White designs and packages in her bright sunny studio in the hip neighbourhood of Northbridge, Perth, sells her paper goods at local market stalls, and keeps learning as she completes her graphic design degree.
White is also the event host of the Perth chapter of Creative Women’s Circle, and she will launch the second event of the year this week. We recently chatted about how she got her start in stationery, her creative process, and where she plans to take her business next:
What attracted you to paper goods?
I'm what I affectionately call a stationery addict. I also love a good card stock, a hardbound notebook with the perfect paper inside, and writing out my to-do list every day. There is nothing better than sending and receiving a hand-written note from someone. The nostalgia and old world charm of stationery and hand writing, from getting your pen license to writing your wedding vows, really brought me to stationery; it has made creating and designing for special, heartfelt moments so beautiful.
Take me through your creative process.
I usually draw from a real life experience. My favourite yellow water-colour card reads, 'You're just so bloomin' lovely', and I made it with my beautiful girlfriends in mind. I was studying and working as a florist at the time and loved giving them little left over flowers from my shifts. That’s how I created the card.
A lot of my illustration work also comes from people around me. I recently drew some lovely popsicles for a local business called Delish Ice. I love the owner Katie and I’m so happy to have her as a friend; it was so much fun to draw happy little popsicles while thinking about her passion, drive, and kindness.
I also love to draw from current trends; my latest planners feature doughnuts, indoor plants, and popsicles.
Sketches, and water-colour designs mark White’s studio walls as inspiration and new works in progress.
What puts you in the mood to create?
A great cup of coffee, a beautiful cafe, and Wi-Fi. With all of these things, the world is my oyster.
You're successfully running your own business at such a young age. Who has influenced and inspired your journey as a small business owner?
I really wanted to be my own boss and push myself to try something new. I had never studied business or run a business before.
I've been studying art and making art since I was very young, and I wanted to get back into creating while I was at university; I started making planners to help motivate me to complete my assignments. From there I launched a tiny collection of five planners and now have more than 100 products under my belt. This was not an easy journey, but it is by far the thing I’m most proud of doing in my life.
My role models include Anna Rifle Bond from Rifle Paper Co., who I was lucky enough to meet in London last year at a stationery conference (they exist!), and Sass Cocker from Ask Alice in Melbourne. They both really inspired me to go out there and create beautiful paper goods.
What can we expect from K Gets Organised in the coming months?
A really big and exciting change that will launch around February 2016.
In December, White will depart for a creative getaway through Europe and the United States. To follow her journey and get regular behind-the-scenes posts, check out her Instagram.
Kristen Marano is a digital nomad living in Perth, Australia. Kristen interviews women in business. She contributes to Huffington Post Canada, and produces a weekly newsletter, Creative Women Weekly, featuring stories of creative women from around the world. Follow Kristen on Twitter @kmarano.