Today we’d like to introduce you to Kait Clarke.
Kait, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My journey to starting my own branding business was long… but rooted in a deep love for authentic storytelling & community. I grew up in a small town along the New Jersey Shore and always loved being a part of a close-knit community. I’ve had a deep passion for storytelling for as long as I can remember and naturally have been much more of a creative, “right brain” type of person. In high school, I thought I wanted to be a writer, but then I found a passion for journalism after working on my high school newspaper. I pursued a degree in journalism & photography at Ithaca College, but never truly felt settled in that path. After spending enough time laying out newspapers, magazines & ads, I realized that I was more in love with crafting beautiful design structure than writing AP style. Something started to click when I realized that most of my stories, often visual ones, focused on small businesses with great intentions, that somehow, no one in the community seemed to be talking about. I knew I wanted to change that someday, I just wasn’t quite sure how back then.
Having never been one for a convention, I decided to move on a whim to Nashville, TN – a city I’d never visited before – to start my career post-grad. It was there I found my love my passion for powerful branding as it fueled their small business boom. After working an array of different marketing jobs there, I began to realize that my “perfect position”- one where I could use all of these skills-turned-passions every day- simply didn’t exist. Right about the same time, I started to find that what I truly loved was helping businesses find their soul through powerful & meaningful storytelling. And, well, the rest is in the making… fast-forward to today, and you’ll find me here at Kait Clarke Creative. Having recently planted my roots in St. Petersburg, Florida, I’m ecstatic to be a part of a community of vibrant small businesses and entrepreneurs. Most importantly, I’m thrilled to be doing what sets my soul on fire every day.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Oh goodness, it’s certainly not been a smooth road! Personally, my biggest struggle was figuring out how to turn all of my passions into a career. I’m a “jane of all trades” in the sense that I’m a graphic designer, photographer, web designer, and marketing expert- so finding a position out there that fit all of those into one box really didn’t exist.
I think the first few years post-grad for any young woman will be difficult. Aside from the obvious struggles, like getting a job and paying student loan debt, there’s a lot of fear & doubt that you face when “reality” hits… especially when it seems like others have it all together. But the truth is that no one has it all together- everyone is struggling to morph their dreams into a reality. The only way you’ll learn what you want to do and how to do it is to just do – say yes to opportunity and learn by trial and error. However, know when to stand up for yourself & say “no” when something isn’t a good fit- no job is worth your peace. Above all, don’t be afraid to ask your worth and always, ALWAYS have a contract!
My biggest piece of advice is to remember that everything in life has a season. If you’re going through a rough patch, remember that it will pass. This mindset is really how I’ve overcome a lot of self-doubts & learned to “lean in” when things get difficult. Have faith in your journey and most importantly, yourself.
Please tell us about Kait Clarke Creative.
My business, Kait Clarke Creative, is a full-service creative studio that specializes in crafting intentional brands with a holistic approach. I work with entrepreneurs & small businesses to refine their brand story and create a visual brand through impactful visuals and thoughtful design. I’m a big believer in the power of authentic branding- it’s the key to success for small businesses as people identify with storytelling more so than any other form of marketing.
My signature process, The Brand Studio Experience, really dives deep into the roots of business and uses equal parts strategy & art to craft a visual brand. No matter if I’m working with a business on Brand Photography or an entirely new Brand Identity, this process allows me to create a brand aligned with its authentic narrative so that it continues to grow & serve its mission. A major component of my business that sets me apart is my passion for working with businesses that are committed to making a positive impact on communities- whether that be in a local, national or global sense. I believe we all have the power to prompt action & change in our world, and it starts on the community level. My mission is to give businesses a brand that will empower them to inspire, motivate & uplift people and communities.
Do you think there are structural or other barriers impeding the emergence of more female leaders?
In a general sense, there are many challenges for women in the workplace and I believe this starts early on in their careers. We’ve all seen the studies on how men are more likely to ask for their worth and will apply for jobs they don’t meet all the requirements for. It’s no secret that entry-level jobs have unrealistic expectations for recent grads, so it should be no surprise that many women fall behind early on by not applying for the same jobs men often will- even if they’re more qualified than their counterpart.
I’m very fortunate to be a part of an industry that is both driven & lead by women, but ultimately I believe that stemmed from the agency culture and not feeling heard in the workplace. There were many women before me who paved the way for creatives like myself to make a go of it alone and start their own studios. While you lose the traditional benefits when you start your own business- like health care, job security, maternity leave- you are trading it for greater freedom. Clearly, women in my industry saw that the traditional workplace structure wasn’t working for them and did something about it. I think as a society we’ll continue to see this transition into other career avenues and redefine what success looks like.
Women are innately more creative, and traditionally the ‘caregiver’ if/when the time comes to start a family. By starting our own businesses, it allows us to not have to pick a career over family and enables the work-life balance we choose. We are also afforded creative freedom without overseeing, male-dominated leadership. In my experience, these figures will often not take to non-traditional ideas from women, which can ultimately stunt our professional goals. Men and women think differently by nature, so if the traditional workplace is to survive, we need to restructure it to allow equal opportunities in leadership so all voices are heard. With those changes, I believe we’ll begin to close the gender wage gap & see more importance placed on the work-life balance.
- Website: www.kaitclarkecreative.com
- Phone: 609.709.9496
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @kaitclarkecreative
- Facebook: @kaitclarkecreative
Main image (landscape) & images on the beach are by Christina Jones Photography