Kathryn Sterner Sieve (Apparel Design ‘11) is Taking her Studio on the Road
Kathryn Sterner Sieve (Apparel Design ‘11) founded Wisome Goods with an emphasis on sustainability, craftsmanship, and connecting people to story behind their clothes. Now she’s taking her studio on the road. With the support of hundreds of Kickstarter backers, she’s transforming an Airstream trailer into the Winsome Mobile Studio to bring her design process and limited-run collections across the continent.
What’s the most challenging part of owning your own business? The most fun?
It’s hard for me to choose one thing. It is ALL the most challenging. Ha! The oscillation between all of the challenges that can arise at any given moment is the most difficult aspect of owning my own business. I have to be on the ball at all times and deal with all sorts of problems that come up on a daily basis.
But honestly, this is also the most fun part. I didn’t feel this way when I was working a corporate job. All of those challenges, everyday, they beat me down. There is something about building this business from the ground up and truly owning its successes and failures that is wildly thrilling and makes me happy. Winsome is all about connecting consumers to materials and makers. Do you think today’s shoppers more interested in where their clothing comes from than they were 20 or even 10 years ago?
A lot of market research suggests people are more interested in feeling like they are a part of a brand than they maybe have been in the past. Consumers—especially young consumers—want to buy from brands and business that represent who they are. Which ends up turning lot of attention to business practices and production ethics.
I hope that most people are concerned with where their clothing comes from. But it is difficult for people to be concerned when they don’t completely understand the industry. I don’t think many people would willing support poor working conditions, but a lot of the same people are also not willing to spend more than $20 on a shirt. I want to help educate people on why they can’t have both.
You’re establishing a model that blends online sales, partnerships, and pop-ups. How does this benefit you and your customers?
It gives us so many different ways to connect. Some people want to follow along, see the studio, and learn everything there is to learn about where their clothing is coming from. Other people just want a great garment. I want to be there for both of those people. There is a wide spectrum for involvement.
Congrats on funding your mobile studio! Do you have your trip mapped out? How can we follow along?
Hey, thanks! While I’m renovating I have been slowly putting together ideas for trips. I’m not able to share any of my travel plans just yet. However, I can tell you that the launch party for the trailer will be at Cliche on June 25th!
After that, my plan is to do three to four trips per year. I’ll target different cities in North America, working with boutiques and bloggers to set up a pop-up shop. I’ll head out a few weeks in advance of that pop-up date to set up shop, buy materials, and create a very limited capsule collection from the trailer. That collection will then only be available at that one pop,up shop. Once it’s over, I’ll pack up and come home to my sunny Northeast, Minneapolis studio while I prepare for the next trip.