Name: Kenda Kistenmacher
Twitter or Instagram Handle: @kendakistjewelry
Location: Cary, NC
Occupation: Founder, Kenda Kist Jewelry
Secretly Obsessed With: Karaoke
On My Nightstand: Make Trouble, A Path with Heart, I Know This Much is True
Last Thing You Read: Kitchen Confidential
How did you get started on your career path?
I had been a maker of jewelry in one form of media since the age of 14. After graduating from college with a BA and a concentration in metal design, I realized I had a product people wanted and the passion to build a brand.
What key elements played into your success?
Knowing my strengths, using them to the fullest. Most importantly giving tasks to the proper people to do the things I don't do well.
What struggles did you face getting to this point?
I think my biggest struggle was getting over the hump to have the confidence in myself and realizing that no one was going to do anything exactly like me and that I did have the skills to build a brand.
Who was the biggest influence in your professional life?
My Mom and my husband. It's too hard to choose. My mother has been my biggest cheerleader, a woman who told me I could do whatever I wanted and believed that studying jewelry design was my destiny. My husband, whom I met in art school has been with me and helped me along the way to build the brand and is now full time with Kenda Kist Jewelry.
When do you feel most successful?
I love doing pop up's in my hometown. These women have been buying my jewelry for almost 20 years. They have been my #1 fans since day one.
What’s the best piece of advice you received?
One of my very first clients recommended I change my logo color for my hang tags from pink to something neutral. I choose Silver foil and it's been key for my brand building.
What advice would you give to women looking to enter your industry/space?
Never undersell your art. Realize your worth in your work and know if you are wanting to sell wholesale price your pieces accordingly and don't undercut the middle man. Small business is the heartbeat of your community.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Building my brand. It's taken me almost 20 years to get to where I am. I do everything very methodically but when I finally gained that confidence in myself and my art 5 years ago, I never looked back.