We are so excited to be connecting with you today! To start, for those in our community that may not be familiar with Kathy Kuo, what would you like to highlight about your business and its offerings?
Kathy Kuo Home is an online retail destination for luxurious and high-quality furniture and decor — we offer furniture for every room of the home in popular styles, like Coastal Beach, French Country, and Modern Classic. We also have a robust menu of Interior Design Services and a dedicated Trade Program to serve our fellow interior design industry pros. In all that we do at KKH we strive to help our clients and customers love where they live!
You’ve made an incredibly successful choice to create a home goods company based off your interior design business, can you talk a little bit about how you came to this decision?
I founded Kathy Kuo Home in 2012 after noticing a hole in the market for upscale home furnishings online. I had worked on the product design side of the home industry for years and after my career path took some unexpected turns during the 2008 recession, I found myself ready to pursue my entrepreneurial instincts and launch KKH in earnest. We launched Interior Design Services and our Trade Program soon after in order to make our business a one-stop destination for our customers’ home needs.
With our Interior Design Services, we want our clients to feel like they’re being guided through the process — our interior designers help clients see their space in a new perspective and work with them on discovering products that they love but may not have considered. As a business owner, marrying the product assortment with the Design Services just made perfect sense.
At KKH, we pride ourselves on being an egoless design firm — we recognize that design can elevate your everyday life and we recognize it’s deeply personal. One thing with all our clients is that we like to bring feelings of being loved, warm, and nurtured into their homes.
Where (or from whom) do you find inspiration?
One of my absolute favorite things to do is connect with fellow entrepreneurs, especially other women and moms. I love sharing insights about shared challenges and successes and I draw immense inspiration from this sense of community. Connecting recently with Susanne and Shelley here at Antica Farmacista is a great example — this is a brand I have personally loved and used regularly for years. Getting to know the team better and hearing from your founders on how they innovate and thrive — that’s incredibly inspiring to me.
I also draw inspiration from my children, from the beauty of the natural world, and from the amazing work that all of our KKH vendors are doing on the product design side.
As business owners who are also moms, we know what a journey it can be to be a mother and entrepreneur. Can you tell us about some of the joys and challenges of balancing both roles?
Being a mom is the biggest joy in my life! I had my first child soon after founding KKH officially and throughout my entrepreneurial journey, I have worked hard to design a business that allowed me to be both the best CEO I can be and the best mother I can be — it hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been such a gift to be able to shape my company through the lens of motherhood.
I try to intentionally schedule time that is just for my kids — so work time is work time, and mom time is mom time. I love being a role model for my children and showing them the value of hard work and pursuing your professional dreams. It’s also a joy to watch them develop their own passions and interests as they grow. The challenges of course are that with parenting and owning a business, unexpected and time-sensitive obstacles come up all the time and you have to make choices about shifting the balance in the moment. I could certainly use another couple hours in the day!
Pictured: Kathy Kuo, image courtesy of Kathy Kuo Home.
Designing a home is such an intimate process, how do you like to showcase your client’s personality in their space? How do you come to that decision/what is the process?
Making sure that our clients see their personalities represented in any interior design we work with them on is always a top priority. Our Interior Designers always start the design process by getting to know our clients and learning about how they want their spaces to look, feel, and function. We ask about the whole family and how each member will use the space, we ask about what kinds of memories they want to make in the space, and we ask about what is going to make them feel happy and relaxed.
For those looking to design their own space, what are your top tips for curating an intentional setting?
My No. 1 tip would be to invest in anchor pieces — your sofa, for example — that are high-quality and designed to stand the test of time. It is so worth it to spend a little more up front on a piece you’ll love for years to come. Once you have your larger pieces in place, you’ll find that it’s super easy to make your space sing with thoughtfully-chosen decorative accents. Decorative pillows, throw blankets, coffee table books, and, of course, beautiful home fragrance accessories are all going to be the finishing flourishes that tie a room together.
What are your personal favorite home products at the moment?
I am obsessed with my sage green velvet Madeline Sofa! It’s actually one of our best-sellers and was featured in a beautiful project in “Country Living” last year. It’s a piece that I’ve had in my own home for years and it brings me so much joy to know that our customers love it too. In terms of small decor pieces, I love my Simon Pearce brass singing bowl and my collection of MATCH Pewter dinnerware.
Fragrance is such an important part of curating your space, can you talk to us about how you like to tie in scent with your design work?
Home fragrance is such a personal and intimate thing — the scents you have in your home are going to be tied to memories for years to come. I always encourage our customers and clients to bring scented candles or oil diffusers into their home. I think it makes such a difference to consider candles and diffusers that come in really beautiful and thoughtfully designed vessels — in addition to the fragrance you also get a really special visual element. I’ve made no secret that I’m obsessed with every single Orange Blossom piece from Antica Farmacista. I love the look as much as the scent.
Outside of work, what are some of your passions in life?
I love spending time with my children, traveling, cooking, playing the piano, and connecting with and mentoring fellow entrepreneurs!
What are you most excited about with Kathy Kuo Home looking forward to 2023?
We are very excited about being able to showcase more and more of our Interior Design Projects this year and about continuing to grow and curate our assortment and build community through the power of home!