When I first moved to Los Angeles 2 years ago, I knew next to no one. My husband and I had relocated from San Francisco for his job, and aside from a few coworkers who had also moved south, we felt pretty isolated. My first week here, I got a message from jewelry designer Katie Dean, inviting me to coffee. I would learn that this is 100% Katie Dean — she’s welcoming, effervescent, and a total #girlboss. Her dainty jewelry is the preferred line of LA’s it-girls, but she’s not intimidating in the least.
Katie told me she was going to start hosting a series of events to connect women in our industry. Whether it’s influencers, small-business owners, editors, designers, or photographers, she wanted to build up the community of creative women in Southern California. Her first event was on Melrose Place and one for the books, and she’s hosted many more over the last two years. I tell many people, if it weren’t for Katie, I wouldn’t have met a soul for months.
When she started spending more time in Oakland, we laughed at the fact that we’d sort of switched places. We hatched an idea to host one of her famous luncheons, giving Katie the opportunity to grow her NorCal network and me the opportunity to see my old friends.
Katie quickly got to work, and on a foggy August morning, her #bossbabesbrunch made its Bay Area debut! Katie partnered with the dynamic duo behind Harlow & Grey (founded by creative cousins Jeanne Chan and Gloria Wong Tritasavit) to help with the tablescape. Erin Fong and Taylor Reid, the letterpress artists behind Western Editions, helped with the invites, name cards, and event included a cute TGIF print for the gift bags. Sweetgreen and Sift Dessert Bar made sure there was plenty to eat, while Tank Garage Winery provided wine which made for lively conversations and plenty of cute Instagrams. Needless to say, it was a pretty magical day.
We wanted to share more of Katie’s story, so we sat down with her to explain her inspiration:
Hi Katie! Why did you decide to start hosting these events?
I started hosting events with the focus of bringing women creatives together about two years ago and here goes my longwinded answer on why! The women in my life have always been a huge help to me, whether that’s my mom, grandma, past employers, friends, random women that I meet at events, etc. It’s made a huge difference in my life and in my business. Not only am I super appreciative of the generosity I’ve received but I love the feeling of paying it back and helping others. Besides designing jewelry I have a passion for how I can give back and have a bigger impact. For me I do this by helping others who in turn help create a better world.
Since owning your own business is a FULL time job (shout out to all the other entrepreneurs out there!) I started to brainstorm ways that I could incorporate my jewelry events as a place for my guests to bond. I wanted to create somewhat of a sisterhood so that when they leave, they feel that they’ve met some amazing new friends that they can call when they’re in need of help or when they want to do an awesome collab or just need to brainstorm and bounce ideas off of someone they trust.
Every event that I put on is a little different but I keep one thing the same. After we’ve all had some yummy eats and we’re sitting at the table, I stand up and announce that we’re all going to individually stand up and tell everyone who they are, what they do and answer a certain question that has been posed for the event. The question is somewhat personal and allows for each person to open up a bit more than what a normal social setting would permit. This really allows for each person go beyond the Instagram surface and have humanity for everyone that’s there. That’s what creates a community and that’s what I love!
What has been the greatest benefit in bringing together so many women?
I think I have to refer back to the end of my last answer. Creating that community has been the biggest benefit. I may not have had a chance to meet some of these ladies if I had not started hosting these events and it has changed my life! Little things that go along with this like, knowing that I’m not alone in the struggles of being a small business or hearing how everyone takes a break and how unplugging really does make them stronger creatively and mentally. It keeps me motivated knowing that we’re all in this together to make the world a better place no matter what art form or what job we’re doing.