Like most of us, Kel Cadet wears many hats. From running her own blog and accessories company, to designing products for a large market hair accessories company, to being a mom and a wife, she is one busy woman with such a lovely perspective on life. We are inspired! And, we are thrilled Kel joins us today as our FACE of Atlanta!
Where did you grow up and what brought you to Atlanta?
I am originally from Nyack, New York. When I was 8 or so, my family and I moved to Atlanta to be closer to relatives.
You attended art school at SCAD. Did you always know you wanted to be a creative artist?
Yes! I literally fell into it. Around the age of 9, I had a freak trip-and-fall accident that landed me in the hospital for a few weeks. To cure the boredom, my mother’s co-worker bought me a Barbie fashion design lap desk. I learned to “design” from the templates they provided and eventually began to freehand and create my own designs (for Barbie). From that point forward, it was a given that I had to be a creative.
You seem to do so much! Share with us a little about your daily work day?
Aside from being a wife and mother of a very busy-bodied 5 year old girl, I am a designer morning to morning.
By day, I am a fashion designer for a major mass market hair accessories company here in Atlanta. I am in charge of trend forecasting and designing collections of hair elastics, headbands, bobby pins, and barrettes for women and girls.
By night (and usually into the early morning hours) I am designing and filling orders for (r-ki-tekt), my fashion accessories line. This is where I get to purge my personality and really have creative freedom to make things as colorful and happy as I want. It involves sessions full of shine and bright pops of color and music to fuel the fire!
The weekends are usually dedicated to my family and tinkering with new ideas to add to my shop.
The title of your blog is Addicted To Discovery. What are a few discoveries that make your eyes light up with excitement?
I began blogging 4 years ago without intent, only to journal my thoughts and post beautiful pictures. But as it has evolved, I found it more important to gain clarity and really unearth things that were meaningful to me and hopefully my readers. My favorite discoveries are always quotes. They are quick to resonate and inspire, especially when you are having a creative block. I also love discovering new artists and designers and learning about their creative process. A great beauty trick doesn’t hurt either.
One of your jobs is fashion designer for (r-ki-tekt). What are your favorite accessories to imagine?
I try not to confine the brand into a specific box, but allow it to breathe and extend where it naturally wants to go. At the moment I am really enjoying the expansion of my jewelry offering. I love experimenting with color and creating these stories that control the entire mood of the outfit you pair it with. My new TasselTails are perfect examples. They come in bold hues and these fun geometric shapes and have a flirty and fun tassels that run down the center of the back. They always catch people off guard in a good way! Every piece that I design must have an air of fun associated with it.
If you weren’t designing accessories for a living, what would you secretly like to do?
I would love to be in a Broadway musical! Sometimes when I’m vacuuming, I think I am actually in one, until my husband sneakily walks in and catches me doing pirouettes with the Bissell.
What is the one accessory you own that you couldn’t bear to part with?
I wear my mother’s gold pearl-shaped earrings everyday. I occasionally switch them, but they are a mainstay. I love my large scarves too. I am always chilly, so having a brightly patterned cover up is always essential.
When and where do you feel the most creative?
I have to occasionally force myself offline, and given that the majority of my work is done on the computer it is great to refresh the senses outdoors. I love when I have an off day to roam around the city on foot. Going to East Atlanta and getting lost with my camera and stumbling upon hidden murals or graffiti or a random trinket shop is my way of rebooting and rediscovering my ideals about beauty and art. Time away from the screen challenges or confirms what I have considered alluring in past instances.
What is your favorite spot in Atlanta for thrifting and antiquing?
I prefer shopping at a Goodwill before the mall. But Kudzu Antiques has my heart. I have been taking trips there since I was a little girl. It has gotten busier in recent years, but there are still tons of great finds to go around.
Where do you go in Atlanta for inspiration?
Lately, I have been attending more blogger-friendly events. Meeting new people around the city whom you typically see on-screen is always fun and exciting. They speak your indigenous language (Twitter and Instagram) and understand why you just took 10 photos of the same store fixture or cupcake tower. You feed off of one another’s learnings and passion for creating a hub for what is important to you. Whether it is DIY or art or beauty and fashion, I am instantly inspired by them all. It’s like a whole new family!
What is your favorite restaurant in Atlanta?
My taste buds have an on-going love affair with Highland Bakery in Old Fourth Ward. Out of all the restaurants I visit, this place is a magical constant. You know exactly what vibe you are going to get when you walk in. It’s just so comfortable and alive with chatter. My favorite meal to order is the Shrimp and Grits and it is hands down the best in Atlanta.
If you could take a dream trip to gather inspiration where would you go?
I have been fortunate enough to travel and visit great markets in Europe and Asia, so my dream trip would have to be an around-the-world market hop in Arles and Paris, France, Bangkok, Thailand, Morocco and India. The latter two I have yet to visit, but they are on the top of my list.
What is your favorite way to “turn off” and relax?
This usually consists of thick socks, a large throw, sweats that are not husband-approved and a glass of wine. Balling up on the sofa to do some catching up on movies or guilty pleasure television always helps me decompress and distract me from any stresses of the day.
What can be found on your bedside table?
Tons of journals that I can grab to sketch out designs or in case I wake up from an inspiring or crazy dream. I also have a few bottles of nail polish, my women’s Bible and a brass clog that holds a few pens and lip balm nearby.
Name three things you can’t live without (besides God, Family and Friends):
- My company, (r-ki-tekt). Even though its work and still young, it is my outlet, my happy place where I can go to release little bits of me! I’m very proud of it’s growth and can’t wait to see where it go next!
- My record player: I’m somewhat of a purist and think certain artists and albums don’t need to be remastered and cleaned up for digital play. We don’t have a digital music system in the house. Just the vinyls and a record player I found in front of someone’s house, set to be trashed. A lucky find.
- Color: Without it, life would be stale and without passion and mood change. I can totally appreciate minimalism that has been mastered, but color evokes so much before you even say a word. That shows it’s significance and power.
Thanks so much, Kel. To follow Kel’s blog click here and to check out her accessories line on Etsy, click here.
And many thanks to our fabulous FACES photographer, Amy Lesesne.