Designer, Teacher, Speaker and Environmental Advocate.
In 2017, I could barely walk, and exactly one year later and a lot of training, I was able to run my first 5K. Now I participate in many running events across the city! When I’m not running, I’m at home reading my favourite books (Outlander), and feeding the local homeless kittens.
I’ve spent most of my Interior Design career in the corporate sector. Pumping out drawings that meant nothing to me, offered very little creativity flow, and lots of paperwork. I burnt out so quickly.
Sometimes you need that experience to truly appreciate the creative flexibility I have now.
In the times I’ve spent working for others, I was still so restricted. My ideas were either denied or not appreciated by the lead designer, and I did not always align with the client.
Ok… so I was not meant to work for others. When Jenn and I started this business, I was allowed to be myself, and finally take on projects that I was excited to dream about.
Every morning inspired new and fresh ideas for the projects I was working on.
While I knew what I wanted out of the business, it took a lot of money and mistakes to figure out how to operate our business so it would thrive.
We worked hard to create a sustainable business, and determine how to serve our clients with the lowest carbon footprint possible.
I find passion in what I do, and with every client I serve. I love the new innovative environmental products becoming available every day, and the local businesses we get to connect with to create healthy and beautiful pieces.
Photographer, Marketer, Designer and overall Jill-of-all-trades.
Somehow everyone seems to think I have my $hit together (I don’t, but I am a workaholic).
I’m obsessed with music (metal and classical are my go-to’s!), cats, internet memes (seems like those two go hand-in-hand TBH) and a lot of Netflix.
I flunked out of University and learned that I didn’t need that to be my own boss…
It’s not easy, and it’s not for everyone. It also makes it a challenge if you don’t have a supportive family or spouse! Thankfully, our family is filled with artists and budding experts in their own rights – so no wonder why…
entrepreneurship seemed like such a natural fit!
But while the drive was there, the resources were not. In trying to maintain our business, I’ve worked 3 jobs at once (including working over-nights at a grocery store, and being an Uber driver).
I pushed myself too hard to keep up with all my friends, and eventually I burnt out to the point where my marriage failed, I slept all day, and almost completely gave up on our business… and ultimately, our dream.
We were on the brink of something epic… this global impact we wanted to create. Through all the pain and depression I felt at this time… I suddenly felt what I felt when we started this together: “I’m all in.”
So I left my past behind me, and moved to the other side of Canada – where our business could start a new chapter… and so could I.
Katherine was taking a break in life after her father passed and needed to find her greater purpose. Jennifer was working a government job she hated and became very sick from the toxins in the building.
With meetings happening in Jennifer’s compact basement apartment, Katherine felt inspired one day, “Hey Jenn, I think I’m ready to do this again.” After finding her previous Interior Design business fell apart because she had a hard time doing everything by herself – she realized her daughter was the perfect person to handle all the things she couldn’t.
It took them years to fully understand who they wanted to serve. They are now unapologetic about saying no to people who do not resonate with them fully.
"If you want me to pick samples of laminate counter tops and MDF cabinets - I'm not the designer for you." - Katherine Somerville
The business has changed a lot since those days. With Jennifer in Victoria BC, and Katherine still in Ottawa, they are still taking on clients, of course, and working towards serving a greater purpose.
Continuing to create healthy homes and a healthy planet, Kat and Jenn are also sharing their years of mistakes and lessons to other designers who are interested in pursuing a greener path.
With Katherine having been a single mom, and raising two kids… she struggled through her kids young lives to provide them a happy life. From this stemmed a passion for giving back to the community with that theme in mind. Their foundation: “The 4 Walls Project” will be about creating self-sustainable green housing for the youth and struggling single parents. Their Karma Designers Community will learn more about this as they launch the project, where a portion of designers’ membership fees will go towards contributing to putting a roof over someone’s head. Want to learn more about it? Stay tuned!
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We want to share with you our 10 secrets to having a successful design business, without it costing an arm and a leg or having to “know it all”! Learn from our mistakes!
WHO ARE THESE LADIES, ANYWAY? Katherine and Jennifer are a mother-daughter design team from Ottawa, Ontario. A business built 6 years ago from their own environmental and physical illness, these ladies have worked hard over the years to create healthier homes for their clients. The mission: sourcing sustainable, good quality products and reducing their carbon footprint. With this came a craving of other designers wanting to learn more about having an eco-conscious brand…”The Karma Designers”!