Blog chat time!
This particular Blog Chat is near and dear to my heart. Owner, Ali (Kinsey) Keith, is one of my friends from college. Lemme tell you, there is nothing like seeing your friends pursin’ and crushin’ their dreams. Ali is a rockstar in all that she does. Everything she touches turns to gold and she’s one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. As you read through this Blog Chat – a little lengthier than normal, but TOTALLY worth the read – you’ll see, too, that Ali really is one of the greatest gals out there!
So, without further ado, I’m beyond thrilled to introduce you to Ali Keith, Owner of Kinsey Designs.
What are some of your fave things?
New found obsession: TruFru chocolate covered raspberries, they are unreal.
I like almost all genres of music, except a few my husband has introduced me to. I love indie folk, Chill Hits playlist on Spotify, 90’s grunge (lol), T-Swift and Post Malone, just to name a few.
I listen to TV while I work, and I work an average of 8-12 hours a day so I’ve seen almost every TV show you could think of. I consider my favorites based on which ones I would rewatch/listen to: Parenthood, One Tree Hill and Desperate Housewives. I love GOT, but not sure I could put myself through the emotional turmoil again.
What is something you always carry in your purse?
I rarely carry a purse, but I stretch my HOBO wallet to its full capacity. It always has lipgloss (Kylie Cosmetics more than likely), business cards and I’ve started trying to carry cash. I feel like no one carries cash anymore, and I’m always finding myself needing it. Side Note: I always carry less than $40. So, if you’re reading this I’m not a good mugging target. (Noted, Ali. HA.)
What fad or trend do you wish would come back?
Do you remember the chopsticks that used to go in your hair? Gosh, I think the last time I wore those was in 4th grade, but those things were killer. I would rock those again, without a doubt.
(I think you should add hair accessories to your jewelry line, Ali! You could totally bring them back!)
Who is your hero?
My mom is the first person that comes to mind. Maybe that’s because I find myself doing or saying things that she does and I want that to be intentional. For real, she was always the one that pushed me to keep going after my business dreams and encouraged me to take risks and do the things that scared the mess out of me. “Nothing worth having is ever easy,” she’d remind me. She’s great. She’s pushy, but great.
Do you have any pets?
The two dogs I grew up with are still kicking and living with my parents, Boudreaux and Dixie. No pets for me at the moment. My husband and I travel a lot and we would hate to leave them by themselves all the time.
How do you relax after a long hard day of work?
I grab a pint of Chocolate Cookie Dough Halo Top and ask my husband to rub my feet while we watch our favorite show, whatever it is at the time. It’s the simple life, but I love it.
When you launched your business could you ever imagine you’d be where you are now?
Heck no and also yes. I started this in college just wanting to make some extra money to go out to dinner with my friends. Of course, I always had glimpses of celebrities wearing my jewelry and loved the idea of people knowing the name Kinsey Designs but I could never fathom the road to getting there. My first “big break” was when an out-of-state retailer saw my designs in one of my hometown boutiques and contacted me about an order. It was then that I thought, Hmmm… this could really be something. After that, I made it my goal to be in 100 stores in three years. Mind you, I was a sophomore in college at this point so I was giving myself a two-year cushion because school was my main priority. It’s my fourth year and I’m in over 150 stores. I could go on and on, I love what I do so much.
(I told you she’s a rockstar and everything she does turns to gold!)
Anything else you’d like to share?
I constantly go through what my husband likes to call “slumps.” (My husband, Jared, is my best friend and major confidant.) A couple months ago I was designing and preparing my new collection, and I was coming up with these kind of off-the-wall and non-mainstream pieces. Don’t get me wrong, I like to keep it trending, but there’s gotta be some me in there that still shines through the line. So, I had some crazy pieces, right? Once the collection was done, I was looking at it as a whole and thinking, some of these things are so crazy and edgy, these are going to flop. I was so upset. Like, I wanted to start over upset. I was talking to Jared about what I was going through and he said, “Ali, you will have no idea unless you put it out there.” I know that is so simple, but it resonated with me so hard and gave me so much confidence in the pieces that I had been so worried about. I’m specifically talking about the Ritz Rise, Roma and Roma Lariat. So, I ended up putting these pieces out, and the Roma Lariat has been my best online seller! I guess what I’m trying to get across is that you should always do what scares you. Do what’s different because that’s what’s going to make people stop and pay attention.
(Supportive spouses are the best!!)
So, how did you get into building your own jewelry line?
My grandmother owned an antique jewelry store, so I was introduced to jewelry at a young age. Learning about the stones, watching my grandma help her customers find the perfect jewels to fit their style. I was so young, probably years 2-10 and she would babysit me at her shop while my mom worked. I remember playing in her cushion trays, rearranging the rings by color or size, and getting to watch people try on pieces and seeing their faces light up. When I went to college, I didn’t want a job, I just needed a side hustle. At this point in the fashion world, agate necklaces were the thing to wear. Well, I grew up in Hot Springs, AR. The Natural State, if you will, where rock shops are not in short supply. So, I went and scavenged the shops for slices of agate and made necklaces out of them. I cold called on local Arkansas boutiques and sold my handmade pieces. Once I realized this line of work had potential, I started searching for wholesale suppliers and going outside of the state to sell my line. It’s crazy to think back on how much I drove, and how late I would stay up filling orders before an 8 am class I had the next day, but it was all so worth it.
What advice do you want to pass along to brides and grooms?
Your wedding day goes by so fast, oh my goodness, so fast. I was at a wedding recently, where the pastor stopped the ceremony and told the couple to look around at all of the people that had come to support them. I loved that – I wish we would have done it. Oh, and have a list of family photos you want and make sure your family knows where to be for pictures. Getting your cousins, aunts, dogs, cats and uncles to cooperate for photos is hella stressful if they don’t know where to be. You don’t need that on your day.
What is one of your favorite wedding jewelry combinations?
Do you make custom pieces for brides and their bridal party?
I do!! you can view my wedding customs in my highlights on Instagram. I also offer discounts for bridesmaids orders. (Custom orders do require two weeks notice and a deposit.)
So, I know that you’re ready to contact Ali for all your jewelry needs! Here’s how you can get in contact…
NOTE: Ali will be at Holiday House in November if you want to stop by and say hi AND you’ll be seeing her and her hubby in a styled shoot they helped me with very soon!
All Images Courtesy of Kinsey Designs