More About Kathy Kuo
What led you to start Kathy Kuo Home?
I’ve been drawn to interiors for as long as I can remember. When I was a child my family moved around a lot; my father was a diplomat, so we were frequently re-locating between Asia and the Americas. I loved creating new homes everywhere we went and integrating new meaningful objects from my travels. This instilled both an appreciation for good design and a love for unique, high-quality products at a young age. This passion led me to the Rhode Island School of Design, where I majored in Industrial Design, and later into the television industry with appearances on home renovation shows like Rowhouse Showdown & Knock First. After that, I worked designing and developing furniture and textiles for a luxury importer.
I spent a few years in the interiors space - working for brands like Bed, Bath & Beyond and Interlude. The experiences, insights and understanding of product design, manufacturing and global distribution later became the building blocks of Kathy Kuo Home. When the online boutique started to grow larger than I could manage with another job, I took the jump and went all-in launching Kathy Kuo Home in 2012.
Describe your design style in three words.
Classically-inspired, layered-luxe, elegant.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Learn which items to delegate and which to keep close to yourself. There’s a lot to do when building a brand or leading a design firm, so try to outsource and delegate when you can on the routine tasks. That being said, never delegate hiring. Try to interview every single person on your team until you no longer have the time to. The single most important thing you can do is personally find good people to support your mission.
How do you balance motherhood and running a business?
As with raising children or building your own brand, it really does take a village! I attribute so much of what I’ve been able to accomplish, personally and professionally, to having a fantastic team around me. At work, I have an incredible team of very smart creatives that I trust implicitly. Because of them, I am able to delegate when needed, and focus on the priorities to keep everything running smoothly. At home, I have a full time nanny. She’s been my lifeline for the last 9 years and anticipates all my needs- sometimes before I do. I couldn’t raise two kids and have a career without her - she’s truly part of my family and I am very lucky to have her.
Describe a time that you failed. What did you learn from the experience?
Failure is such a fatal word since it implies it’s a binary outcome. I can say that I’m not great at a lot of things, and some projects have had unexpected outcomes, but as cheesy as this may sound, everything happens for a reason. My belief is that it’s your job to find what the reason is, learn and understand from it.
What automatically makes a room better?
In other words, what are non-negotiables when designing a new space?
Investing in one or two timeless pieces that will ground a room is a must! Staple items like a sofa, area rug, accent chairs or media cabinet will likely be with you for a long time, so it is important they are durable and something you love. Even if it is a splurge - you will thank yourself in the long run if you budget for them up front.
If you could purchase three things on the Tuckernuck website, what would they be?
Porcelain Maxime Dress, Natural Surfside Carryall; Cognac Leather Alibi Sandals - perfect for a summer beach day!
Italy. I’m heading to the coastal town of Sabaudia
(1.5 hours south of Rome) in just a few weeks and am so excited!
Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty
Snatum Kaur - Ardas Bhaee is simply the most beautiful song.
Favorite meal, dessert or cocktail?
Spicy Scallop Roll at Sushi Seki + Saki any day.