Dorian Kitsch is a talented young jewelry maker who started her own company, CoutuKitsch (pronounced as ‘couture’ without the ‘r’ and ‘kitsch’ as in the first part of ‘kitchen’). This self-taught designer has been busy at work creating a signature style of accessories that incorporate vintage pieces, precious metals and a beautiful variety of colours and textures. Graduating from Olds College with a certificate in Fashion Marketing and a Diploma in Fashion Design, Dorian wasn’t satisfied with the 9 to 5 schedule that she landed after school. When she showcased her work at Market Collective several years ago, she knew that her dream of being a designer and her own boss could become a reality with a little work…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I create jewelry using vintage supplies, precious metals, and beautiful gemstones.
Why did you start your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I got bored at my 9 to 5 day job and needed a gateway to express my creative side, so I began creating jewelry and my friends and family would constantly ask to borrow or even purchase the jewelry I was making. So I thought, why not see if other people like it? I opened my online Etsy shop within that month and after a few months I participated in a handmade jewelry show called Market Collective in Calgary. After that first show I realized that my jewelry business really had potential if I put the work in. I have always been a creative person and I dreamed of being a designer, of being my own boss. I never thought it would be jewelry design, but I really couldn’t be happier with how everything worked out.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part is seeing my ideas come to fruition and to see people embrace and appreciate my work. I love to see people wear my jewelry and receiving emails from happy customers always makes my day. The most challenging part of my job is keeping up with demand, which is not a bad thing!
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
Many days I find myself working from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed. It’s really difficult to stop and take a break because there is always something to work on. I’m not able to hang out with friends as often as I would like. I often feel like I don’t have time for myself, but I’m working on that.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I would like to have been featured in some of the top fashion magazines and be recognized as a jewelry brand that is different from the rest. I would like my jewelry to be popular among influential people, like bloggers and celebrities. I would like to have my line available in more boutiques across Canada and even worldwide. By then I would like to have a team to help with all aspects of the business.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
My business grew really fast and it was challenging because I didn’t really know how to run a business. I’ve learned so much in these last three years just by asking the right people for advice. One major challenge for me was that I can’t hold back or be shy anymore. I’ve learned that if you want the answers you have to go straight to the source and ask for what you need.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
I don’t believe money equals happiness, but it does make life a little easier. I believe it is important to live your life in a way that makes you happy. Do things that you are passionate about, and if money happens to come from it then that’s just a bonus. The objective should never be money because you could end up getting into a career for the wrong reasons.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
The biggest milestone in my career was when I was able to focus on my jewelry full-time. I got laid off and at first I was upset, but by the time I got home I had a big smile on my face and I was truly happy. It was a blessing in disguise because I was able to dedicate all of my time and energy to my business.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Take risks, and know that there will be ups and downs on the road to success. It’s important to move past rejection and not let it bring you down. It’s not always about what happened or what went wrong, but more about how you deal with the situation.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
I have to say my favourite spot is Blue Star Diner in Bridgeland – good food, good wine, good atmosphere, plus they use a lot of locally sourced ingredients. Love to support local. I also love Tango Bistro on Macleod Trail. I’m addicted to the chicken egg rolls; you’ve got to try them!
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I love to read magazines and fashion blogs, keep up with social media… oh, and watch Keeping up with the Kardashians (my guilty pleasure!). I also love going to the gym to relieve some stress and refresh my mind.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
Holland is my favourite place to visit (so far); I am part Dutch and have family there, so it’s always a fun trip. I love the laid-back lifestyle and everything just feels so cozy. I’m actually heading there this summer!
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
‘My Way’ by Frank Sinatra! I think that song is suitable for many entrepreneurs.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I would probably be working a similar job to what I previously had – working at a retail head office.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
We have supported Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, Ronald McDonald House, Cops for Cancer, and Movember to name a few. CoutuKitsch gets asked to support a lot of different charities and we try to help in any way we can. The one that holds a special place for me is the Ride to Conquer Cancer. I have participated in the ride twice and also help friends with fundraising efforts. This is a devastating disease that has affected most people in one way or another and the only path to a cure is continued research and support.
What to you is notable?
As challenging as it is, I love being my own boss.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
Android, I love my Samsung.
#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)