Meet Kerri Curtis, Field Marketing Manager for Madewell, working remotely in Austin (hello, dream job). Creativity runs in her veins. She is a stylist, artist, and most importantly (and what I admire most) is a connector. You’ve most likely attended an event at Madewell featuring a local artist. Kerri is the mastermind behind those collaborations. We sat down with Kerri at her home in Austin to dish about her journey to Madewell, career tips on getting noticed by the big brands, and her approach to designing her home. Photos by Paige Newton
Tell us a bit about your morning routine.
Honestly, my morning routine is pretty short and sweet— I stay up late and get up pretty early, so brewing coffee is priority and then checking work emails—if time, I do indulge in my quick easy goodies like The Skimm, Bloglovin’ and IG feeds–my fave morning time apps right now are Astrology Zone, and Headspace—meditation is tough for me (can you say that out loud?) but I am trying. Other things that may happen on a good early morning—quick walk around the block and/or handstands…so into them! They get the circulation going, clear the head and help with upper body strength. (disclaimer: do not show off handstanding abilities at parties.)
How, when and where do you find time for personal wellness?
Usually in the evenings –I go to Town Lake quite a bit to run, walk and listen to music. It’s been my refuge and helped hold my sanity in check! I’ve worked a lot of stuff out there. I also like classes at the Y, and purchasing expensive juices that I should make myself. Wellness for me also involves connecting with my friends and family and seeing music and art or learning something new. I need to tap into some type of positive and creativity energy on a regular basis. I will usually pack in as much as I can—generally flying from one gathering or event to the next –my FOMO is alive and well, so general wellness is always something I am aspiring to do better for my little chaotic self/mind/body.
You are on the Marketing team for Madewell. What was the journey like to get there?
In 2007, I was teaching art and working as a stylist for Austin Monthly at the time. I also had other small, fun summer gigs –I think I had 4 jobs that year. One was working at my friend Jane’s beautiful boutique downtown on 2nd Street. I would only work once a month and it so happened on the one day I was working, a lovely woman came in and talked to me about needing an outfit for a party. At that time, thanks to my styling gigs, I was in and out of every boutique and mall in town pretty frequently so I basically all but drew her a map of where to go in Austin when we started talking about shopping. She then told me she was a recruiter for a new store/brand called Madewell. Having no idea about it, I was hesitant and had no intention of making such a big life change-but after the a couple of interviews and realizing the potential for this new brand, I ended up quitting teaching after 10 years. I really loved coordinating events and working with people. It came pretty natural to me and when I believe in something – typically, I will be sure to tell you all about it.
Describe your current day to day responsibilities.
I’m remote in Austin and it means , my day to day involves juggling a lot of calls and emails and then adding some travel in those weeks in between. I love being involved in the always ongoing initiatives, brainstorming concepts and sourcing ideas—everything from food to designers—and what best works into the current concept or vision—it is really exciting.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
I love the aesthetic, creative marketing and the brand’s social consciousness— and I love love the people, the denim and the clothes.
Many of our readers are on the brink of starting a business or pursing dreams of working for a favorite lifestyle brand, like Madewell. Any advice on how to get noticed by these big brands?
I think having a clear vision, message and aesthetic is really going to cut through when it comes to a new brand—so much is happening on social media and with technology and there’s so much influx of new information. Knowing your market and making personal and meaningful connections with your business is pretty key as word of mouth is such a powerful tool that helps to build a business. I am consistently perusing social channels, sites and articles for brands and people that I think are doing great things, as well as attending events and meeting people –you just never know what opportunity or next big idea will come your way. It’s important to stay active in thinking about and assessing how people relate, engage and interpret your business and responding to the intel and feedback as a result.
Every home has a story. Tell us yours.
I often hear friends and family tell me (out of the blue) that they love staying there and always feel comfortable on visits— that there is a good energy. That means a lot to me as it a funky 60’s house with a lot of ongoing updates needed. It’s a great gathering place—nice and open with two decks on the back…I also love my neighborhood –just on my block alone, I have a jewelry designer, SXSW Film Producer and taco book author, a beer-maker, film set designer, and an aura portrait photographer. It’s so Austin and I’ve loved getting to know them. This house is also known for a few great new year’s parties. I think the story here is: gather your good people!
What was your approach when designing your home?
I often visualize how friends and family will hang out in the space. I like a mix of modern and found pieces—often my friends will tell me “Your home is so YOU.” I like that it reflects my personality and I try to have unique “moments” throughout the space. It’s important for me to exist in a creative and positive space and vibe as much as possible –so I am also working on attaining that in my little old fixer-upper. So art, plants, books, music and things like essential oils or palo santo are ever present in my house (plus, I hear it’s a Libra thing).
What do you love most about your home?
I actually like little things in each room, but still have work to do on all! In general, I love the open floor plan, bedroom light and funky 60’s details.
Describe your personal style.
I love the 70’s throwback influences and putting unexpected things together. I wear denim every. damn. day. I generally think I have a laid back style (many thanks to years of Madewell) but it can also be pretty specifically put together. I had a friend tell me once that she had never seen someone spend so much time looking like they just got out of bed-in a cool way. Ha. I think my art and styling background really do come into play when I think about my style and what I put together. I always tend to see things in terms of composition—in my clothes and my home—the formal elements of color, texture, shape, value and balance or asymmetry are usually bouncing around in my head when I place things together.
What pieces do you wear on repeat?
Denim/chambray/vintage belts/bandanas/graphic tees/ leather jackets. (Essentially Peter Fonda from Easy Rider is my muse.)
What’s next for Kerri Curtis?
I would love to get my art going again and really commit to a body of work. I also have dabbled at guitar lessons again (played when I was little and currently remember 3 cords) and I am really want to continue to travel and work on the house—and build on its story of “gather your good people!”