Office Style: Meet Kelly

It’s fair to say that this designing powerhouse is the beachiest of our babes, both literally and figuratively…

What did you want to be growing up?

An illustrator for Disney. I grew up watching these hand-drawn classics, and dreamed of sketching for Disney animation one day. The documentary ‘Waking Sleeping Beauty’ is amazing — so proud of the artists that fought for their craft. It was really inspiring and also a ‘whoa’ moment for these people who really shaped my childhood haha.

Your first job – what/ where?

Hostess and “take out” person for a local pizza place in high school. In this industry, Free People! 😊

Your current position at Free People….

Assistant Design Director for FP Beach and WTF (We the Free) Novelty knits.

How did you land at FP?

My aunt is a 5th grade teacher in South Jersey, and one fall, a new student was showing off a beautiful new Free People sweater given to her by HER aunt, who was a head designer at FP. My aunt also happened to be using that girl’s mom for daycare, who happened to be “the designer’s” sister-in-law. So I decided it wouldn’t hurt (since I had previously applied, but didn’t hear anything) to put together a little folder containing bits of my work, and pass it along in hopes of getting it to this designer. I made the folder very hand-touched, and rushed to include some newer sketches and mock-ups that felt more branded than my school work. I tried to keep low expectations, to not get my hopes up…but two days later I received an email from said designer , who said she liked my stuff and was going to ask talent to bring me in!! WHAAAT! And the rest is history 😊…oh, and that designer is now one of our Creative Directors!! She was even my first interview!

What drew you to it?

FP is so hand-touched and creative! I love that most of our work is still done by hands instead of computers!

Proudest work moment:

I should probably say designing the Bicoastal Romper last year, because it was bonkers! Haha … But really, it was the first time I fully stood on my own to present the newest Beach line. My boss and mentor at the time had left the company right before we were set to design our biggest double delivery. It was the first time the entire presentation from sketch to actual realization was fully my own — and the meeting went great!!

What advice would you give someone who’d like to be in your role one day?

Passion will take you places! I genuinely love what I do! The meetings, calendar, and day-to-day stress can sometimes get to you, but keep that excitement for design and all the minor details that go into it! Sometimes I get pumped about a fabric before I even know what silhouette I’m going to turn it into. And always have fun! You can’t force creativity, so if you aren’t in that mindset, focus on another aspect you can finish that day (cause there’s always something to be done), and go back to it later.

Favorite part of working at Free People:

This has to be the same answer almost every time, but it’s so true — T h e  P e o p l e !!

Your anthem / theme song?

Currently, “California Girls” by The Beach Boys.

What’s currently in your shopping cart? 
Get Away Set

Malibu Surf Set

Blanca Maxi Dress

Sezanne Jumpsuit

Talk All Night Cashmere Sweater

Bardot Sweater

Golden Hour Fleece Dolmain Jacket

Apple Cider Vinegar Gummi

Wearing the Red Wing Mocc Boot

+ Love Office Style? Meet more of the Home Office employees here!

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Love Kelly’s outfit! Cute!

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

Jackie armstrong
3 years ago

Omg she’s adorable and your clothes are totallllly awesome.

3 years ago

yes, a great reminder that life is about who you know. Glad to hear your connections got you such a cool job.

3 years ago
Reply to  Kirsten

Thanks for your comment, Kirsten. It’s true, sometimes connections get you places. But sometimes, we can forge our way through our own drive and hard work. Keep forging your path the best way you know how. XO