We had the good fortune of connecting with Kiera Wilkie and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kiera, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Being a creative at heart, we tend to bear skills in many mediums; this mindset has kept me from starting my own business for the longest time. The crippling expectation that I needed to choose one avenue and the fear that if it changed it would fail, really prohibited me from starting anything at all. Fortunately, that mindset is simply not true, deciding what to do with my business and when to start was the hardest part, but I’m happy to report I’m on the horizon.
In April 2020, my corporate career ended as a textile developer in NYC and my only way forward was to head west with a UHAUL full of hope for this new life chapter. After quickly realizing that no-one in my industry was hiring in a pandemic, I was going to have to take matters into my own hands. I got a full-time job working for a friend of a friend in the government line of work. This opportunity was far from my plans for my career but it paid the bills and supported my new venture into pottery. Little did I know how much I was going to love pottery, I quickly started thinking of how I could make this into a self-sustaining business.
As my skills in pottery developed, I decided to see what the events industry would be like. I went out on a limb and reached out to CLAY Venues to see if they needed any volunteers for the upcoming season. I did not have any prior wedding experience but I was determined to excel in this space, and see their success if given the opportunity. And luckily they did, without my internship and mentorship at CLAY I wouldn’t have found the perfect recipe for my pottery business. CLAY’s relentless support in my vision and ability is what helped mold The Fêted into a reality.
The Fêted is an intimate event design/styling business using artisan-made tableware and decor. When starting The Fêted, I prioritized building my inventory and working with styled shoots to build content for my online presence. The first gig for The Fêted started with stationary and event design. CLAY Venues let me design and style their Grand Opening and I created the invitation suite and menu for the event. It was my introduction into the Colorado Springs wedding and event industry. Though I didn’t create the ceramics and decor for this event, the wheels were turning on how to operate such a business and I had to start somewhere. Though this is only the beginning, I have so many plans in store for The Fêted and I’m excited to have people experience The Fêted the way I’ve imagined.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art is simply inspired by my taste, which is typically reflective of architecture, earth’s color and textures. various cultures and internal/external surrounding that are present to me during a certain period. I would describe my work as raw, modern, and minimal. I consider myself more of an interpreter; I see things I like and interpret them into the vision in my head. What makes me different from other artists is the association with my pieces, I want them to be celebrated in the midst of celebration. I want my work to be unique in its form but at it’s roots, tied to a memory or occassion which makes the piece uniquely special to it’s owner. The Fêted means to be honored or celebrated; I want my work to mean something and be passed through generations and many celebrations.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Nothing beats a Colorado Summer. The days are warm and the evenings are cool – like grab your sweater and sit by the fire kind of cool. As beautiful as Colorado is covered in snow, my favorite time of year is June. It’s not too hot, not too cold, everything is in bloom and the trees are bright green again. You don’t sweat and there are no mosquitos (if you grew up in the south then you know that is a big win). If you like outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, kayaking, river rafting, but also like a little mountain town vibe with local restaurants, breweries and shopping boutiques, then I’d suggest you visit Salida, CO. It’s got the charm of a mountain town without being touristy like Aspen or Breckenridge. Salida is only 2 hours into the mountains from Colorado Springs, just south of Buena Vista, or north of Canyon City.
My husband and I stumbled upon this super cute town looking for a grocery store after camping nearby for 4 days. What a gem we found and now we visit as often as possible. The town itself is quaint and charming. It’s got two “market” streets and a lot of great attractions throughout the entirety of the town center. The buildings are as you would imagine a historic mountain town- turned cute, very charming with vintage character. The Arkansas River runs through Salida so when the fresh snow melt hits the river, you’ll see rafters, kayakers, surfers, fishermen hanging out all along the river-walk. Yep, there’s a river-walk with restaurants, river views and live music on Friday and Saturday night. Adjacent to the river-walk is a a huge park that’s perfect for picnics or people watching. There are a couple micro-breweries, tons of local shops and art galleries to stumble into as well. The lifestyle there is laid-back, everyone is outside doing something fun and adventurous. If you’re looking to get out of the town center, there are plenty of camping options available. Hiking/mountain bike trails take you up the collegiate range and provide a breathtaking view of the Continental Divide. Just a short drive south on HWY 50, you can go white water rafting and a short drive north you’ll reach Monarch Pass. Plenty of spots to cross off your mountain bucket list.
As for places to stay, I love the Amigo Motor Lodge. it’s pet friendly and outstanding accommodation that’s centrally located. My favorite restaurant is this awesome pizza spot called, Amicas Pizza – you really couldn’t go wrong with anything on the menu. My favorite lunch spot is Sweetie’s Sandwich Shop – the best gourmet sandwich especially after a long day in sun. My favorite coffee shop is Howl Mercantile and Coffee where local artists and creators showcase their work and they make a bangin’ good cup of brew. And lastly, my favorite bar that’s opened late and always welcoming is The Fritz. If I haven’t sold you on Salida yet, I’m not sure who could. It really is a gem in the mountains and it’s my husband and I’s favorite weekend getaway.
Ps. If you have to go in the winter that’s cool too, the town is just as lively and Monarch Mountain is only 20 minutes away with great skiing and winter sport activities. Salida really is the complete package!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shoutout for life in general is my husband and girl gang. In every way possible my husband, Tom, never fails to show up for me and the many ideas I have. He sees them as his dream too and makes it his goal to bring them to life with me. He is my constant reminder to keep in balance; to find the right dose of “shoot for the stars” all while being sensible and in reason. I probably wouldn’t have this creative spirit to go into my own business if it weren’t for his trust in me and everlasting support. On the other hand I have a girl-gang that has been with me for many years. These ladies are awe-inspiring, go-getters, and I am most proud of their individualism and like-minded sense of entrepreneurship. They keep me humble and grounded, yet motivated and driven, always entertaining my crazy ideas and showing support in everything I pursue, I’m pretty blessed with this crew of mine.
My final shoutout is someone who I’ve had the pleasure of knowing a few months now, the lovely Becky Nuttall. Not only is she my mentor in the wedding industry but I consider her a dear friend and colleague for life. Her vision for beautiful spaces and incredible eye for photography is just the surface of how talented Becky is and all that she has to offer. As the owner of the new CLAY Venues, in downtown Colorado Springs, mother of 2 babies and a strong support throughout her community, Becky and her family are what I call #goals and has only inspired me to chase after the same. I can’t thank her enough for bringing me on to her team and I look forward to growing and learning with her by my side.
@bschwartz @centurytreeco @jennawrenphotography