Meet Kate Transue, a 2006 PFEW graduate who is making big waves in the jewelry business, and part time at that! Kate attended PFEW back in 2006, and little did she know that her week would leave an impact which would eventually lead to owning a thriving business. Kate is the full time Children's Services Manager at the Bucks County Free Library and she holds a degree in Fine Arts from Arcadia University. She started her jewelry business, Winifred + Bramble, LLC, five years ago, and this year she logged more than 5,000 sales on Etsy. She lives in Bucks County with her partner Chris and they have two basset hounds and a 16-pound rescue chihuahua. Foundation VP of Educational Relations Michelle Warofka and VP of Marketing & Development Scott Lee recently had the opportunity to chat with Kate about her journey from wide eyed student to entrepreneur.
M&S: What is your best memory from PFEW?
Kate: The feeling of independence for the first time in my life. I was pretty shy and introverted, but I loved meeting people from all over the state and seeing how different they were. I remember feeling for the first time like I had value, that what I said mattered.
M&S: Did you ever see yourself starting or owning a business?
Kate: My dad had an entrepreneurial spirit and I guess that transferred to me. He had a full-time job but had a landscaping business on the side. I originally majored in Education but switched to Fine Arts because it was where my passion was. I always had an idea for a business that brought the arts to everyone, not just the wealthy. I wanted to make people happy with art. I got my start when some people I knew had allergies to their jewelry, so I decided to make them earrings from hypoallergenic metals. They loved them and through word of mouth my jewelry business was off and running. It's the perfect mix of art and business and I love making people happy.
M&S: How did PFEW help you in your business?
Kate: I think the best thing about PFEW for me was the human relationships. Learning how to connect with strangers. My motto has been "If people like you, they will buy from you."
M&S: What are your goals for your business? Do you ever see yourself doing this full time?
Kate: Well, I've had the business for five years now and I had a 200% sales growth in 2020 over last year. My goal was 4,000 sales on Etsy and I reached 5,000, so I'm happy with that. Next year, my goal is to reach 7,500 sales. I love what I do for the library, but who knows what the future will hold?
M&S: How did the pandemic hurt or help your business?
Kate: The push to support small business has really helped. Plus, I think people are looking to find some joy and happiness amid these tough times, and they seem to find a connection with my jewelry. The pandemic has hurt my supply chain though. It's been tough to get semi-precious stones, metals and other raw materials, and the interruption has caused some headaches, but it's getting better.
M&S: What's the best advice you would give young people today?
Kate: Well, it sounds cliché, but if you are passionate about something, pursue it. It may take you some time to monetize your passion, but stick with it because it will pay off in the long run. I've found that people who aren't passionate about their jobs will burn out quicker. It's not always about the money. If you don't like what you do, even though it makes you money, you're not going to be good at it. I'd also recommend going to PFEW. Everyone will take something away from the experience and you never know where it may lead. I got an internship at Disney World because I mentioned PFEW!
M&S: Wow, Kate, thanks for a great interview! We wish you a great holiday and good luck with the business!
Kate: Thanks! I want to mention that I'm always willing to mentor young people, so feel free to contact me.
Kate can be found at: www.facebook.com/winifredandbramble. Thanks, Kate, for sharing your journey with us!