A true trailblazer, Beth Kuttner has created her own path in life and her career. This powerhouse business woman and mother-of-two is the founder of craft fair Homespun, director of development for local non-profit African Women Rising and has a new venture in off-road vans in the works.
I first met Beth in July when DIANI Living participated in Homespun. I was excited for the opportunity to get to know her more as we sat down for my fifth Pillow Talk series. Beth really has a firm sense of self and it’s clear that her interests really dictate where her energy goes. I admire how grounded she is and am so excited that you’ll get to know her too. We chatted about a little bit of everything, from inspiring female brand builders and stepping into nature to recharge, to her life’s greatest accomplishment.
When you were in school, what was your favorite subject and what did you want to “grow up” to be?
Art. I wanted to be a painter.
You have your hand in a few different projects, what contributed to you becoming the business woman that you are today?
I took a different path after high school and didn’t attend college. I moved to Paris at 18 and started modeling. My first day in Paris I shot the cover of Elle magazine which was a huge deal, but I, of course, was clueless. I worked in the business for many years and the experience of traveling the world and doing it alone shaped my life.
What is the inspiration behind Homespun?
Homespun began as a backdrop for my husband’s furniture design business. His workshop was a 5,000-square-foot glass greenhouse on the Gaviota Coast. I wanted to create a marketplace to showcase my husband’s work and curate a collection of handmade goods.
The first show in 2015 brought the community together and I was shocked by the tremendous response. Santa Barbara hadn’t seen anything like Homespun and I certainly had no idea it would grow into what it is today.
Explain your role as Director of Development for African Women Rising.
As director of development I raise awareness for what we do for women in post conflict Africa. We work in Northern Uganda and have programs in micro-finance, regenerative agriculture, adult literacy, and girls education. AWR is a grassroots nonprofit and has done so much to change the lives of women. I’m honored to be a part of the AWR team. Go to our website: africanwomenrising.org to learn more.
Which female entrepreneurs do you admire?
That’s a question I could answer for days. The first two that come to mind are my friends, Micheline Pitt and Lori Stern. Micheline is a clothing designer in Los Angeles. Her 1940’s inspired line, Vixen, empowers women of every shape and size from XS-4X. Lori is a chef who I have watched blossom over the past couple of years. She uses nature as her palette and her creations are visual masterpieces. I’m so proud of them both. They have built brands on their own terms with grace, kindness, and tenacity.
What do you think is the single most important ingredient to success?
Never give up.
How do you try to manage your work/life balance?
A small example is unplugging midday to take a walk on the beach. Technology shouldn’t rule one’s life. Stepping into nature is a terrific way to balance. I also love to host intimate backyard dinner parties. Nothing better than cooking all day and feasting with friends.
What do you see yourself doing next to express yourself professionally?
Living the van life @iglhautallradusa (shameless plug). My husband and I are the U.S. distributors for Iglhaut, the world’s most capable on and off road van. I am looking forward to this journey on the road meeting overlanders and selling our product.
How do you manage the fear and doubt that inevitably creeps in when you’re paving a less trodden path?
At this stage in my life, I do not let fear drive anything I do.
Was there any opportunity that you had in your life that you didn’t take?
Can’t think of one.
What is something you’ve accomplished personally or professionally that you never dreamed possible for yourself?
My greatest accomplishment is raising two daughters and homeschooling them both until 8th grade. It will forever be my greatest achievement and nothing can even come close.
What’s the biggest gift you give yourself to recharge?
Gardening. I’m sometimes in my garden from sunup to sundown.
What’s the first thing you do after you wake up?
Stretch and let the cat in.
What’s the last thing you do before bed?
I check in with my children and give my husband a kiss.
How do you make your bedroom a sacred space?
I keep it uncluttered, dimly lit, and dog free.
For more information on Homespun, email Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about the Santa Barbara non-profit African Women Rising, visit africanwomenrising.org
Follow along on Beth’s latest venture with Iglhaut on her instagram: @iglhautallradusa
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