Kate Arends’ eye for design and instinct for connection helped her build an audience of more than 3.3 million for Wit & Delight, her blog turned social media platform. How to leverage that devoted following and capitalize on the opportunities that come with being a lifestyle brand continues to a work in progress. Today, Wit & Delight operates its own rentable studio space in Minneapolis, creates products, content, and consults with major brands including Nike, Amazon, Fossil, and Sleep Number.
But Wit & Deight didn’t start with a business plan. It started as a creative outlet for Arends, and it grew organically for five years before Target came calling and offered her a limited edition design collaboration she couldn’t refuse. “It wasn’t until the opportunity became so apparent that I thought, if I don’t seize this, I’m going to regret it.”
Even now, with a team of six and national sponsorships, Arends is constantly reevaluating her influence and opportunities. She’s thinking about how to scale a business that is so closely tied to her personal story. She talks about creating boundaries between her private life and public persona, and how to move past being identified as a blogger or influencer. “If there’s anything I’ve learned from running my own business, it’s that there’s a lot that comes from knowing when to say no.”
After our conversation with Arends, we go back to the classroom with the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business. Katherina Pattit, associate professor of ethics and business law, reflects on the role of the influencer among consumers today.
“We used to go to Consumer Reports and friends to find out what to buy. Now we have people on social media, where boundaries are starting to blur. We need to recalibrate what types of things are important to us in our own judgement.”
Editor-in-Chief of TCB
Wit & Delight founder and creative director