Katherine-Mary Pichulik, or Kat as she’d introduce herself, is the founder, designer and maker behind Pichulik, the bold accessories line for bolder women. Inspired by her travels, artist friends, fellow wonderful women, and the gutsy and down-right courageous stuff in each of us; Pichulik pieces are hand-made from rope and collected materials – anything from shell to semi-precious stones.
Founded in mid-2012, Kat’s brand has grown in leaps in just over a year having been featured in local and international publications and adorning catwalk models in collaborative fashion week shows with local labels Laslesso, Stefania Morland and Loin Cloth & Ashes. A recent shoot for the Sunday Times Fashion Weekly had Kat creating bespoke pieces for three spring make-up looks created by senior MAC makeup artist Michelle-Lee Collins and photographed by Justin Dingwall. Her most recent project was to create individual pieces for the international fashion media elite – the likes of Anna Dello Russo, Tavi Gevinson, Bryanboy and Susie Bubble – for the launch of African fashion e-commerce site KISUA.
Who better to wrap up our 2013 Creative Women series?
With a background in fine art and cooking you’ve taken an unconventional path to becoming an accessories designer. How has this benefitted you?
I’m not bound by formal restraints in material or composition and have less expectations for what jewelry should be.
After spending time learning in these different and seemingly unrelated fields, how did you know this was the one to pursue?
I don’t feel I will necessarily end here, there are many more fields to explore. Right now I’m having fun making ornamentation.
What are the challenges of being an independent business owner?
Exploring new frontiers and taking risks can be lonely without a business partner. You have to exercise many limbs, but practice builds confidence.
What are the daily triumphs?
From the mundane: completing to-do lists, making deliveries on time, keeping my studio clean, finding a parking close to the studio, building trusting relationships with buyers to the creative triumphs of resolving a shape, a form, or an idea that you can translate into a wearable piece.
What are the values of your business?
Brave women making bold jewelry for other brave women. Handcrafted, integrity of materials, locally made, hard work met with kindness, genuine care and interest in the wearer.
Who do you work with?
Sarah is my assistant and is a co-ordinational whizz with dry wit. Melissa is a tall, gentle beauty from Zimbabwe with a great colour palette who designs with me, and Elita who has recently joined us – she is a feisty Malawian woman who has really added a lot of humour to our team.
Who do you surround yourself with and how does this influence you?
Artists, creatives and people who are ever expanding with new ideas and inspirations. Also people with a wicked sense of humour.
Who do you have in mind while designing?
Woman I have met that I have found inspiring. The way they choose to live their lives and the creative spaces they hold in their communities and lives.
Do you have the ideas first and then source materials or do you let the colours, textures and materials inspire you?
Both. Often a feeling for an environment or a scene is the inspiration. I am romantic by nature, cinematically so.
When does inspiration strike?
It strikes in shapes at times when I stop thinking.
What do you enjoy about making something with your hands?
It feels honest.
What is part of your job that people wouldn’t expect is?
The intimacy with the women who buy them – the stories they share and how fashion is more than aesthetics but an intimate relationship between a woman and how she sees herself in the world.
What are you good at?
Assisting people with finding and exploring their value.
What advice would you give a younger woman about life, art and business?
Trust yourself and your artistic choices. Value your vision and unique articulation of beauty. Work hard. Be kind always, but set boundaries and terms of business up front. Arrogance and superiority is not exciting nor interesting – inspired and engaging is visionary. Practice silence and gratitude.
Who are your female heroes?
Miuccia Prada. Paloma Picasso.
What can we look forward to in your upcoming range?
New textures and silhouettes – a vulnerable yet powerful woman. Authenticity with a laid back charm.