15 Sep Bobbi Brown Pretty Powerful: Katherine-Mary Pichulik
A trained artist, Katherine-Mary Pichulik studied at Michaelis majoring in printmaking. Her destined path revealed another direction however, one that she found via qualifying as a pastry chef and travelling abroad, most significantly to India where the beginnings of her accessory brand took place on a 36 hour train ride. Under her self-titled brand Pichulik, Katherine-Mary creates bold accessories for bolder women, inspired by the intimate relationship women have with their jewellery; precious belongings that speak of their travels, their mothers or grandmothers or the people they have loved.
Since establishing Pichulik in mid-2012, the brand has grown to include collaborations with Missibaba, Laslesso, Stefania Morland, Loin Cloth & Ashes, Alexis Barrell, Taibo Bacar and most recently Kat van Duinen. This year Katherine-Mary was named the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa’s Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year and African Fashion International Accessory Designer of the year.
Do you consider yourself an artist? Please explain…
Yes I do, my incentive behind producing jewelry is creative and very much led from an inspired space.
Is creativity about the process or the final product?
For me the final product is symptomatic of the process. The process is essentially why we choose to be creative – the act of creating. Final product incentive seems to be too industrial. We create and craft not merely manufacture.
Where do you look for daily inspiration? What influences your craft?
Magazines, blogs, the everyday – buildings and the patterns that they create, the colours of the natural environment amongst the built environment. The way people wear things every day and how the use of garments change in different countries. Tribal ornamentation and spiritual /religious ceremonies and the artefacts of these processes with a specific fetish for traditional hand craft.
You’ve grown a successful business in a relatively short space of time, what do you attribute this growth and success to?
Focus on being inspired, cultivating a creative community where you share and collaborate with other creatives. Having an honest and inspiring space in which I work with my team. And essentially with each collection, focusing on telling stories and really enveloping oneself in the creative space of the unknown that takes an idea into manifestation. That daunting place before a collection and the dynamic journey moving into finding the story and the materials to tell that story. Also, the endless gratitude and pride that I feel in working and creating in South Africa and with fellow Africans.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced and triumphs you’ve enjoyed in the process?
Challenges include limitation and inconsistent material suppliers. Postal strikes delaying export. Not pricing properly, or setting up clear agreements in the beginning. Cash flow due to larger businesses 30/60 day NET payment plans.
Truimphs include winning Regional Emerging Business woman of the year and having part of my team at the gala dinner to enjoy the victory. Being flooded with letters of appreciation from women across the world saying how the neckpieces resonate and inspire and move them. We write hand written letters to all our online orders, and some women have been brought to tears by the encouragement. Essentially I feel the triumphs of Pichulik when I see its direct impact on the lives of the women who wear the pieces and those who make them, and how through what we do we can inspire , acknowledge and empower.
What have you learned along the way?
There is no space for ego and taking things personally in the creative process.
Beauty is…living authentically to your innate truth, and stripping away all the affected ways to reveal your innate beauty – just as you are. Kindness and compassion also enhances beauty. No surgery or cosmetics can hide bitterness or cruelty.
Powerful is…acting without force. It’s standing clear and in your truth and emanating from that place of knowing that everyone is valued and treating them in a manner that honours and encourages. Powerful people allow and encourage others to be powerful.
When do you feel most powerful?
When I feel I am acting, speaking and making decisions from my truth – encouraged by a silent and intuitive power. I also feel very powerful when I witness other people experiencing their own value/power in my presence.
Where do you visualise yourself being in the future? // Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Pichulik is an international iconic african brand known for sharing inspiring stories and using jewelry, accessories and lifestyle objects to share these stories. Aggregating women across regions and demographics to tell inspiring stories and using mentoring and skills development in creating communities with agency for empowerment and change.