BABE #278: KIRSTEN PINCKET - Co-Founder + Partner, Dearest Creative
Kirsten is a co-founder and partner at Dearest Creative, a Brooklyn-based creative studio helping brands tell mindful stories. As a graphic designer and art director, Kirsten dabbles in all the creative tasks her studio requires, from concept development, video and art direction to content creation and beyond. Kirsten and her partner tackle each project with intention, thoroughness and a keen eye. We loved chatting about her long-time love for art, entrepreneurial journey (including the learning curve it’s brought) and sage advice on going with the flow and trusting our gut.
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
Current city: New York, New York
Alma mater: Florida State University
Degree: BFA, Graphic Design
Very first job: Ice Cream Scooper, Cold Stone Creamery
Hustle: Co-Founder + Partner, Dearest Creative
Babe you admire and why?
Babe(s) for me: my two sisters, Meaghan and Ashley. We’re all two years apart, respectively (I’m the middle child), and although we couldn’t be more different, we have managed to have an extremely close and special relationship throughout our lives. To keep it short – they’re both just kind, hilarious, driven and manage to see beauty in life’s little things. Two inspiring ladies I’m lucky to call my sisters.
How do you spend your free time?
Traveling (when I can), drawing, reading, listening to podcasts, hanging with friends, exploring different parts of the city, museums, etc.
Go-to coffee order and/or adult beverage?
Cappuccino with almond milk and either red wine or a jalapeño margarita.
What would you eat for your very last meal?
Mozzarella sticks, my mom’s filet mignon (medium-rare) and an endless fountain of Nebbiolo.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
My best friend Juno. She lives in London and I miss her dearly.
What’s something most don’t know about you?
I went to school with the intention of being an archaeologist.
Tell us about your hustle.
My partner (shout out to the incredible Kori Dyer) and I launched Dearest Creative in an effort to collaborate with like-minded individuals and brands we believe in. After years of working with large-scale corporate brands, we wanted to shift our focus to small-to-medium brands whose ethos we feel aligned with. We focus on branding and art direction with a driving passion to tell mindful stories and support women globally. As trained graphic designers and art directors, we both concept, ideate, design, produce and touch every piece of creative for every single one of our projects. As it’s just the two of us, we also handle the business-side—from accounting and legal to proposals or pitches and day-to-day admin, we have learned (with quite the curve) that there’s much more to owning a business than just the fun, creative elements we are both so passionate about. That being said, it’s been extremely rewarding to not only spend the day doing what you love, but also doing the things you don’t love so much (Excel, ugh). In past jobs, I’ve felt stagnant, as if there’s no opportunity to learn and grow. With the range of roles I have in Dearest, that sentiment is not a blip on the radar.
What does your typical workday look like?
It’s tough to say what’s typical, as every day is so different. It always starts with a walk to my studio in Bushwick. At Dearest, we start each morning with setting and sharing our intentions; I really love how this sets the tone for what’s to come in the day and keeps us all communicating and supportive of one another. Throughout each day, I’m a creative, art director, designer, strategic conceptor, client relations manager, project manager, producer, accountant and writer. It can be challenging to juggle all of the “hats,” so I try to structure my day where I focus on one thing at a time as opposed to tackling everything, head-on, at once.
Have you always had a creative spirit?
Definitely. From a young age, I was always drawing, painting, putting on plays and performances and getting my hands dirty wherever I could. I think this stems from the environment I was raised in. My parents were always encouraging my sisters and I to play, create, explore and pursue whatever gave us joy, which I’m extremely grateful for. I started college as a fine arts major, focusing heavily on drawing. My program at Florida State University was a really cool place to evolve as a creative. We had access to all kinds of classes, no matter what your focus was at the time. I took a multimedia collage course and it was love at first sight. I learned about graphic design shortly after and was interested in the ability to combine tangible, fine art with digital elements.
What kinds of clients and projects do you take on? What do you look for in collaborations?
When you boil it down, we really listen to our gut feeling when it comes to taking on new projects and clients. It’s important to us that we feel aligned with the initiative or brand, whether it has a positive impact on the world or an innovative, unique approach, we just want to collaborate with kind people who are excited about bringing their vision to life.
What’s your approach to running and growing a successful business?
Keep an open mind, embrace the many learning experiences and maintain perspective. When everything is new and exciting it can also be weird and uncomfortable. It’s all about balance, so try to submit to the flow as much as you can. Something I always go back to (and I learned the hard way) is to hire support in the areas that aren’t your strengths. You can’t be the best at everything, or even handle everything, especially when it comes to starting a business. Even if there’s something you can do but can afford not to do, find someone who can do it better and let them support you. This leaves you the time and energy to really kill the thing you’re good at. Everyone wins! With a cofounder, the most important thing is to keep an open line of communication, always. Don’t be afraid to disagree with each other, embrace your differences and support one another. Having different viewpoints and approaches will make the business, and ultimately your relationship, stronger. At the end of the day, this wild adventure is new, challenging, bizarre, amazing, intense and a zillion other things. Having a partner in crime just makes it all the more fun and incredibly special.
How have your past professional experiences prepared you for the work you do today?
The first thing that comes to mind is accountability; making sure you don’t overextend yourself, managing your time properly, setting timelines and hitting deadlines. It’s difficult to say no to any project that comes our way, but if we don’t have the bandwidth and won’t be able to give it the attention it deserves, we have learned that saying no is OK. I think it’s challenging for anyone to manage multiple roles within one job. I’m not sure any education or previous role can fully prepare you for that mental adjustment, but you just gotta roll with it and figure it out as you go.
What’s been your biggest career milestone?
Two years after I moved to New York, I landed a job as a freelance designer at Vogue.com. It was one of the best experiences of my life. The upbeat, fast-paced environment of digital editorial was something totally new to me where I had to learn and grow, as a designer and as a professional—and fast. Not only is it where I met my Dearest cofounder, but it set me on a path that, unbeknownst to me, would change my entire career. (I also got to attend the Met Gala, which wasn’t too shabby.)
How has being a woman affected your professional experience?
I’m a fairly sensitive and emotional person—always have been! Oftentimes, I feel that women in the workplace are judged (and almost looked down upon) for just naturally having these qualities. It’s a total bummer. Being emotionally in-tune and caring about people and work you’re passionate about is not a bad thing, it actually makes you stronger. It’s all about balance and being able to accurately understand what you’re feeling and why. For me, not taking things personally and knowing (and being OK with the fact) that I’m not going to win ‘em all is crucial.
Who are some women in your field you look to for inspiration?
Oh, so many! Over the years I have come across a few I always go back to when gathering inspiration or just admiring from afar. Lotta Nieminen, Beth Hoeckel and Robin Eisenberg are just a few of many who are top-notch, in my book. I’m also really into Mab Graves these days as well. From their incredibly unique approaches and jaw-dropping creations, these ladies inspire me, not only from a professional and creative standpoint, but also a personal one.
What does your approach to work-life balance look like?
Work-life balance is something really important to me, but navigating how that’s possible is an ever-evolving process. It’s challenging being a small-business owner, but having a partnership based on support and an open line of communication moves mountains. I love taking baths at the end of the day. It really resets my mind and body and helps me wind down for the evening. Going for long walks, hanging with my friends and boyfriend, cooking (rarely, but it helps!) and catching up with my family all help me zone out and destress.
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
Don’t wait for things to be perfect, because they never will be. If you have a passion, just go for it. Be prepared to work your butt off, but there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your dreams manifest. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for help—there’s a plethora of people out there who are willing to help and share their knowledge. Lastly, follow your gut. Intuition is a powerful thing.
*This is an affiliate partnership. That means when you shop using the links we provide, a portion of your purchase comes right back to us, so we can continue creating content that matters. Of course, we only promote brands and products we genuinely stand behind. Thank you so much for your support!
Interested in advertising with us? Email us!