Real Talk With Karen Adams, Owner of Karen Adams Designs
We all love beautiful things, but not all of us can create a career from that love like Karen Adams has. After living internationally as a child and studying at RISD, she’s gained a unique eye for design and life.
All it took was one idea to spark a new career path and an entrepreneurial drive. Now Karen is the owner of a successful brand, designs beautiful stationery, and has formed a family business. We were lucky enough to talk her into sharing her clean-cut, positive perspective on mixing business and creativity.
Name: Karen Adams
Location: Memphis, TN
Company: Karen Adams Designs
What it is: Paper products for an uplifting life style
Educational Background: BFA Rhode Island School of Design
What inspired you to start Karen Adams Designs?
I was at a time in my life where my children were young, I wanted to work but needed flexibility. Things fell into place when I designed some invitations for local non-profit events. My thought was that if there was a fabulous invitation, people would get excited for the occasion. It worked, I had fun doing it, voila!
What’s your favorite thing about your agenda?
The fact that my daughter put a lot of thought and ingenuity into it and it is fantastic. I also really like stickers—I did that part.
What’s it like working with your daughter? What’s your favorite part of seeing her every day?
I was a bit wary in the beginning because I value our relationship and would not want to compromise that. I am now aware how lucky I am that we work really well together. The best part of seeing her every day is I get to share in the process of being creative. That’s the fun part.
What is your philosophy for social media? How has it helped you grow your company?
Social media is how you get to be seen and heard these days. It has definitely helped us to be current, grow, and be in the game.
You moved around quite a bit as a child. How did that impact you in terms of your career?
I did move around a lot. As with anything, there were a lot of pros and cons—for me, pros are that I’m pretty laid back and a very open-minded thinker. I believe both of these pros are from experiencing a lot of change; traveling and seeing many ways of life.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from starting your own business?
When making decisions and initiating new ideas, listen to others, mix that into your thought process and make deliberate, mindful steps.
If you could have given yourself one piece of advice when you started out, what would it be?
Don’t try to grow too fast and don’t overreach what you know are your boundaries. You can do a lot and do it well, so enjoy.
Your career has taken a few twists and turns. Apparel is a bit different from stationery and paper goods. Do you have any advice for other women considering making a career shift?
Life takes several paths you don’t see ahead. Take thoughtful risks and opportunities that present themselves in your life. You can always take a turn or exit if or when needed.
What does success mean to you?
“Success” means several things to me, but in business it’s attaining respect for what you do; providing good jobs to others and being able to provide for myself.
What are your hobbies? What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
I run and also do cardio barre. This is a must for my physical and mental well being—I need to sweat.