Hello! My name is Kate Pearson, and I’m a product designer from Leeds in West Yorkshire, England. I guess my design career began in childhood, with fierce competition over LEGO blocks with my older brother Miles (pictured top-right, just to embarrass him). He would seriously engineer the bricks into perfect constructions, and I would argue my ad-hoc designs were far better. He ended up as an architect, running his own business in Liverpool and I ended up going into product design!
Maths and English were not my strong points at school. Art, design, music and sports were far more up my street. My wandering father, Andy aka ‘Egon’ (as in where’s he gone?), sent us to a Quaker school in Pontefract; famous for its towering Ferrybridge Power Station and Haribo sweets. I embraced my time in “Ponte” and definitely met an interesting bunch of people in and around the school.
Following my time at school, I returned to my hometown, Leeds. There, I briefly attended
the Art College, but moved to study fashion design and manufacturing.
After college I wasn’t a hundred percent sure if the world of fashion was for me; I think I was too young to know what I wanted to do, so bounced between a few different jobs while I made up my mind.
I joined my brother in Liverpool when I was twenty-four, and studied Product Design and 3D Modelling at John Moore University. I’d previously worked in London as a nail technician so continued to do this part-time whilst studying. I also worked full-time on a placement in packaging design and technology for Unilever in Port Sunlight, before returning to university for my final year. Exhibiting at Love Design for the Liverpool Capital of Culture in 2011 was the perfect end to my time in the city, as I then returned to Leeds to look for work.
The job market wasn’t very good in 2011, and the search for work continued fruitlessly until I decided to follow an idea I’d had a few years previously. And so I went back to study a Masters in Product Design at the University of Leeds. I studied part-time over two years whilst continuing to work part-time as a nail technician. My study was based around the handbag industry, and incorporating new materials.
After finishing my Masters and making the initial prototypes for what would eventually
become the Vela, I spent a year exploring different options with textile suppliers and
manufacturers until the final materials were decided on.
In 2015, I was awarded a space on the new ‘Entrepreneurial Spark’ business accelerator
scheme in Leeds, along with around eighty other new start-up businesses. My experience with E-Spark has really helped to bring Fabrikk to life, by streamlining what we’re doing and supporting us on the often daunting business and marketing side of launching a new brand!
I’d like to finish this brief introduction to me by mentioning a big influence in my life. My
mum Joy – who’s no pushover! – always told me ‘your first impression is usually your last’, and ‘a chain is only ever as strong as its weakest link’. Mums might not always be right, but Joy usually is! My dad was self-employed, really hard-working, and taught us to always aim to work for ourselves. These words have had a huge impact on me, and we’re all really good friends. In fact, my parents are technically my business partners on paper – although I do all the running around! But my mum did always say if she had another career she would have gone into bags or luggage, and here she is!
The next Fabrikk blog will be about the inspiration behind Fabrikk and then onto the research and development of the first prototypes.