Whether working alongside designers at Fendi, inside the holiday windows at Ella Moss, or inside Nike’s creative headquarters, Karen Kimmel is bringing her fresh, sweet take on the hand-crafted look to new heights with brands across the globe. We’re especially fond of the artistic tools Karen has created for kids (and their craft-obsessed adult counterparts!) which she puts to good use in an annual fall retreat called Crafting Community. Hosted by the uber-cool Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, Crafting Community is a yearly event for families that bends the rules on camp crafts – succulent gardens, leatherwork, underwater photography and even a little bit of yoga are all in the mix. For design-centric parents and children alike this creativity-filled family outing is a dream come true!

We caught up with Karen in her LA studio and found the artist crafting away in a light-filled space full of all the kinds of beautiful objects we dreamed we’d find there. Find out what’s on her desk, in her glass and on her mind!

I have pictures and photos of:

On my inspiration boards, I have pics of my kids, products we are developing, half-thought-out design ideas and drawings.

My go-to work bag:

Big fan of working the tote and RTH makes one of my favorites!   

Favorite object on my desk:

Not on my desk, but on the shelf next to my desk, I have a new ceramic piece by Adam Silverman  it is a show stopper. 

Favorite morning of the week:

Wednesday, not sure why but I think maybe because it gives me room to fix something by Friday, while simultaneously making me feel like I am on the road to the weekend.

At 10:00 am i am usually:

Late to my next meeting.

My favorite current project is:

Crafting Community, our family weekend retreat at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. Every year, this event allows me to collaborate with my biggest art crushes and partner with some really innovative brands.

My favorite stationary:

Our new Crafting Community stationary has me writing excessive amounts of thank you notes. Luckily, I have a lot to be thankful for.  We also just did a collaboration with Rifle Paper for our client Splendid. For the launch, we did a letter-writing workshop with an onsite calligrapher addressing all of the envelopes. Forget cursive, everyone should learn calligraphy.

There is always a glass of this on my desk:

Iced tea (my caffeine delivery system) and water.

Easiest way to brighten up my office is:

Low-budget: open up a window. Mid-range: add some flowers. High-budget: purchase some artwork. Lately I have been opening up the window a lot.

Favorite business gift to send:

Something handmade from the studio like one of our dreamcatchers, or our new bag bolos.

Favorite lunch buddy:

Kristen, our associate creative director. We are always the clowns who don’t bring lunch from home and we’re starving when lunchtime rolls around.

My necessary extravagance is:

A Herman Miller Sayl desk chair and the Simone Shubuck painting I bought for my office.

My top distraction is:

Instagram and my employees.

My desktop background:

A mash-up of art supplies.

Books always in my office:

Design mags and art monographs.

My go-to calendar is:


I always have this snack on hand:

Kind Bar and a piece of fruit.

The organizational item i can’t live without is:

Our full-studio monday meeting hit list. It is the studio’s north star. On an equally serious organizational note, I am also pretty attached to my color-coordinated COPIC magic marker set.

The annual Crafting Community event is this October in Palm Springs! Find out more information and sign-up for a few of the limited spaces here before they’re gone!

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