2020: A Year of Changes, Discovery & Growth

An Interview with Kate Arends of Wit & Delight

The pandemic has been rewriting the rules of retail and collaboration this year – and holiday season more than ever. Creativity and the ability to be nimble often works in favor of the small business during times of challenge; however, so does the power of community and support. Join us as Kate Arends of Wit & Delight shares her thoughts and perspective on the future of her business, retail and collaboration.

PHOTOGRAPHY VIA WIT & DELIGHT

Q: How has your approach to business—whether that’s your content and partnerships or the “shop” part of the business—changed over the last 6+ months as a result of COVID?

A: This year has been challenging, but one of personal growth and prioritization. While in lockdown during March, the team and I had to slow down due to sheer capacity. Much like everyone else, the team and I were balancing childcare, distance learning, on top of keeping the day-to-day W&D operations running. We’ve been fortunate that we have been able to operate remotely for all parts of the business; our shop has always been online, with the occasional pop-up market. It’s certainly been a challenge, but this time has allowed me to keep what’s essential front and center.

Q: Have you found new or different ways to connect with customers/followers?

A: It’s not a new way to connect, but I love Instagram Stories. Part of the reflection meant letting go of the “perfect” IG feed and being open to sharing more of my life, including the not so perfect parts. IGS has been an enjoyable way to talk with followers on a different level; I’ve gotten to know so many new people in DMs, and it’s fun to have them follow along.

Q: Are you marketing your content or selling your products in different ways?

A: We haven’t changed how we are marketing our products, but more in the way we are talking about them. If anything, we’re being more direct about the features and benefits because people are more educated than ever about what they’re spending their money on more than ever!

Q: Have you found new ways to position your business or talk about what you do differently?

A: Yes! I’m finally feeling comfortable about talking about the business! I’ve always been proud of the work I’ve done, but it’s taken a lot of time to get comfortable with selling the business.  I think it’s a midwestern thing (or just my thing) to feel uncomfortable with being direct. Whether it’s a well-written article, a great face mask, or our prints, I’ve felt more confident telling our readers about it and that it’s worth their time and money to check it out.

PHOTOGRAPHY VIA WIT & DELIGHT

Q: What of these changes do you think will stick around long-term, and which of them do you see as more temporary solutions to where we’re at, at the moment?

A: I hope that the changes we’ve made in our business stick around long-term. Because we have little overhead with our business, we’ve been able to be “scrappy” and have the ability to be flexible in this climate. I hope that we continue to think about a more extensive, diverse audience and create content and products that are universal.

Q: Talk to me about how you and/or your business have had to persevere in the face of challenges this year? Has it brought about anything good or surprising?

A: 2020 has been a year of growth. We’ve challenged ourselves to listen more to our audience, break out of our algorithms, and discover new voices. This year has been an opportunity to reexamine what is important to me and prioritize that.

Q: In what ways have you experienced support and community during this time—as an individual or as a business?

A: I feel lucky to have a great support system in real life and through a community on social media. This year we’ve collectively experienced some history-making events. When things felt darkest, there were signs of light, in my community, on social media, reminders that we are all in this together. The Minneapolis/St. Paul community is phenomenal, and I’ve felt the impact of this town and the community’s caring and support. 

PHOTOGRAPHY VIA WIT & DELIGHT

Wit & Delight is a member of the Collective 2020, now on display at Galleria Edina as part of Holiday Reimagined’s shop local window display, curated by LAB.

Wit & Delight was brought to life by Kate Arends in 2009. What began as a lifestyle website has evolved into a brand that celebrates a combination of veracious expression and simple elegance with an approachable, yet edited point of view. With consideration to form and function, each piece designed, from stationery to tech accessories, combines effortless style with hard-working functionality.




Written by
Amy Overgaard

Amy is a freelance writer + editor with a focus on journalism, editorial development, and content strategy in the Twin Cities.