Kate Walker - Designed to Inspire
Kate Walker is the Founder and Director of KWD - a business that specifies, sources and supplies hard finishes for new builds, renovations and restorations.
“KWD offers a full, luxury bespoke service where we work with our clients for the length of their new build or renovation. We collaborate with architects, builders, landscape designers and trades and provide a full documentation service, with delivery scheduling, warehousing facilities and with product procurement of the best quality materials at the best possible prices that suit our client’s aesthetic, lifestyle, budget and timeline.”
As a single mother of two, Kate says she’s passionate about providing a working environment with a healthy work-life balance for everyone.
“I believe it’s important to support working parents, so they can be there for the important things and not let work get in the way of special milestones. At the end of the day, it doesn’t mean that my standards or expectations are any less, we just find a way to make things work”.
KWD is a team of primarily women, of whom most are working mothers.
“I had a goal to create a work environment for my team members that I wanted for myself. One where there was work/life balance. One where the mothers didn’t need to miss out on the important milestones of their children’s lives, like sports days, dance concerts, assembly presentations and basketball games, just because these women had to work to help support their families. I also had a goal to create an environment where these women felt supported, appreciated, enriched, challenged, worthy, valued and respected, whilst never diminishing their ability to perform their most important role, that of a mother.
Kate’s team is an inspiration to her. The way they juggle everything. Their dedication to their work. Their talent and expertise. All done whilst making their children feel like they are the most important thing in their lives.
“The fringe benefit of me creating this family friendly workplace, is that I have gained so much loyalty from these beautiful people. I underestimated the power of giving freedom and flexibility. I receive far more back in return than I give.”
Growing up as one of seven children, Kate says it gave her an incredible work ethic, something she’s now trying to teach her children.
“My parents did an amazing job, but they couldn’t be across everything. We didn’t really have the attention of our parents for homework or reading at bedtime or dropping something to school if we forgot it. We had to just get on with it, so it made all of us fiercely independent, motivated and driven”.
When the going gets tough, Kate has a tenacity that has her “get up and get on with it”. She recognises that building a business, and taking care of two children on her own, is not easy and it takes guts to rise strong. Despite her success, the journey has of course had its challenges.
“Some days are tougher than others in running a small business and being a single mother. With sick children, some project intricacies, and an inability to split myself in two, life certainly throws its challenges at me! Self-forgiveness is important too, in order to overcome ‘working mother guilt’. So every day, I get up, put on my superwoman cape, don my steely resolve, and put one foot in front of the other, and let the day call ACTION!”
WHERE DO YOU DRAW YOUR INSPIRATION FROM?
My family. I’ve had no greater inspiration than my parents and grandparents. I had astute grandfathers who were both successful in their own right. They had their own ways of doing things and I’ve taken a lot of advice from them, and my mentors.
I’ve been dealt a fair amount of adversity in my life and it would have been very easy to play the victim - to roll over and say ‘I can’t do this’; but I didn’t. I was never prepared to fail. I always wanted to succeed, but more than anything else I wanted to be an inspiration for my children. If it wasn’t for them I may have given up, but I wanted to give them an incredible life and I wanted them to be proud of me.
Now that my kids are at an age where we can travel, I want to show them the world. Growing up in a big family we couldn’t afford to do a lot of overseas travel, so only having two children myself I want to show them the world. And having a successful business will help me to achieve this.
I do want to mould the business to a point where I don’t have to keep on working as hard as I do. I want to work smarter not harder. I want to foster a better work-life balance, and I want to live a really natural, healthy life that is community conscious and environmentally aware. I want to be a positive example to the next generation. I think it’s important that we all treat each other with compassion.
The years have got busier and busier for KWD, with an ever-expanding portfolio, and new HQ and Studio in Mt Martha, and a new launch underway.
It's been such a busy time for KWD, and I have been working furiously behind the scenes on getting this exciting new business venture, KWD & Co, ready to launch. It is the sister business to KWD. I’ve always had a goal to make interior design accessible to everyone, not just to those clients who can afford bespoke design. Whilst I absolutely adore the custom projects that we work on, I believe everyone deserves the opportunity to have a beautifully designed home they can be proud of. KWD & Co will be launching soon, with design styles and inspiration, and loads of KWD approved products.
For those looking for a more focused design advice based specifically on their own home or investment property, at a fraction of the price that it would cost for a bespoke design service, KWD Access is the answer. At the end of this one-on-one, one hour consultation with the KWD design team we will create a custom flat lay and provide a schedule of colours and finishes – paint colours, tiles, timber, carpet, rugs, benchtops, natural stone, splashback looks, tapware and door hardware joinery styles, wallpaper swatches, lighting ideas, furniture suggestions.
So now you no longer need to second guess your design choices, KWD & Co will help you make the hard decisions that you can feel confident with.