If you’ve sent over an email to our customer service line, or attended a show in the last year – you’ve probably met our Assistant Director of Operations, Katherine! In universal synchronicity and ideal timing, Hannah and John walked into a small jewelry shop in Downtown Winchester in the Fall of 2019. Katherine was working for another local jewelry company, but hoping for something different and more aligned in her thinking and work ethic… she’s now been with Malabella for over 2 years! As Hannah’s right-hand-woman, she helps plan, systemize and create daily!
Malabella: What do you love to do for fun?
Katherine: No joke, the most fun I ever have is commuting to work (hi, brown-noser here) and blasting my favorite music. It’s 35 minutes of pure bliss, especially with the windows down. In my free time, I love hanging out with my friends and partaking in crispy fried chicken + a good glass of red wine.
M: What’s your favorite thing you do for Malabella Jewels?
K: At this point I have grown to love, love, love stringing malas! Never thought I would say that, as each mala is extremely patterned and intricate and takes at least thirty minutes to string. However, each mala is a challenge and feels like an accomplishment once I’m done! I also love helping Hannah with planning and new ideas.
M: What’s a day in the life working at Malabella Jewels?
K: First things first, I tackle admin duties. This includes responding to emails, creating work orders, and handling any other customer service issues/requests. I then head into production and/or shipping. After lunch, I either work on marketing graphics or product photography.
M: In addition to Malabella, you offer freelance creative services specifically photography, graphic design, and networking. What’s your biggest advice for those who would like to become a freelancer?
K: Go for it! The hardest part in my opinion is finding value in your work, and putting a number to it. The journey can be tough, and a long one, but it’s beyond rewarding to create + establish your own thing!
M: What’s your favorite creative project ever?
K: Painting + decorating my house. My husband and I purchased a house around 7 years ago, and while it wasn’t a fixer-upper, it was truly a project. I painted over 2000 square feet of walls, and had so much fun creating a look within each different room!
M: What are your favorite forms of expression?
K: Photography, creative writing, dancing, singing, cooking, decorating.
M: You’ve never been scared to network and ask for what you want. Teach us your ways! What’s a piece of advice for those seeking to call in these traits/practices of asking for what we want?
K: Life is scary. People are scary. Business is scary. It’s always going to be that way. The only thing you can control is putting yourself out there, and believing that your creativity will always be appreciated by someone who can see the effort you’ve put in. I truly believe that art is a form of expression that funnels through our struggles, and you grow into your own the more you experience. Don’t be afraid to ask someone if they need help! Chances are, they’ve been waiting for someone to ask.
M: What’s your sun sign?
K: Leo, rawr.
M: What’s a daily ritual you practice?
K: Every night before bed, I make sure I tidy up my house. It’s really important for me to have a space that I feel comfortable and clear in, and it means that each morning I can start my day with a fresh mind and outlook.
M: What’s an accomplishment that you are proud of?
K: Overcoming the opinions of others – to a certain degree. While I still fight with my negative inner voice, and sensitivity, I have grown to love who I am as a person. It’s been a long road to get here and I finally feel like I value my true self more than I value what someone else wants for me.
M: What is your favorite mantra or intention?
K: Keep your word. My Dad has always ingrained this idea into me since I was a little girl, and it’s something I strive to do every day. If you say you’re going to do it, do it.
M: Where are you originally from and where have you lived/traveled to? Which place is your favorite?
K: I was born and raised in Westfield, New Jersey to German/English + Vietnamese parents. When I was 19, I moved to Virginia to live with my husband. We moved to Shenandoah County in 2013, and have now resided in Woodstock, VA for 7 years. Surprisingly, Woodstock would have to be my favorite place that I’ve been! The mountains here surround the Shenandoah Valley on both sides, and the community is quaintly small. I love driving past a neighbor and getting a wave, and I love the eclectic nature of the shops and restaurants here. I’ve always dreamed of being surrounded by farmland!
I’ve traveled quite a bit, but not as much as I’d like to. In the states, I’ve been to California, Washington, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, DC, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Maryland and Delaware. I’ve been to France, Austria, and Germany across the lovely seas!
M: You’re half Vietnamese and we’ve bonded over eating really good Vietnamese eats. What are your favorite Vietnamese dishes and snacks?
K: I love pho tai (traditional Vietnamese soup with slices of steak), pork egg rolls, spring rolls (but only the kind with steak – shrimp isn’t flavorful enough for this gal), FISH SAUCE (I could drink it and have), and spicy dried cuttle fish. Y U M.
M: What’s your favorite piece of jewelry from Malabella Jewels?
K: My Selene Gold Huggies! I can wear them if I’m dressed up, or dressed down. They’re lightweight, super comfortable and look great into my first or second ear piercing hole.
M: Sunrise or Sunset?
K: Sunset; I can’t wake up before 7.
*All photos by Jessica Seyfried Photography, from our Malabella 5th Anniversary Soiree.