In this series on The Southern C, readers get to “meet” many of the interesting and creative entrepreneurs we know online through our social network and also in “real life” at The Southern C Summits. These individuals are the CEO’s, founders, creative directors, artists, designers, makers and doers that are shaping our landscape with their vision and ingenuity. Take a peek into their day to day life, find out what they are working on, discover their “a-ha” moment and gain insight into what motivates and inspires their work and lives.
The subjects and their niche may vary but many share the paradoxical traits of creative individuals – they daydream, observe, ask big questions, people watch, seek new experiences, view life as an opportunity for self-expression, take risks and bounce back all while following their true passions. We hope you will be inspired as we spotlight the creativity that abounds in our region. According to Einstein, “Creativity is contagious”, and we are happy at The Southern C to do our part in sharing the creativity!
This week, I am delighted to introduce our Coterie to Caroline Lytle of HighStrung, a jewelry designer living with her family in coastal NC. Caroline and company create one-of-a-kind necklaces, bracelets and cuffs.
Her creative and unique designs feature a variety of natural materials and textures as well as handpainted wooden beads – stylish, chic and whimsical all at the same time! The pieces in her collection add just that pop of color and extra oomph to any outfit and easily take you from carpool to church to date night and all destinations in-between.
What began as a creative outlet three years ago quickly turned into something larger and now HighStrung designs can be spotted all over. Read more about what her life as a creative and busy mom…
Describe your brand/business:
At HighStrung, we create one of a kind pieces of wearable art that are fun and hopefully inspire conversation and compliments!
Describe your typical day as a designer:
As a mom of a kindergartner and first grader my main goal between 6am -7am is to get everyone out of the house and on their way to school with full bellies and shoes on their feet. Once the house is quiet – I fix a cup of coffee and map out a game plan for the day. Escaping to my studio while the early morning light comes through the windows is one of my favorite places to be. Fitting in time to exercise is very important to me – my current obsession is barre. I like to get it done in the morning so I have the day to work on designing and making pieces for HighStrung.
What did you want to be when you grew up and how has your background influenced your work?
I have always been a salesman. I guess I was about 8 when I started my first business. I would make things and sell them to my neighbors. At age 10 I commissioned an artist to design a logo for me and hand screened printed t-shirts with my company logo and sold those along with various other creations. Knocking on a door and asking for money has never been a problem for me… I was always selling something!
Favorite business tool?
Social media – 100%. I didn’t start HighStrung with the intention of it becoming a business or brand. I made a few necklaces for myself and put them on Facebook to show off and next thing I know a handful of friends were asking me to make them one. Three years later and thousands of pieces later- I still can’t believe it turned out like it did!
Where do you find inspiration?
Gosh- I am inspired by so many things. I’m inspired by the people that love HighStrung. It’s important to me that we create pieces that will make the person wearing them feel happy. I’m a busy mom but not ready to throw in the fashion towel so I like to create original pieces that can be thrown on with a t shirt dress and pull everything together.
Nature inspires my color choices – from a neutral palette to the most beautiful color combinations – it’s amazing what you can find in nature if you take a minute to look. My husband taught me that.
I’m also inspired by my tribe. The tribe of talented women that help me in my business and the tribe of women that help me be a better mother and wife.
The rare day off – what do you do to unwind?
I love to work with my hands. Getting dirty in our yard or walking our farm to look for arrowheads and old pottery definitely top my list. And sitting on our pier with a glass of wine watching the children play in the water with our lab and pet duck are not too bad either!
Best business advice?
When I graduated college my Daddy gave me a book that he had written for me. It was a list of things he learned throughout his life as a executive in the textile industry. The one thing that he told me and I carry with me today, 20 years later, is to do something bigger than you are. “Success in business is not just a measure of title or salary. It is really about making a difference. Help the people around you grow and always surround yourself with the best. They will constantly change you.”
I can’t think of the last book I read! I’m working on that. I do love collecting and flipping through the pages of designers books – India Hicks and Anna Spiro are two of my favorites.
I have a hard time sitting still long enough to watch a movie but love any movie with Sidney Poitier . However, I seem to have no problem binging on Netflix watching shows like Parenthood and Grace and Frankie.
Chris Stapleton – Traveler
A delicious rose
Trips with my husband – we love to travel when we can get away and one of our very favorite places is Sea Island, GA.
Whitney Wise Long, co-founder of The Southern C and The Southern C Summit, loves to connect with Southern entrepreneurs and learn more about their creative endeavors.
This Q&A series offers her the perfect opportunity to do so!
For more of Whitney’s Southern Creatives Q&A’s click the names below: