August Morgan

For this month's interview, we have the pleasure to feature Kate Hersh of August Morgan. Kate shares with us her background, her story, and the process behind her delightful cocktail natpkins.


Could you tell us a little bit about yourself, your childhood, your background etc?

I grew up in Fort Worth, Texas. I was always creating as a child; writing, designing houses for my dolls, and sewing. Fort Worth has many world class museums and I took advantage of the amazing art I could enjoy on the weekends.

I graduated from the University of Texas with a BA in Art History. I loved Art School. I took many studio art classes. I realized although I was creative I was not a true artist but a lover of arts and the process of creating.

After graduation I moved to New York, where I worked for Sotheby's in the Bid Department. I attended every auction and help clients bid on and win items. This was like a graduate school for me; I learned so much about porcelain, silver, furniture as well as art. Sotheby's stated my love of Decorative Arts and introduced me to a whole new world of beauty in objects.

What’s the story behind August Morgan? How did it all start?

I learned how to needlepoint when I lived in New York. After I married my husband Robert and I moved to Austin. I wasn't working and would peruse thrift stores. I saw the vintage needlepoint and knew how much went into creating the old pillows that were now being sold for a few dollars.

I repurposed the old needlepoint into new pillows; with new backing, down inserts and trim. I began going to gifts shows in New York and Atlanta and sold these pillows to stores throughout the country; including Barneys NY and Anthropologie.

Although August Morgan Pillows were known and loved, they were one of a kind which makes making a lot of money difficult. One day I thought of four clever cocktail napkins, and the rest is history. I now have over 50 designs of cocktail napkins.

 

Could you share with us your creative process? From an idea to a product I can order from your website, what does that process look like?

An idea for a cocktail napkin comes to me, I draw it out, and then send my image to a graphic designer who polishes my sketch and puts it in a PDF. Once I approve of her image, I send the PDF to my manufacturer in Vietnam.

Four years ago I traveled to Vietnam to meet my manufacturer. She is an amazing business woman. I toured her factory, met her employees and was very impressed.

Napkins, clothing, travel packs, what’s next?

I have signed to license some of my best loved images for needlepoint coaters! Talk about coming full circle!


Cocktail Napkins


Where would you like to see August Morgan in 5 -6 years from now?

Honestly, I am just grateful to be thriving during this Covid era. I have had to put my dresses on hold, as I have a team that would travel to Austin to design, fit, and fit model designs. I hope to be able to pick that up and I hope someday trade shows and trunk shows can resume.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to start a new brand or an online store?

To recognize no one is going to work as hard or care as much for your brand as you do. Be strong in your vision, don't cut corners and don't answer to anyone but yourself.

Last but not least, as a Mom and an entrepreneur, what does a typical work day look like for you these days?

I just dropped my daughter off at college!!!! I am so happy for her but am in shock she's not here right now! My son is about to start High School. Working is definitely easier now that my children are older.

Typically I wake up, get the children fed and off to school, walk my dogs, then get to work until four when pick up, sports, dinner and homework start. And then it's wine time!


We want to thank Kate again for her time and participation in the magazine. You can learn more about her on AugustMorgan.com. You can also check out her unique and fun Cocktail Napkin Collection.

Follow Kate and her team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.