Tastemaker: Kathryn Yee, Bash Studio
We chatted with entrepreneur Kathryn Yee about the launch of her business, Bash Studio, and some of her favorite event details. I’ve had the pleasure to work with her on an event, and take my word for it, she’s a genius!
Becky Brackett: How did you decide to make the leap from a full time corporate job to venturing out on your own?
Kathryn Yee: Owning my own business was something I always knew I wanted to do. From a very young age, I grew up at our family-owned apothecary and watched it grow to a very successful multi-million dollar business. The entrepreneurial spirit was inherent. I loved the idea of being my own boss, inspiring my own team of people, building a brand and watching it grow. After 8 years in communications design and brand strategy where I created boutique and luxury brands for other people, I decided it was time to give myself the opportunity to create my own. I was ready to make a shift in my career and give myself the chance at something I had always wanted. I had the support of my family and friends (and a lot of guts). The word “leap” can be intimidating. I look at is an opportunity you give yourself a chance at something amazing. It’s been a humbling and exciting journey ever since.
BB: What are some event decor and details you can’t live without right now?
KY: Right now I’m into using cloth / fabric instead of paper. It feels like the right thing to do! Mydrap makes stylish rolls of reusable, 100% cotton cocktail napkins, dinner napkins and placements in 48 colors and prints. I love the navy gingham for summer! They are so easy, smart and a great alternative to paper. In general, I like to curate décor and details that fit my client’s vision or the project I’m working on. And my philosophy is that you don’t need to make everything yourself. It’s about carefully curating, sourcing and discovering products that fit your vision and will help you create a cohesive look. I do love adding thoughtful and personal touches to the work I do—unexpected is the best event detail. I also like to make big bold splashes.
BB: Can you tell us about your most memorable event?
KY: One of my most recent and memorable events was Scotch Night at one of the W Hotel Penthouses(!) with ladies and gents from the tech start-up scene. I took my client’s idea of a scotch tasting and turned it into a handsome, smoky and warm event in the most industrial and modern spaces over looking Boston’s skyline. I was able to combine the talents of my favorite local creative partners. I had Li Ward (Fat Orange Cat Studio) handwrite all the scotch labels and the killer menu in her more edgier style of writing. And once the material and vision started to come together, I realized I didn’t want flowers. I wanted masculine and the use of found objects in place of florals so we used different types of succulents and air plants placed in cloches and ceramic clam shells. Anastasia from Orly Khon Floral Boutique is a genius. Between some of my vintage pieces and Becky’s (Pop & Circumstance) collection of brass candle holders and vintage suitcases, these quirky objects added the extra layer of detail. I also rented vintage pieces from a Southie prop house and the high-top tavern tables were from New England Country Rentals. And Chef Mark O’Leary, Oya veteran, served up things like Spicy Eggplant Bo Sam and Pork Buns with hoisin aioli! The event was unreal and everyone mingled throughout the space and enjoyed themselves just as we hoped!
I also can’t forget about my very first wedding I did a few years ago! It will always be memorable because the bride (also a friend and wedding photographer) gave me a shot at the thing that started my interest in event design. It was a winter wedding at Red Lion Inn in Cohasset. I did the flowers, décor and design of the programs, thank you cards, and a custom monogram with the couple initials and a pair of vintage skis! April and Justin love winter sports and even found a pair of wooden skis to use in replace of a guest book. The programs were sewn with white thread and printed on kraft paper. We filled the barn with clean white candles, branches on beds of moss and all white flowers. It was simple, magical and the barn was filled with so much love.
BB: I’m sure there are many, but what is one of the most difficult things about owning your own business?
KY: You are exactly right! There are many challenges to owning your own business (see my 1-year blog post) but I am so grateful to have this opportunity. One of the most difficult aspects is trusting that the first year especially is an intense learning process. You face many challenges you aren’t necessarily sure how to handle or often wonder if you are doing all the right things for the business, but you have to trust that it’s a learning experience. You can’t trust that you’ll always make the best choices, although you try your hardest to) but you have to trust that there is a starting point for everyone. I’ve learned to stay patient, determined, disciplined and humble through it all. It’s not easy but it’s a lucky place to be in.
BB: Just for fun – what’s your favorite coffee shop in the city?
KY: Tatte Bakery & Café transports me to a place of the most amazing pastries and breakfast. Their menu is heaven. And I love that the owner, Tzurit Or is a self-trained pastry chef who applied her 12-years of producing to create Tatte. If you haven’t been, it’s a must. My more frequent go-to shop is the smaller South End Buttery on Clarendon St. It’s right around the corner from me. I love grabbing a chai latte and croissant, sitting at the marble counter top with my notebook, and looking over at the quintessential row houses across the street.
BB: Anything else you want to share with us?
KY: When you’re hosting friends and family, it’s all about infusing your own personality and vision. I’m constantly inspired by fashion, textiles and home furnishings. Be inspired by what’s happening around you. There is no right or wrong when it comes to entertaining! Don’t be afraid to infuse your own style while giving your guests a unique and memorable experience. I like to be classic and iconic with a modern twist. And find your signature “thing”. I always add an element of surprise at every event. And you can never go wrong with being genuine and authentic.
Photo credit: Mikhail Glabets Photography
Becky shares her unique perspective on decor, events, and hunting for vintage treasures. Be sure to catch up with Becky on her blog (and shop!), Pop & Circumstance, as well as on Twitter and Instagram.