Interview by Visual Collaborative
May 2019 8 min read
Kate Worum and Jennifer Jorgensen are co-founders of Minneapolis based studio She She, a wallpaper, art installation and furnishings lifestyle brand. In this interview of our Voyager issue, a print designer and an interior architect share insights to their partnership, and output with the creative industry.
(VC) Illustration and architecture would be a perfect professional marriage in many businesses. Given your different disciplines as co-owners when did your develop the right method or style of working together?
(She She) Our method of working together changes as frequently as our company changes and grows – which is pretty much constantly. one of the most beneficial aspects to our partnership is that we get a huge kick out of each other – we still make each other die laughing and we both have a lot of respect for what the other person brings to the table. We know each other’s strengths and we are sensitive to each other’s weaknesses. We attempt to take each new task, if it be a celebration or hurdle with as much grace as possible. we really have no secret to working together, it’s just like any relationship, it takes work – but we both really care about what we are doing and as a result make sure that our business relationship is successful.
(VC) Storytelling is perhaps one of the most impactful forms of marketing for designers, outside the market of the Twin Cities and the general midwest, how has your studio faired among competitors?
(She She) This may sound cliché and overly positive, but we don’t really see ourselves as having too many competitors. Art is so unique that we actually really like seeing what other artists or more specifically pattern studios creating hand-painted wallpaper and products are doing.
Most of our success has been a result of our own hard work mixed with the help of other creatives in the world helping us out and we are so grateful
Though the product itself is similar, the final aesthetic is coming from such a different perspective that we don’t try to keep up or surpass people – we set our goals and work hard to meet them. Most of our success has been a result of our own hard work mixed with the help of other creatives in the world helping us out and we are so grateful. different people like different aesthetics and we appreciate that there’s something out there for everyone.
Photo courtesy of She She
(VC) Creatives professionals need some kind of business smarts, How do you engage as a vendor to a market older than your company She She, do you have good lawyers or just learn as you go during your day to day operations?
(She She) We have a great lawyer – she’s someone to look up to in business and friendship and she steps in to keep us legit whenever we need her [Smiling]. We also aren’t afraid to ask for help or admit that we don’t know what to do so we frequently reach out to people we look up to to ask for some guidance. So, in conclusion – we definitely learn as we go, and put in thanks to all sorts of people lifting us up in the community.
(VC) As women in America who maybe considered privileged based on your professional experiences, what can you candidly tell aspiring young women or entrepreneurs about success and risk in business?
(She She) It comes down to believing in yourself and your product as well as surrounding yourself with people who feel the same. The energy you put out into the world is important and acknowledged more often than you might expect so check-ins regarding the path you are going down is important. We’ve collected a phenomenal group of people to help us on our journey since we started She She and we actively try to lift them up as often as they lift us up. Success isn’t only about working overtime to make deadlines happen, there’s a gratefulness and humbleness that is learned when you become an entrepreneur due to the amount of great success, as well as great failures you experience, so at the end of the day it is important to really believe in what you are doing and stay focused on that mission.
Taking risks comes with the possibility of failure. We try to use the idea of learning agility when we make mistakes. We take serious notes from our failures and try it from a different angle the next time around.
(VC) Observing the rising despondency of political movements in parts of the United States and some places of the upper midwest, as female trail blazers in design are you more critical about your own careers as a women or more optimistic given the trajectory of the present times?
(She She) It’s tough not to be read the news with our mouths agape at times when you feel personally affected by a headline – but truthfully it only gives us more fuel for what we do. We are endlessly critical of ourselves as people and working our tails off to meet the goals we have set for ourselves. Our company was founded by both of us overcoming obstacles so we welcome a good challenge.
Photo courtesy of She She
(VC) In your quiet or noisy moments how do you get inspired. What makes Kate and Jennifer create the work. Do you seek religion or get psychological like others in the creative industry for inspiration?
(She She) Our design process is 100% collaborative – whether it be with each other or with our clients. Whether we are working with a local homeowner or a global brand we have the same outline – the first and most important step for us is to get to know the client on a friendly level and the purpose or message behind the design. Once we’ve fully bonded with the client and the idea of the design, we tap into our different backgrounds and throw ideas at each other until we’ve landed on what we feel is the perfect representation of illustrative style and interior design for that client’s purpose. It’s essentially the ideas that the client brings to the table put through a She She filter. Sorts of what is floating through our minds at the present moment – whether it be our travels, our personal lives or the political landscape surrounding us.
Our designs are based in storytelling and it is extremely difficult for us to create something for someone when we aren’t in agreement on the back end.
(VC) At this stage of your professional career and accomplishments, If you could collaborate with any brand or public figure in business who would it be and why?
(She She) We have a pretty extensive dream client list and we add to it all the time – Oprah’s been on there for a while and has yet to return our calls. We’re going to keep trying. We like to work with companies and people whose values are the same as ours. Our designs are based in storytelling and it is extremely difficult for us to create something for someone when we aren’t in agreement on the back end. We’ve been focusing on getting to know our local community lately and we’ve been wanting to chat with our Minnesota Representative, Ilhan Omar for quite a while – we can only imagine that her story is extremely compelling and we would love to have some of her trail-blazing ways rub off on us and then share them with the world.
(VC) What kind of work or impact can the United States expect from She She within the next 5 years?
(She She) As a company, we are in a constant state of flux as we stumble upon new life experiences, but our intentions are to be able to make our art more accessible to more people. We’re going to do this by selling more of our product on our website as well as creating our own line of patterns to eventually put on fabrics and products. We are really excited to create a whole line to share with the world that will be a partnership of the two of us in the next few months of our lives.
Courtesy of She She
(VC) What do you want our global audience to know about Kate and Jennifer?
(She She) We’re both born and raised Minnesota gals. Kate grew up in charming Golden Valley and Jenny grew up in sunny Eagan. [Kate & Jennifer smiles]. Kate went to MCAD (Minneapolis College of Art and Design) for Illustration and Jenny went to CU Boulder for Architecture and French. We have both always been interested in each other’s careers, so getting to learn from each other every day for the last three years has been beneficial not only for She She but for our primary careers as well. We’re trying to make this world a happier and warmer place by covering it with art.