Karrie Dean’s story has been told before—after being laid off from her corporate job, she started designing blankets when she couldn’t find a specific pattern. Her blog, Happy Habitat, turned into her full-time business, with a loyal following and signature throws sold nationwide. Now she’s focused on making the most of the skills she’s mastered.
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KCS: When you first started making blankets, did you envision it as a full-time job?
KD: I did not know I would stick to blankets. The business would always be about being comfortable in the home—I knew that much. Being happy with your surroundings, that was always the thought. I actually created a blog, and that’s where it started. With blankets, once I started doing that I found that it worked and I enjoyed it.
KCS: What surprised you about owning your own business?
KD: It is surprising how receptive people are. If you make an effort, people respond. I think people get stuck on, “What do I do? How do I do it?” Well, send an email. Say, “This is my product. Do you like it?” And sometimes people say yes. You don’t need to be a master; you don’t have to have a PR person or a sales person. It surprises me what you can accomplish if you just make the effort—it’s not that complicated. Instead of waiting for something to happen, do it.
KCS: Has your design aesthetic changed over time?
KD: I think so. I think I’ve gone from more playful to more sophisticated. It’s because I’ve grown up. I think your tastes change and evolve, and trends change too. I like to be able to see my things in different settings, like something playful in a kid’s room to something more sophisticated in Architectural Digest.
KCS: Have you considered creating other products?
KD: I’ve always liked the idea of doing one thing and doing it well. People are always like, “You should do rugs and wallpaper,” and I’m like, “No, I’m going to do what I do well.” And it’s never about making things to make things. It’s always about something meaningful. As soon as you try to fool somebody, they see right through you. It has to be authentic, from the product itself to the way it’s marketed and sold. All of it has to have authenticity. So for me, blankets are what stick; they’re useful and resourceful.
Dean’s graphic, colorful throws add instant life to any space, but she’s currently working on a new line of designs to add versatility to her collection.
“I’m still staying within throws but using different materials,” Dean says. “It will be more like a luxury product so I can see my throws in a different space, but still user-friendly.”
The new line of blankets will feature more subdued tones with handcrafted materials that include more texture.
“I’m trying to create something that will fit in some of the stores I like that don’t currently carry my stuff,” Dean says.
Go to happyhabitat.net to purchase or find a local retailer.