We had the good fortune of connecting with Katie Nguyen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katie, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
“Trust in what you love, continue to do it, and it will take you where you need to go.” —Natalie Goldberg
The inspirational quote by Goldberg left an imprint on me about five years ago and has been with me ever since. For me, it serves as a reminder to do what you love above all else and since starting my business, it’s reminded me to pursue what I love and continue to do just that even if I’m uncertain of the outcome or fear failure. In turn, trusting in what I love has led me here, to this very moment in my life, creating and designing for Urth & Sea. There’s truly never a moment where I’m not overwhelmed in gratitude. My manifestation of starting my own brand started about five years ago, from writing it down on a piece of paper and taking on every opportunity presented to me has also lead me here.
This quote inspires me to inspire others and any opportunity that arises to inspire someone with my story I will – I’m always encouraging others to do what they love because every successful and life-fulfilling story always starts with passion or love for something.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Urth & Sea sets itself apart from others for many reasons, but one being a jewelry brand that creates high-quality contemporary jewelry inspired by nature while giving back to nature. Here’s a list of other reason of what sets us a part from other jewelry brands:
– Giving back to Mother Earth by planting one tree for every order through One Tree Planted.
– By using earth-friendly packaging and ensuring that our shipping products are 100% compostable and recyclable.
– Sourcing our raw materials from ethical and sustainable suppliers, and repurposing vintage and recycling old materials when we can.
– Embracing small batches to ensure we don’t create excess and contribute to negative impacts of mass production.
– Locally handcrafting our products in California to reduce our carbon footprint.
– Our jewellry and handcrafted goods will always be made with natural products from the earth.
I’ve always had the intention of starting my own jewelry brand, but never knew how it would unfold. It started with collecting seashells on the beach and making jewelry out of it as a hobby. After graduating with my Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, I worked for an inspirational jewelry company called MantraBand as a Social Media Manager & Community Coordinator. Then went into working at Paradigm Design making jewelry for brands like Revolve creating at a high-production rate and soon after started my own jewelry brand! It seems like fate to be honest, but that’s a jist of how my passion project turned into business unfolded for me.
One lesson that I’ve been taking more into consideration, is truly finding balance between work and life. Being an entrepreneur means constantly working and when you’re not working, you’re thinking of work – its the way it is, but I’ve been creating more boundaries with my work and life and it’s been a change that has change my work/life. The boundaries I’ve set has allowed me to be more creative and enjoy my life outside of work more. Life’s short not to enjoy the little moments which I’ve been trying to remind myself more often.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m from Huntington Beach, California but always find myself day-tripping to Costa Mesa or Laguna Beach.
To start the day, we’d take the coast down to Costa Mesa for either a quick pick-me-up at Vacancy Coffee for an iced matcha or if we’re going for breakfast, Haute Cakes for pancakes or WIP for breakfast burritos. If we’re starting our day later, we would head to Outpost Kitchen, Ai Pono, or 2145 for lunch then drive down to the beach to soak up the sun. We would most likely end the day at Salty Bear for craft beers – they occasionally have a live music, local vendor pop-ups, and food and it’s the best atmosphere. It’s also worth to mention that they are dog and family-friendly. Another favorite spot of mine is Semi-Tropic Wine for an assortment of natural wine. We would then most likely pick-up Bear Flag for dinner before we head home.
A day in Laguna would be simple as driving up the coast, grabbing lunch and refreshments at Zinque, then heading to the beach or shopping at Attu on main street. Attu carries my Urth & Sea pieces so if you’re in the area – make sure you stop on by. For dinner, we would head to one of my all time favorites, Ahba, for Mediterranean food. My go-to order is hot fries, whole branzino, caesar salad, burnt broccolini, and a spicy margarita. After dinner, we would head to Shaws Cove to watch the sunset.
Anything that has to do with being in nature or indulging in delicious food means I’m there.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’m so grateful for my partner in life who has encouraged me and inspired me in so many ways to pursue what I love. He has been my number one supporter since day one of starting the business and still continues to help with logistics, fulfillment, and everything in between. I’m also so grateful for my friends and family who have been nothing but supportive on this journey on mine.
Gratitude continues. I’m grateful for the small-business community in Orange County. All the inspiring-women I’ve crossed paths with along the journey have been so supportive, kind, and encouraging. It helps to surround yourself with others who you can learn, share, and support.
Last, but not least the community that Urth & Sea is built on. Truly no words to express my gratitude, without this community Urth & Sea would not be here.
Personal photo shot by Heather Loegering (@heather.loe)