We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephen Kenn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephen Kenn, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
There are always 100 reasons to give up. I think it’s important to ask your self why you started in the first place? If the reason is for money or success we’ll only see what we don’t have and get discouraged. If we desire to learn, meet people and bring something beautiful into the world, we can focus on those tangibles and be reminded that every day our efforts compound, our relationships get deeper and our experiences are preparing us for what is ahead.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have a deep respect for art and artists while at the same time I think that reverence is what has kept me from producing more experimental work. I view myself more as a designer because I love solving problems, but there is an opportunity when creating anything to bring something new into the world. I would say that this is what I’m challenged by the most. Looking for new ways to solve old problems. I’m currently working on my fourth company since landing in LA at the age of 20. There have been many concepts and equally as may failures but they have developed in me a unique perspective. It definitely has not been easy but it’s been worth it. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from starting brands that carry with them a very personal DNA given to them by myself and fellow collaborators is that when things don’t work out, when they die… it’s not me who has died… I’m still me, I’m not that brand or that product, it’s a reflection of my values but I can move on… I can take with me the things that I have learned and the people who I have met and apply them to the next concept. It’s what allows me to keep going.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, right now… we’re in a lock down so no restaurants, concerts, or parties… so we’d probably spend a lot of time in our showroom loft in downtown. Since April one of our favorite things to do has been to go camping and explore California. We’ve been as close as Angeles Crest and all the way up to Big Sur. Another socially distanced thing we enjoy doing is taking the motorcycles up the coast and having coffee up in the canyons. Places we love to get take out include. Redbird, Bavel, Osteria Le Buca and All Time. We’re definitely missing the culture and community but hope things open up again soon.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
So many people… among the most influential would be my parents, my friend Steve Dubbeldam and top of that list would be my supportive and steadfast wife and business partner Beks Opperman.
Instagram: @stephenkenn @stephenkennloft
Photo 1: Becca Tilley
Photo 2: Luke & Mallory Leasure
Photo 3: Justin Chung