At Spencer and Rutherford's stylish headquarters, Kim's studio resembles a Parisian Atelier. Soft natural light washes over tables laden with exquisite brocades, silks, braids and leather. Inspiring mood boards are covered in swatches of richly detailed fabrics, dreamy photographs and eclectic found objects. Sketches lie scattered across the desk by the window. Alongside a vase of perfumed roses picked from her garden, are treasured photos of her children Isabella and Mason, and their beloved family dog - Louis, proud Spencer & Rutherford mascot and ‘Director of Happiness’.
As Creative Director at the helm of Spencer & Rutherford, Kim still feels a rush of excitement and anticipation every time she launches into designing a new collection.
"Every day I come to work and I am invigorated. We make alot of people very happy, and that makes me happy. Let the fun begin!"
From initial themes for a collection, through to the superbly finished handbags with their captivating details, Kim loves immersing herself in the intricacies of her world. She is the prodigious design talent behind Spencer & Rutherford and her wonderful, eclectic personal style and artistic flair is stamped on every stunning piece. She is a designer who lives and breathes her craft.
"I love everything about the process, from selecting the fabrics and leathers, to talking about and designing new bag shapes, even to naming them - it’s like having a new baby girl every time - what shall we call her? Will her name suit her? It’s a big decision!"
Many people ask what inspires Kim. "Sometimes it can be the tiniest little thing like an exquisite antique button on a vintage blouse, other times it's a rich cultural experience like a trip to Africa or Paris. My husband (and business partner) Chris and I, love to travel, mostly with our children. I love looking at the world through their delighted eyes. It helps me see familiar things in a completely fresh way." Looking back on her own childhood, immersed in the idyllic creative worlds’ of her dress designer mother and architect father, Kim laughingly says: "Little did I know it was the perfect junior apprenticeship for my career as a handbag designer."
Watching her father work on his latest architectural models, she learnt about design, dimensions and structural details; how to make something very beautiful but also very functional. Happy hours spent in her mother's dressmaking studio, creating doll's dresses from exquisite fabric off-cuts, ribbons and trims, helped develop Kim's natural talent for combining colours and textures in her inimitable way.
After finishing school, Kim completed a degree in Graphic Design. Spending her childhood with a packet of coloured pencils, it seemed the logical conclusion. She then went on to work for several years in the world of advertising. While raising two small children she redirected her design talents to women's accessories, handbags, and illustrated silk scarves.
"From the beginning at Spencer & Rutherford, I have felt incredibly lucky to be doing what I love. I adore that blurring of the line between fashion and art. It's so satisfying to me as a designer, having women respond in such passionate ways to our bags. They talk about them like friends, and with each handbag having her own girly name, I guess they are!"
"I like to think that whenever women look at their Spencer & Rutherford bag they will remember happy times in their lives. Every time a woman takes her Spencer & Rutherford bag out, I want her to fall in love with it all over again. So many women tell me they receive lots of compliments on their handbags. If I have played a small part in that lovely moment in their day, then I am really happy."