Lifestyle and design expert Kathy Fielder feels a bit like a jack-of-all-trades. She started her first company at the age of 22 and never looked back. Fielder has owned six companies to date and currently acts as president of Kathy Fielder Design|Life|Style. But her roster doesn’t stop there. The Dallas, TX native also owns a textile manufacturing company that distributes to major retailers such as Neiman Marcus and Horchow. She has a licensing division and has licensed her Kathy Fielder brand and currently is designing a line of furniture for the company, Atlantic Furniture.
She also hosts a TV segment on a lifestyle and design series called, “The Fielder Report” on “Designing Texas” with Jocelyn White, where they focus on all things that pertain to lifestyle, design and culture.
“It’s always busy and never boring, and with a husband and two kids in the mix, there is never a dull moment. I’m always in perpetual motion,” Fielder told Lioness.
A self-described risk-taker who likes to run her own schedule, she said becoming an entrepreneur always made sense to her from a young age. “That coupled with a unique style and vision to create something of my own, really left me no choice but to become an entrepreneur,” she said.
When she started her manufacturing division a little over a decade ago, Neiman Marcus picked up her label right out of the gate. She said it was exciting and busy and she had a huge learning curve. “I had very little experience in running a manufacturing company, and the company launched quickly so, simply put, I had to simply figure it out. There have been so many exciting experiences and challenges. Some days it’s easy and some it’s quite difficult, but it is never boring,” Fielder said.
She used any funding sources she could get her hands on – credit cards, a line of credit. Fielder said, “It takes money to make money, especially when you experience such rapid growth. Being an entrepreneur can be scary and seem almost like a bit of a gamble sometimes, but if you are smart about how you put your dollars to work, it will eventually pay off.”
When you’ve owned the number of companies Fielder has, you learn a thing or two. She said women need to know what they want, set goals to achieve them, realize they won’t hit some, and keep moving forward a little more every day. She also said knowing when you need to re-evaluate your goals before it’s a little too late is just as important as keeping a pulse on your business and the trends you are seeing to stay a relevant trendsetter.
“A wise coach once told me, it’s going to get very boring before it gets great, and the people who work hard during all the boring or trying times that seem impossible are the ones who achieve something great,” Fielder said. “Don’t quit and don’t take no for an answer. Use your intuition. It’s usually right if you start to really train yourself to listen to your inner voice. Decide you will succeed no matter what it takes. There’s a lot that will make sure you won’t succeed. Decide to look that opposition in the face, move forward and do it anyway. There is always going to be someone better than you, younger than you or someone with more experience than you. Doesn’t matter. What matters is your choice to see it through, and your vision coupled with strong and effective tools available in today’s market to monitor incremental improvements in your market share and capitalize on them.”
Still despite all that she has accomplished in business, what Fielder is the most proud of is her family. “To be honest, this may sound a little less “glam,” but I’m actually quite proud of the fact that I pick up my kiddos most days from school and have structured my life to make that a priority even when it’s not convenient. I think one day they will really appreciate it and realize what it took to make that happen most days. Family and what you build now, really makes a difference.”