We had the good fortune of connecting with Katie Gebhardt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katie, what role has risk played in your life or career?
A wise mentor of mine once told me, “when there’s a risk involved that means there’s always something to gain.” That’s really stuck with me in how I view risk – and while I didn’t have these wise words to lean on early in my career when I quit my full-time job with benefits and stability, I knew this deep down. If it weren’t for risk, I wouldn’t be where I am today! In my career, I always try to mitigate risk as much as possible (obviously!) but when it came to branching out and starting my own business, risk was inevitable. I think risk isn’t something we should be scared of – we have to take a leap of faith sometimes in order to gain something or grow, whether it be in your personal life of your career. Risk also comes into play often in design when spinning a new idea or style to a client – it might feel risky to me/ the client, but its those special, different, new ideas that make for the most beautiful space.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Solstice Interiors is a full service interior design firm serving both residential and commercial clients in San Diego and beyond. I believe what sets me apart from others is both my California roots and connection to warm, cozy, inviting spaces that one feels able to live and be in (whether residential or commercial) and also my connection to the people I work with. No matter the project, each clients intention for their space, their lifestyle, and what they’re inspired by combined with my own style and intention/ approach is always a unique combination and outcome. I’m most proud of the steady and gradual growth I’ve seen in my business since I’ve started, and the clients I’ve been able to work with. I’m where I am today business-wise due to a whole lot of drive and dedication – and a true love for interior design! I could geek out about the importance of our surroundings all day long – so providing that to families and business owners is really fulfilling for me. I wouldn’t say this has been easy – I juggled two jobs on the side of my own business when I started out, have spent many (many!) late nights working, and really gave up having a personal life for quite some time – but I can’t imagine it being other way. Anything worthwhile takes dedication, hard work, and drive – especially having your own business! I’ve learned along the way to not sweat the small stuff, to have compassion with myself and others when mistakes are made, and to value those that value you – whether that’s a client, a vendor, a contractor, you name it. I want the world to know it can be scary to pursue your passion but its so worth it – take the plunge, find a way to feel secure and stable throughout that plunge, give it your all, prepare for long nights, and know it’s going to be so worth it.
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?
Any beach in Bird Rock, La Jolla – these are my favorite beaches in all of San Diego. Hands down we’d go to Wayfarer (also in Bird Rock) for anything and everything – pastries in the morning, sandwiches for lunch, and pizza for dinner. I have a deep obsession for that place! Birds Eye Kitchen in Leucadia is one of my all-time favorite dinner spots – or The Plot in Oceanside! I had the pleasure of designing this space recently and it’s seriously some of my favorite food in all of San Diego… and it’s vegan. So you can stuff your face and not feel an ounce of guilt. Lastly, Carruth in Little Italy – the best little spot for some wine and cheese.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
A few people come to mind that deserve a whole lot of credit and recognition related to my story. I was connected with a very experienced and talented designer named Faye Fentin through my previous job – she lent out a helping hand and was a mentor to me as I started out and was so kind in helping to answer any questions that came up throughout my first year of working on my own. I also reached out to various local designers that I followed and looked up to – Jessica Rose of Rose Studio Interiors was so helpful, invited me to various networking events with other designers, and was another great source of information and help. Lastly, Vanessa Matsalla of Studio Matsalla – Vanessa was the first and only other designer I worked for before branching off on my own and I learned a whole lot about the ins and outs of the interior design business from her. She referred my first few clients to me, taught me so much about this business and supported me as I started out on my own. I am forever grateful to each of these women, and many more who’ve helped me along the way!
Leo Nail Salon – Amber Thrane Cool Cats Project – Amber Thrane Crystal Sands Project – Jessica Alexander Neptune Ave. Project – Samantha Goh The Plot – Lucianna McIntosh Robbins Ranch Project – Samantha Goh