It’s with mixed emotions that I sit down to write this post. I was proud to be a part of the Kelbourne Woolens team for over 7 years and it’s been one awesome experience after another. It’s been a truly special place to work. Allow me to share a little bit of what my experience has been like as a team member.
I had just moved to Philadelphia and knew no one except my boyfriend (now husband). I was waiting tables and had enrolled in grad school at Philadelphia University when I decided to give up the frustrating schedule, but easy cash, of restaurant work and focus on a dedicated future in the textile world.
Looking for an internship while at school, my resume found its way to the desks of Kate and Courtney and I got an interview. Due to my complete lack of familiarity with Philly’s very special public transportation system, I showed up to my interview at Kelbourne Woolens’ 200-year old manor house office an hour late. But to my utter surprise (and maybe theirs), Kate and Courtney hired me anyway! They sent me home with a bag of yarn to familiarize myself with all the different lines. I called my mom on the way home over the moon and couldn’t stop taking selfies with the yarn. I could not believe my luck!
Under Kate and Courtney’s guidance and encouragement, I started to design my own garments for yarn collections. I’m notoriously intimidated by math, so this was truly a challenge and one that I continue to work at for every design. But one well-received design begat another, and then another. And my confidence grew. I know that without their support and assistance I would have given up, but they didn’t let me and now I can say that I am a Designer of Knitwear, a title I wear with honor and pride.
Over the years, many travel opportunities arose. The three of us travel well together and we’ve had so much fun in places near and far: Ireland, The Faroe Islands, Germany, Rhinebeck NY, San Diego CA, and much of Ohio. All of these trips, though mostly work-related, have been a blast and I couldn’t have asked for better company to pet sheep, see how a mill operates, or eat a delicious local dinner with.
Let me tell you one anecdote that I’ll take with me always and I think really describes the atmosphere of the office:
My husband and I decided to have a tiny backyard wedding the summer before I finished grad school. We had about a zero-dollar budget. Instead of hiring a photographer, we were just going to ask our guests to take photos with their phones and send us their pics. Kate, Courtney, Maura, and Leah were having none of that, and hired a wedding photographer as their gift to us. It was truly one of the most thoughtful gestures anyone has ever offered. Not only that, the photographers are friends of the company and we are all still in touch (Hello, Batchelors)!
One of the things that I love and will miss is the way we all communicate together. One of us will make a funny, off-the-cuff phrase or comment, and together we will make it a running joke. It’s a way to make the whole office laugh. Hang around for a little bit and you’ll hear one of these phrases pop up. “Making money, making art” is one of my favorites and I think definitely applies. You gotta say this for Kate and Courtney: they know how to make office life fun and a workday enjoyable.
After some soul searching, I’ve decided to accept a position at Jefferson University as an Associate Professor of Textile Design. I get to take all the things I’ve learned while at Kelbourne Woolens and apply it to teaching young budding textile designers. Teaching is something I’ve long wanted to do and though its hard to leave the KW office and the team, I think it’s the right time. I can’t express my gratitude enough to Kate and Courtney for hiring me, teaching me, and ultimately becoming true friends and inspirations.
In the words of our dear friend Leah McGlone, “Goodbye forever, see you never,” which is a cheeky way of saying, “See you soon.”
Next time you see me, remind me to tell you about the time I stole the office cat!
– Meghan Kelly
Editors Note: This is where we would write a long winded letter of gratitude to Meghan and everything she’s done for us beyond being the best addition to our team and keeping KW running for the last seven years: giving us pep talks over burgers and beer, hosting a joint baby shower at our favorite bar, dog sitting, telling stories about the first (and only) zumba class she attended in Chicago, sharing her love of delicious food, and being a wonderful travel companion and buddy.
But then, we’d all cry, and that would be awkward.
Meghan: Thank you. We’re sad to have lost you but SO proud of you. Teach those children well.
Kate and Courtney