Fort Worth blogger and influencer Katey McFarlan has partnered with home decor manufacturer MacKenzie-Childs to create a line of products.
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Chronicles of Frivolity
Who: Katey McFarlan
What: A ceramic collection for MacKenzie-Childs designed by Fort Worth blogger and influencer Katey McFarlan.
Fort Worth’s Katey McFarlan started a lifestyle blog in 2013 called Chronicles of Frivolity, which “embraces all things beautiful and uplifting,” according to the blogger and influencer. McFarlan also has a deep connection with Aurora, New York-based MacKenzie-Childs, a home decor brand and manufacturer of ceramics, that dates back to her childhood.
Now, the blogger and the juggernaut brand are debuting the exclusive MacKenzie-Childs x Katey McFarlan Ceramic Collection. Created in collaboration with McFarlan, the limited-edition Made in Aurora ceramic collection is the first line created outside of the MacKenzie-Childs design family.
All of the pieces — a bud vase, spoon rest and berry bowl — capture the essence of McFarlan’s vision while adding a fresh twist to MacKenzie-Childs’ signature checks with a brand new sponge pattern, said Rebecca Proctor, chief brand officer and creative director of MacKenzie-Childs.
“The series is a celebration of artistic collaboration, storytelling and exceptional design, and it’s an honor for us to introduce the series with Katey McFarlan, a lifelong supporter of the brand,” Proctor said.
The collection is now available for sale online, with the bud vase retailing for $148, the spoon rest for $88, and the berry bowl for $78.
The Fort Worth Report’s Bob Francis spoke with McFarlan about moving from the blog space into design.
Francis: Tell me about your connection with MacKenzie-Childs.
McFarlan: My connection to MacKenzie-Childs dates back to my childhood, when my dad gifted my mom one piece every year for Christmas. When we were little, my dad would always ask, “What do we get your mom?” My mom said, “Why don’t we just start a tradition and we can collect something?” That was MacKenzie-Childs. Then it evolved and we started going to New York for Christmas and going to the Mackenzie-Childs store, so that he could find more pieces. It kind of became this yearly hunt for our family of finding mom’s gift. I just remember Christmas Eve, going shopping with my dad at the Mackenzie-Childs store in New York, and then walking over to the church service after — and it was just a really sweet thing that we’ve all shared.
Francis: Tell me how you got involved with designing this collection with MacKenzie-Childs.
McFarlan: I have been blogging since 2013. MacKenzie-Childs has been a huge part, in that I’ve always taken inspiration from my mom and my grandmothers, and they are avid fans of the brand. In 2018, I was able to go to Aurora, where (the brand’s) headquarters is, with my mom. They did a Camp MacKenzie-Childs with some bloggers and influencers. When I came back, I was just really struck by the depth of the brand. I think when you go to Aurora you see this come to life. And the vision that they have for everyone having a little bit of whimsy in their home, and how they can incorporate that no matter their personal style and no matter what home means to them.
So, working with my agency, I said I’d really love to do a line with MacKenzie-Childs. But they hadn’t done that before. So we kind of just worked towards that and seeing if they would ever be open to it. Last year, they said they were, so we started polling my audience, asking them what is something that they’re wanting to purchase from the collection?
I am a 30-something millennial, and I feel like my generation really grew up on Laura Ashley and all these really soft brands. I wanted to kind of infuse those things together. And we started getting to work on design, and it was just a really exciting process to do with their entire team.
Francis: Had you done work in design before?
McFarlan: My background is in PR, and then I have blogged for 10 years, and so I had not done design work before. But my sister (Kirsten McFarlan) went to TCU for graphic design. She has worked on a lot of design projects before, and MacKenzie-Childs was really great to work with. I dedicated the three pieces to my mom and my grandmothers — as the most important women in my life — but my sister is also the other most important woman in my life. (MacKenzie-Childs) allowed her to kind of design it with me. I knew the design elements I wanted, and I was able to take that. Then my sister is truly the brains of the design … then, working with the Mackenzie-Childs artists — and they brought it all to life. It was a huge collaborative process. I was really grateful that they allowed me to work with my sister because I can’t sketch anything myself, but she can do it all.
Francis: Tell me a little bit about your blog and your audience.
McFarlan: I started blogging when I was in my early 20s. My audience has grown with me. I am very thankful for that because I started as a girl sharing fashion looks. Now, my life is a lot about trips I take with my kids, and what I’m making for dinner, and what I’m gifting them for their birthdays. But the core of Chronicles of Frivolity is that all these things are frivolous … but whether it’s finding the perfect gift, or knowing how to organize something in your home, these little bits of frivolity can … create a lot more margin in your life for other things.
The core of my audience is the 30- to 40-something working mom with two or three kids and they … have such limited time for themselves that they’re wanting to have those ideas. I also have a great audience of women my mother’s age and grandmother’s … My sister is eight years younger than me, and so I have some fresh college graduate readers, too. I think the ultimate Chronicles of Frivolity reader just knows that — while all this is frivolous and you don’t necessarily need it — it’s really fun to have in your home the organized pieces to put on a charcuterie board and … seem like you’ve had a lot more time than you really did to present this and have friends over and host.
Francis: How did you come up with the concept for your designs?
McFarlan: I think just being based in Texas I have a big southern audience. They never go somewhere empty handed. I wanted to do something that could be purposeful and sentimental and … a splurge worthy gift. So whether they added (one of the pieces) to their current collection or decor or … were going to take it to a bridal shower, it would work. I wanted to keep the price point and size at the forefront and maybe, hopefully, one day this (line) can expand into larger pieces.
Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.