10 WITH A 10: KAREN KING

10 with a 10.
Every Monday.
You know the drill.

Except all this month, I'll be previewing a few women who are exhibiting at One of a Kind alongside Dani Press!

Second up? 
Karen King of Said the King.
I can't remember how we met, but all's I do remember is meeting up right when the Cadillac Lounge opened one day, ordering two pints and getting on like gangbusters.
It was very, "You're straight up? I'm straight up? DONE. This'll be easy."
What I appreciate about her that also directly bleeds into her brand is the no bullshit approach. She is always ready to call it like it is, ask the tough questions, admit her shortcomings and be entirely unafraid when doing any of that stuff.
I would highly applaud you stopping by Booth X34 to meet her, but for now, read on!

1. What do you do and what does it give to people?

I run a home goods business called Said the King. It’s a series of goods – pillowcases, plates, bowls, shelves, coasters – that are mostly text-focused with a pared-down aesthetic.

The spirit of the brand is simple: Do what you want + surround yourself with awesome, always. Because fuck it – you rule.

I’ve also been working with my partner on his business, BLK LAB Motorcycles. He designs and makes badass motorcycle mod kits while I just try to keep up.

2. What's a piece of advice you consistently find yourself giving out but find hard to take yourself?

You’re killin’ it. Keep it up and there’s no way you’ll fail.

Which is super easy to tell all my incredible business-owning lady friends, but harder to tell myself.
The related mantra I need to keep on repeat is Do the work. For me that means 2 things:

1) Complete the shit out of my most important tasks. Even slow progress is progress.

2) Even a dream job can feel like work. When it does, see point 1.

3. How do you rely on others to make you better?

There are so many young, kickass entrepreneurial people I look to as proof of what can be done. They pump me up and keep me grounded. And I don’t even mean my insta crushes – I mean friends and people in my actual life, all of whom are all too ready to share advice, resources, and a beer.

I also listen to a lot of podcasts while I work, so the people behind them are a continuous source of betterment. My top, top business podcast right now is the Fizzle Show, followed by Invisible Office Hours. Plus 99% Invisible, Radiolab, Hidden Brain, and the TED Radio hour for general entertainment. Oh – and I just found Star Talk with Neil deGrasse Tyson. And obviously a dozen more. I frickin’ love podcasts. 

4. Someone gives you 50 mill. What's the FIRST way your life changes?

To give you some context, I’m answering these questions on the couch in the houseboat we just bought and now live on. There’s ducks quacking their faces off a few feet away and my cat and dog are snoozing like nobody’s business. So maybe this is unimaginative, but I would do more of the same, but better.

I’d pay off my debt, my partner’s debt, buy my mom a house, take my dad on an awesome trip, and do something real nice for my in-laws. I’d hire some help for both of our businesses to free us up to work on the new stuff we’ve had in our heads forever and I’d spend more time on fun brand-building activities like creating content and collaborating.

Basically I’d stop the short term pay-the-bills hustle and focus on my long game.

I’m sure a lot of people would have a grander answer, but this last year has been full of big changes. It’s been tough, but awesome, but tough(!) but it feels right. So why not do more of it, you know?

5. What has compelled you forward more than anything else?

Circumstance and an air of ‘alright, let’s do this’. Or at least, that’s how it started. Now it’s an ambition to create this thing that people can bring home, get behind, and share. That and a real sense of feels-right-ness.

6. Do you like when people ask you, "Where do you want to be in 5 years?"

No. It makes me panicky like I should have an insightful, lofty answer tucked neatly into my back pocket.
But I don’t.

Also, 5 years is an infinitely long time and short time so the time-scale of it all makes my head spin. I’ve heard that people are generally bad at foreseeing their future. We assume we won’t change as much as we do, so instead I’m working on laying out some near-future goals and personal rules and I’ll just see where that takes me.  

7. If someone was handed a script of your inner dialogue this week, what would it say? 

Since we moved to the marina in the Scarborough Bluffs it’s all:
How is this my life?
Did we find a loophole?
Look at that sunrise.
Look at that swan.
Don’t fall off the dock.
What kind of bubblers do we need?
What the hell’s a honey wagon?
Are we ready for winter?

Then I snap back to:
OMG, One of a Kind is SO soon.
Am I on track?
Do I have time to push out this new thing?
Do I have enough stock?
Is my product selection enough?
What’s on my to-do list?
How am I going to juggle everything I’ve taken on? 

Then it's back to:
Oh look, a goose.
What’s he doing? 

8. Are you spontaneous?

In my mind, yes. But actually, no. 

9. Are you failing differently each time?

When I’m down in the weeds I’m failing in different ways all the time, but I’m also realizing that if I step back my failings have reoccurring trends. And knowing is half the battle, right? The other half is learning to see it before it happens and developing new, better habits.
I’ll keep you posted on that front. 

10. Paul Newman or Robert Redford? 

I’m inclined to say Robert Redford, but I don’t know either that well so my answer is Kevin Spacey if the question is about stellar work and Charlie Hunnam (only with an American accent) if the question is about insane hotness.
Specifically, in Sons of Anarchy.
I can’t.
Even.