In Conversation with Badass Babe – Clumsy Kate
Published: 10th July 2019
Badass Babe Clumsy Kate is retro-inspired print designer who uses tattoo and mid-century influences when creating fun, colourful tees and accessories. Her products are limited, and all made in her my studio in Stamford, UK. Clumsy & Lady K Loves have been hanging out for years. From a live painting session at a tiki art show, to regularly having stands next to each other at vintage fairs like Bettina Scarlet Presents Mid Century Market. The art work for our colab range of retro inspired positive feminist slogans Badass Babe tee’s came straight from Kate’s brain. Clumsy is someone who is ever the champion for smaller businesses and creative type. So much so she created a book Small Biz Straight Talk.
If you want to add a little colour to your instagram feed, give her a follow. She’s a woman running her own creative business, and an all-round badass babe, so we were excited to have a chat with her.
How did you start Clumsy?
I’ve always been creative so it was natural that I would have my own creative biz. I’ve been using the name Clumsy for over 15 years (I first used it at uni). My current design style now and the products I create come from a love of 50s and 60s design. For years I was working for alternative clothing companies like Criminal Damage, Collectif Clothing and Banned apparel, then changed direction in my day job to work as a more commercial designer. I wanted to do my own alternative prints in my own time, with no restrictions or briefs, from other people, so my business became more print focussed. I started designing tees about 4 years ago when I realised I was designing tees all day for the high street, so why wasn’t I designing tees for me too?
Where did the name come from?
I’m basically the clumsiest person on earth. One of my best mates at uni called me Clumsy and it stuck.
Your art work is fun and retro inspired. How do you keep inspired and keep motivated?
To be honest I find it very hard sometimes. I suffer from anxiety and occasionally depression and this can affect my creative output sometimes. But then I look at all the other Badass Babes out there, doing different things; My close friend who had a kidney transplant and went on to win gold at Archery at the Transplant Games, awe inspiring small business owners whom I’ve met through Instagram, or even my own mum. All these people inspire me to pick myself up when I feel blue, and do what I do best… Create stuff.
How did you get into creating artwork?
I’ve been creative since I was a kid. My mum is an artist. So it’s just natural to me. My boyfriend is an artist too and we are both constantly creating. I can’t really function if I’m not creating something. I’m a designer in my day job too so it’s just constant for me!
What does Badass Babe mean to you?
Someone who overcomes obstacles to bring good to the world; A cancer sufferer who inspires others by documenting their struggle on social media, an artist who strives to help others get their work out there, or a small business owner who works against the odds and helps others as they go. These sorts of people inspire me. But really anyone can be a Badass Babe. I guess when we started the Badass babe project in my mind that person was ‘female’ but as I’ve become more aware of gender and gender fluidity I think that anyone can be a Badass babe. It’s not about gender as such, it’s about breaking out from any restriction put upon you by society, and saying “screw that” and carving your own path.
Your Instagram profile is bright and bold, where does this love of colour come from?
I’ve always been into colour. Life is too short to be dull. When I was in my early teens I used to say my favourite colour was grey. I think I was just trying to rebel. It didn’t last long. By 16 I’d painted my bedroom orange. I love to be surrounded by colour, it makes my heart sing.
Do you have any tips for people wanting to start their own business?
So many tips I wrote a book on it called Small Biz Straight Talk. Last year I was made redundant and I put together a short course for my other colleagues facing redundancy. How to start and run a creative business. In turn they encouraged me to turn it into a book. I guess the biggest tip I’d give people is to be passionate about what you do. It will take over your life, so if you don’t love it, you are going to be miserable!