We are a group of creative people who help organizations make their ideas beautiful.
It’s easy to be intimidated by Cat Schmitz.
We first encountered the multi-hyphenate wunderkind—a technologist, artist, design professor, and too many other things to mention here—when she was leading a project for another client. We instantly found her to be whip-smart, talented, and creative in a way that makes it all look easy. But over the course of working with her, we found ourselves feeling some type of way. Not intimidated…but enamored.
So when Cat told us she’d be shifting her focus to officially launch her namesake surface design line, we raised our hands to help (and for hi-fives, naturally).
Cat Schmitz (the human) had been working on building Cat Schmitz (the brand) for some time as a side-project, but she was ready to make it her main hustle. She already had an embarrassment of riches on her side: a loyal following, a slew of sales, and a studio filled with unabashedly joyful prints and patterns just begging to be photographed.
What did she need from us? Focus.
As most creative types know, it’s much easier to make design decisions for a client than it is for yourself. “Yourself” has a lot of baggage. Strings attached. You’re too close to it. You’re…you.
So Cat asked us to take a look from the outside and dial in on what Cat Schmitz (the brand) could and should be—what product lines to include, when to release each rollout, and how to present herself to the world.
Turns out, the brand and the human aren’t that far apart.
During a strategic intake session, we dug deep into what it is that makes Cat tick. And what we found was…well, all the squiggly, gooey human stuff that makes most of us tick. But in a more unapologetic, cozy, comfy, uninhibited way.
We also found that we weren’t alone in being part of the Cat Schmitz Fan Club. Already, her work had inspired literal squee-moments from friends, fans and followers alike. People had been stopped on the street while wearing her designs. Shoppers had stood mesmerized in front of her artwork.
So, after sitting with our findings (and a lot of feelings) for a while, we decided that no brand bearing Cat Schmitz’s name should stray too far from this stuff. It should be inspiring but not out-of-reach. Thoughtful, but not too-cool. Bold and bright, but not toxically positive. In short, it should be all the things that made us want to be part of her project—and her World.
Thus, the World Of Cat was born.
The World of Cat is a place where you can express what you are, and not worry about how it looks from the outside—or, god forbid, if it “matches”. A place populated by comfort objects for grownups. A place where you’re allowed to be a little loud, a little much, a little extra. A place where everyone’s invited, and there’s really only one rule: if you feel it, follow it.
What does such a world look like?
Our team of intrepid design explorers dug deep inside themselves and found a lot of compelling answers to that question.
Answers that alluded to the squiggly, squirmy feelings we’ve all felt—and the shapes in Cat’s designs.
Answers that felt like a warm blanket we all wanted to nest under.
Answers that felt like they came from your coolest friend’s apartment.
And lots more besides.
It was…kind of a lot. It was kind of loud. It was kind of extra.
Cat loved it.
And though each option spoke to her, in the end, one path felt undeniably Cat—which was really all we wanted in the first place.
Once Cat had that moment of recognition, we crammed all our hearts, souls and physical bodies into an airplane to New York to make it real.
What is the World Of Cat made of?
• Tiny shoes
• Regular-sized shoes
• Twisty telephone cords
• Custom manicures
• Beach sand
• Shaggy rugs
• Puffy quilts
• A singular carousel horse
• Umbrellas of varying sizes
• Friendships (new and old)
We played around and got goofy, merging our team with some of Cat’s closest compadres to capture her world IRL. Then we all went and did karaoke. Because karaoke, like Cat Schmitz, is about loudly expressing your feelings and letting everybody see what a well of weirdness you have inside you.
And then, there was the photo shoot.
When we came back to St. Louis, we felt like we needed to bottle the experience and make it accessible to everyone. We yearned to make a magic portal into that day, open to everyone, to experience in all five senses. But nobody has invented portals yet, or smell-o-vision, so we settled for a website.
Well, not “settled.” We turned a website into the portal we were dreaming about.
CatSchmitz.com is as much fun, with as many wiggly shapes, and as many unexpected surprises as we could possibly cram into a single URL.
If the internet is a series of tubes, then Cat’s website is a fistful of multicolored pipe cleaners stuck into those tubes.
Cat loved it. We loved it. Cat thanked us for bringing our whole selves to the work. We thanked Cat for making the kind of space where we could do that. We all kind of felt like we had been to a really great therapy session, or one of those things where you use teamwork to climb up onto a platform and then there’s a zip line at the end.
Then we wished Cat good luck as she headed to her fabulous installation at Governor’s Island in New York.
Then people started saying really nice things about Cat Schmitz.
Except they were saying it about Cat Schmitz (the brand).
And that’s how we knew we did our job right.