By: Alyssa Curran
Caitlin’s studio is a designer’s paradise: vining plants, antique furniture, abstract artwork framed with gold leaf, and fanned paintbrushes floating in glass jars. “I was bored with my floors,” she tells me. “So, I got down on my hands and knees and started painting.” Now a bold black and white checkerboard, she has created a sanctuary of clean lines.
Her personality matches aesthetic – bright, sharp and expressive. Caitlin talked emphatically about art school, graduate school and starting a design career in New York. We discussed her experiences working for large brands including Betsey Johnson, Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta and Abercrombie and Fitch, and discussed the ups-and-downs of launching her own brand here in Nashville, Cash Color.
You’ve worked with several top-rated brands. How did these experiences lead to your starting Cash Color?
I loved the fast-paced world of fashion and design when I was living in New York, with brands like Oscar de la Renta, and in Ohio, at the Abercrombie and Fitch Headquarters. I was immersed in the entire process, from concept and design to distribution. My favorite part of the work was to concept with my team: building a mood board and choosing fresh colors, patterns and themes each season. It was invigorating work.
I moved to Nashville in 2013 with a vision for change and I was ready to go off on my own. Cash Color was born with the hope of carving out a space in the abstract art market here.
What resources and tips can you offer women interested in starting their own businesses?
Transitioning from a huge corporation, where I worked with a massive team, to a team of one was terrifying. I had work, mainly logos and small design projects, but I felt really small when I first started out here. I built my brand with the help of a creative entrepreneurship program called My Own Irresistible Brand. This organization offers an online community where entrepreneurs support each other. We began by carving out our “why”– digging deep by answering questions like, “Why are you working in the arts and how will your pieces serve the community?” One valuable lesson I learned early on was to stick to what I’m good at and hire out the rest, when possible.
You talk about Cash Color as a brand that was built by women for women. Tell me more.
My series, The Love Every Body Collection, is a nod to the body positivity movement. Our gouache, abstract nudes come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. I want women and girls to feel beautiful in their skin. I’m currently pregnant and my body is changing. I want to keep reminding myself and others that a woman’s body is beautiful at every stage. It’s truly amazing what our bodies can do.
Where can we find your work?
From original abstract pieces and commissions to hand-lettering and homewares, you can find my work at art shows throughout the Southeast, local pop-ups, and via our website. Come visit us on June 29 at Porter Flea. Follow along on Instagram: @cash.color.