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Interview with Founder and Creative Director of SMAKK Studios, Katie Klencheski

by
Karine

I had the privilege of interviewing Katie (wearing our Apron Dress above), founder and Creative Director of SMAKK Studios, a wonderful Brooklyn-based creative agency. Their mission is to connect brands and people through remarkable experiences, and their work is truly phenomenal. Read on to hear more about why Katie started SMAKK and what keeps her inspired.

Please introduce yourself!

Hi! I’m Katie Klencheski. I’m a creative director, and 7 years ago I founded SMAKK Studios, an agency with a focus on branding, digital, and content work for beauty, skincare, fashion, and ecommerce companies making the world a better place.

Tell us about a project you’re most proud of. What was the scope of the project? How did you get connected with the client?

Yikes! So many! Most recently we worked with Two Blind Brothers, a brand that gives all its proceeds to cure blindness. We revamped their brand, and e-commerce website, won a couple awards, and most importantly, helped with their amazing cause.

This Grace Codding quote has always resonated with me:  “Always keep your eyes open. Keep watching. Because whatever you see can inspire you.”

What inspired you to start your own creative agency?

The connection between the things that we consume and their impact on the world and our communities is something that has always been very top of mind for me. Early in my career I recognized that the work I was doing, branding and marketing, is very powerful. It drives people to make purchasing decisions – for better or worse. I started SMAKK because I wanted to create a studio that was harnessing that power to help brands doing good in the world.

I love what we do at SMAKK, every project is an opportunity to use creativity to find new ways to tell stories and engage with people. Our team has amazing capacity to build strategies to connect our clients with their audiences, make gorgeous creative that gives brands robust storytelling platforms, and our ecommerce team drives tremendous growth. It feels great to put that to work behind brands we believe in – that are sourcing products responsibly, empowering communities, and thoughtfully contributing to a healthier, more environmental sound model of consumption.

Katie on her morning bike ride

Where do you like to look for inspiration?

I think half of my job is just to see and read and absorb as much as I possibly can. I rarely get good ideas just staring at a computer screen so I find that it's important to make sure I get out of the office. A walk and a change of scenery are sometimes all I need to shift perspectives, so I push myself to make time for a museum or a long bike ride next to the river.

This Grace Codding quote has always resonated with me:  “Always keep your eyes open. Keep watching. Because whatever you see can inspire you.”

Sometimes I’m looking for inspiration for an immediate creative challenge, other times I’m just keeping an eye open for the future. I’m constantly taking photos of odd little things, adding to my massive library of Pinterest inspiration boards, capturing visuals and quotes, or little graphical moments I want to remember for future projects.

I love what we do at SMAKK, every project is an opportunity to use creativity to find new ways to tell stories and engage with people. 

The philosophy that drives And Comfort is the idea of finding delight in the everyday. What’s something that brings you delight?

I love that! I’m a big believer in small rituals – on my morning bike ride to work, I do a daily gratitude meditation while I ride (eyes open) that always puts me in a good mood by time I get to the studio. Also, the two dogs in our office, Penny (my baby) and Mickey, make everyday awesome. It’s really hard to have a bad day at work when there’s a puppy snuggling on your lap.