Feature Story

Designing Her Destiny

February 2, 2016 – by Billie Paulus ’16

OWU fine arts major Kimberly Lewis now designs jewelry and other items for Kate Spade & Company's Adelington Design Group.

OWU’s Kimberly Lewis, Class of 2015, Creates Jewelry for Kate Spade Division

Ask Kimberly Lewis for her best advice, and the Ohio Wesleyan University graduate and jewelry designer offers up this gem: “Do what makes you happy, and work as hard as you can for it.”

Since graduating in May, Lewis, a fine arts major, has been hired by Kate Spade & Company as a jewelry designer. Lewis works for the New York-based company’s Adelington Design Group, which creates jewelry sold by Liz Claiborne, Monet, and other top brands.

Lewis interned for Kate Spade during her junior year at Ohio Wesleyan – with other internship experiences dating back to her junior year in high school.

“I interned for three summers, hoping to major in fashion design,” Lewis says. Toward that end, she first enrolled at Savannah College of Art and Design. But, after a year at the Georgia school, Lewis decided to pursue something different.

“I chose OWU at first because my family had loved it so much,” says Lewis, a legacy student whose parents, Norman ’83 and Martha Nunn Lewis ’83, and maternal grandparents, William ’44 and Gwendolyn Nunn ’44, all graduated from Ohio Wesleyan.

But once on campus, she was able to forge her own unique experience.

“By chance, I took metals in the Fine Arts Department and fell in love with it,” she says. “The art program at OWU is such a community, and my professors were incredibly encouraging.”

As a professional designer, Lewis has designed four main projects so far, all of which were released in stores June 2015. Currently, she is designing gift projects (coasters, wine-stoppers, and charms) for the May market. “When we’re not in the design process,” she says, “we are preparing for the design process.”

“It’s been a great experience,” Lewis continues. “I get all the benefits of working for Kate Spade, but my company is small so I am able to gain a lot of hands-on experience.”

Occasionally, she and her colleagues are sent out of the office for “inspiration days,” during which they shop at different retailers to get ideas. “What I love most about my company is how it nurtures creativity, and that it provides a lot of opportunities to travel.”

Long term, Lewis hopes to move into a creative director position, where she has the opportunity to direct a brand and lead a team with her own vision.

“But, I am happy right now where I am,” she says. “Success for me is more a mindset than an achievable goal.”

Lewis says she believes she earned her Kate Spade job offer as a result of her strong internship experiences and high grade point average.

“The human resources office for Kate Spade was impressed that I had so many past internship experiences,” says Lewis, an OWU summa cum laude alumna whose campus involvement included the Student Art Board, Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Society, and Gamma Sigma Alpha Honor Society.

 Her advice for students in the job search process is to have a clear goal. “Be motivated,” Lewis says. “Tell the company how passionate you are about the opportunity you are applying for.”

Ultimately, the designer says, “It’s all about being confident in the decisions you made in college and being confident about applying them to the real world.”