Career Series 2014: Kollen Kilduff of Design by Night Accessories

Welcome to Ms. Charm’s Career Series 2014!



Tis’ the season for graduations. It is the time that many young people think about what should I do for the rest of my life and how can I turn my interests into a career. Not too long ago, I was in the same shoes trying to figure out what career I wanted to pursue.

I am happy to bring you inspiring interviews during the month of May of  local fashionistas with boosting careers!

Ever wondered what it takes to be a professional hair accessories artist? Well, meet Kollen Kilduff of Design of Night Accessories.
Her Design By Night business isn’t all about her handmade hair accessories. She creates easy to follow crafty tutorials that any one can make with a few items.


She is what I like to call a “Craftinista”.


Kolleen Kilduff  (in the black attire) of Design by Night Accessories.
Kolleen Kilduff (in the black attire) of Design by Night Accessories.

What inspired you to start your own business?

I had made a few feather hair accessories for myself to wear and people would compliment me on them. I started to make them for friends and family, then a friend of a friend, and it just grew from there.

What did you do to prep for owning your own business?

Sad to say I did not prep at all. I just jumped in and started crafting only thinking of the aesthetics of what I was making and not if it was profitable or if my process was efficient or not. Luckily my husband is a very organized guy and he saw me spinning my wheels and he helped me come up with a plan to be creative and profitable.


Who was your first client? What do you remember about making your first piece for Design by Night?

My first real client was a sale on Etsy. I had made so many accessories that I just couldn’t wear them all so my friend Jill from Jill Popowich Designs suggested I put some on Etsy so I did. They sold immediately and I was so excited. To this day I get excited when I sell any items and I love when I am just out and about and I see someone wearing my work.


Describe a typical week or describe the tasks you encounter on a daily basis.

Design by Night is actually not just a name it is a description of when I work. I still work a day job as an Art Director but when I come home every night I start creating. Design by Night is doing so well that my husband Mike has been helping me for the past few years. We keep a spread sheet on inventory so every night we look at the sheet and figure out what we are making that night.

What has been your best career defining moment? If you have more than one, feel free to share more.

I’m not sure I really have one. In someways I am like a little kid and every sale is a defining moment…it’s kind of like when your grade school teacher picked your drawing as the best in class and hung it up on the board. Every time someone wants one of my pieces that is the way I feel.


What are some challenges you have encountered throughout your career?

The biggest challenge I have is balancing the business with the creative. I enjoy the creative process but loathe the business aspect of it (paper work, taxes, ect.)

What are three tips you would give to aspiring Etsy owner/accessories designer?

Try to get organized from the beginning. Keep a spread sheet for monthly of sales and purchases it will make your life easier in the long run. Note what shows you do and write yourself little notes on the venue and if the show was profitable or not. Inventory your supplies and product so at any time you can see what you have in stock easily without digging through things. But the best advice is to make something you love to create!

Learn more about Design by Night and how to intern below: