DESIGNERS + INSPIRERS :: KELLI MURRAY
We teamed up with four fashionistas who are using their platforms, careers, and lifestyles to inspire women globally. They’re not only rockstars at their day jobs, but their stories and talents have inspired us to chase our dreams, live outside our comfort zone, and make the world a better place. They each designed a piece of jewelry for 31 Bits as a reflection of their stories, creativity and personal style.
Meet Kelli Murray
Kelli is an illustrator, designer and full-time mother of three who owns and designs for a children’s company called Rylee + Cru – inspired by her kids! We’ve been fans of Kelli for years, and so when the opportunity presented itself – we jumped at the chance to collaborate with her. The necklace she designed is whimsical and bohemian, and showcases the neutral flair we’ve come to know and love from Kelli.
Oh, and did we mention it’s available for kiddos too?!
In a few sentences, tell us a little bit about YOU!
I am an illustrator, designer and full time mother of three living in San Diego. I own and design for a children’s clothing company called Rylee + Cru (inspired by my own little ones) that I launched back in 2014. When I’m not working, I love spending time with my kids at the beach, tackling home renovation projects and getting crafty with new DIY ideas!
Tell us about starting Rylee + Cru! What was the inspiration, and how has the journey been?
Prior to having kids, I worked as a graphic designer and merchandiser for a clothing company. But after having my first daughter in 2011 I decided to go freelance and pursue my art for a living so that I could be home with her. I did freelance illustration and design work for various clients and loved the freedom and flexibility it provided me.
Obviously, when you have a a new baby, you quickly get immersed in discovering all things ‘baby’ and for me, I loved discovering new baby brands and cute clothes to buy for her. But I found it really hard to find clothes that were more neutral in color with artwork and prints that really spoke to me. I always had it in the back of my mind that I would love to start my own brand for children, merging my background in fashion design and illustration.
Fast forward three years to 2014, and I launched my first Rylee + Cru collection almost simultaneously with the birth of my second baby, Cru. (note: I wouldn’t advise launching a new business and having a baby at the same time! haha.) It was really just a leap of faith hoping that other people would embrace my designs, and to my complete surprise we sold out of every piece in less than a week! (Social media played a big role in that.) It was at that point that I thought ‘wow, this could really turn into something’.
Since then, we have grown consistently season after season. I partnered with my dad in the business who handles the sales/business side and I handle all the creative. We have a small team of 5 people, each of which have a big role in keeping the business running smoothly. The journey has obviously not been void of hardships and challenges, but with every mistake we learn and grow, and I can’t wait for what the future holds.
Describe your style:
I’d say my personal style is a mix of classic and laid-back bohemian. I tend to be drawn to more neutral, earthy tones but love a good statement accessory.
Fall/Winter trend you’re currently digging:
Oversized jackets and cozy knits (but I think I dig that every fall so…)
Describe the necklace you designed:
I decided to design a necklace that was unique in its design, but that could easily pair with any look. You can’t go wrong with cream and gold in my opinion. The tassel gives it more of a casual vibe so I’d typically pair it with a jeans and tee type of look. But I can also see myself dressing it up with a shift dress and heels for a night out. I love its versatility!
What’s next for you?
Well, I just had a baby so my current #1 goal is finding time to sleep! I somehow forgot how much time and energy those tiny humans take up (however, all worth it!). But aside from finding our new rhythm as a family of 5, I’ve got some really fun collaborations coming up that I am excited to share about (…just can’t yet!).