When Kristen of Lily Kai Vintage invited me into her gorgeous Southwest Atlanta townhome, not only was I honored but blown away at how modern and chic it was. (Especially with a two year old.) The stylist and online boutique owner hails from the west coast injecting her L.A. laid back style into her welcoming Southern pad. Her impeccable style transcends from her closet to her home without missing a beat. Whether she’s running her small business from her new home office or relaxing with family, Kristen proves that you can do either or in style. And when it comes to having it all, she believes that you can have that, too.
You’re so stylish and effortlessly chic. How would you describe your personal style?
Why, thank you! I would describe my personal style as classically chic with a hint of pop! I am big on basics and fit which is what I call classic but something has to be extraordinary about the details and the way I pull it together (chic) and I love color, large handbags, an amazing shoes [which is the] pop!
How did the name and concept of Lily Kai Vintage come about?
Lily Kai Vintage is a hybrid of my mother’s name; Lillie and my middle name Kai. It only made sense to incorporate our names because she is the one who influenced my love of fashion. I changed the spelling of Lillie to the flower – Lily – because to me flowers represent how style blooms over time.
You’ve added a blog to your site recently. How has blogging helped your business?
Style with Kristen Kai has helped Lily Kai immensely. It’s an outlet for me to express myself. Whether I’m attending an event, rambling about fashion, hanging out with family or highlighting Lily Kai Vintage I feel it allows people to see who I am as a person and honestly that’s what I feel has helped grow my business. People want to feel connected to something and support people they like. I’ve been blessed to do that and make wonderful clients and friends along the way!
Thrifting and vintage shopping has become such a trend for the last couple of years. What are your tips for incorporating vintage pieces into your wardrobe?
I’ll use this as an opportunity to speak to the person who is a little leery on purchasing vintage.
With accessories – jewelry, handbags, scarves etc. – this is a great way to add something special to your outfit without wearing head to toe vintage.
Find pieces that are close to your current style. Don’t try to go so far out the box where the item you find isn’t authentic to your personality.
Wearing vintage isn’t about looking like your dressing for a Halloween party but about owning a treasure that was meant just for you. It’s a creative and stylish way to ensure your personality is reflected in your appearance and the bonus you’ll be the only one rocking it!
What’s the best vintage piece you’ve ever purchased?
Ok, so it’s hard to narrow it down to just one so I’ll cheat a little and give three. A pair of earrings I purchased from Steffano’s in Little 5 Points (while visiting ATL on business), a Leoanrd top I purchased in Seattle when visiting my in-laws and beautiful layered necklace that I bought on one of my LKV shopping trips; it was too amazing to part with.
You’re originally from Los Angeles. How has your style changed since you’ve moved to Atlanta?
Oh my goodness. This has been pretty tough. I am very much a Cali girl. I’m not interested in cold weather and that has been the biggest adjustment. I own more coats and sweaters than I’ve ever had in my life!
I will say oddly enough it hasn’t been the move that has altered my style more than just life itself. I’m probably more casual in my day-to-day than ever before because I’m now a wife, mother and I work from home. Unless I’m meeting with clients or scouting for LKV I find there to be no point to get dressed ?
Your skin is fantastic and it’s hard not to envy your hair. What three beauty items can’t you live without?
It’s funny because I’m so low maintenance when it comes to skin care products. However, I’m a nut about my hair. For my skin I cleanse with Cetaphil facewash and moisturize with Cetaphil during the day and vitamin E oil in the evening. Once a week I scrub with St. Ives apricot scrub (I know so old school, but it works for me).
On [my] hair, I can’t live without my hydrator and Express Instant Moisturizing Conditioner by Design Essential and although I’ve challenged myself with keeping heat off my hair for six months, I cannot and will not live without my stylist Belinda Baker…one word: AMAZING!
How do you spend your Saturdays?
Hanging with my two favorite guys in the whole wide world… the Hubby and Buddy. If we aren’t running errands (shopping, on a home project mission or playing Thomas the Train) we are hanging with family watching sports and eating. I live a very simple and enjoyable life. As long as my family is around I am one happy girl!
As a mom and a wife, how do you find time to balance it all? Do you believe we can have it all?
Wow! All I can say there isn’t enough time in the day but I am lucky to have an amazing husband who is hands on in our household and as a father. Also, I try not to stress myself out. I’ve learned it’s not the end of the world if something doesn’t get done. I set realistic goals for myself and go from there. So yes, I believe we can have it all.
How do you live what you love?
I live what I love by staying true to who I am, challenging myself to be better in every way, loving my family and making no apologies for my blessings and doing this all with style. Lily Kai…where style is always in full bloom.