Kelly Reid – New York

When I decided to forge ahead and get my networking hat on, to track down subjects for these New York interviews, Kelly Reid was at the top of my list. A year or so ago I had spotted a little mention about her Brooklyn based leather handbag line; Reid Damnit in a Frankie Magazine, which had led me to hunt her down online and subsequently post about her.  Luckily for me, she is not only supremely nice she is also really well connected and it was on her referral that many other interviews were made possible.

I arrived at the front door of her tidy little brick duplex in a bit of a lather. The wisdom of my iPhone maps app had me walk the “long way” via an industrial, noisy and slightly dodgy route. But my marathon was rewarded with us sitting down to chat over a delicious little pie and colourful parrots (to my total surprise!) flitting around outside her window.  With her beautiful strawberry blonde curls, pixie face and red lips she looked every inch the Brooklyn based creative. Fresh, sparky and totally unique.

Kelly lives in an apartment on the top floor of a compact 3 storied building, typical of the East Williamsburg streets in her area. Everything was so supremely tidy and ordered and like most apartments in NYC, spaces are required to have multiple “personalities”. The kitchen table, while perfect for our pie eating, was also a hardy surface used for cutting leather. Beside the sofa was a wall of inspiration, to-do lists and an industrial sewing machine with metal storage drawers tucked beside. Her lovely light filled bedroom and its cupboards stored her clothes, rolls of leather, prototype bags, belts and aprons. So much going on, but so incredibly ordered! (made me blush when thinking about the sprawling mess I live in…)

In 2002 Kelly struck off from Stratford, Taranaki for London with the singular aim to work for Peter Gordon – something she actually achieved gaining a position at The Providores for 2 years. With her Visa rapidly running out she began looking at the globe and planning on her next move, but her connections jumped in and she was invited to go to New York with top chef Brad Farmerie to assist in the setup of Public in Nolita, Manhattan. She was part of the establishment for 3.5 years before moving on and now works at the super popular Marlow and Son’s in Williamsburg.
So at this point, we have established that Kelly Reid is somewhat of a foodie and fine dining service veteran. But all this proves to me is that she is one focused, motivated woman who has worked full time while indulging her creative brain on a project which has led to her own burgeoning business.

The first seed of Reid Damnit was planted when she popped into a Lower East Side fabric store and on a whim took home a parcel of leather which she wrestled into the form of a wallet. Friends loved it and started to put in their orders, which she obliged and began to experiment with technique and form. Now Kelly is no novice in the design stakes. She studied Fashion and Design at Wellington Polytech and one of her first jobs was Visual Merchandising for Country Road, all providing her with a solid basis of technical skills to plough ahead and indulge what was quickly becoming an obsession! Between YouTube tutorials and buying, then pulling apart bags to examine their construction she progressed and perfected her own designs to set up her Etsy store and brand Reid Damnit in 2008.

With the help of Jessica Goldfond of The Shiny Squirrel (who picked her up in 2010) Reid Damnit bags and belts are now stocked in stores across the West Coast, Canada and strong online sales through her Etsy store. All this achieved while still working 5 nights a week at a busy top notch restaurant.
I think it’s fair to say that Kelly and her brand are on the precipice of hitting the big time! And oh so deserving of it! I personally would LOVE to see her work stocked down under!

Kelly + NYC 101:

Lives : East Williamsburg, Brooklyn

What she loves the most about NYC: 
-it is ever evolving and changing
-such a positive city !
-endlessly meeting like-minded people

What she misses most about NZ:
-the ocean
-favourite junk foods eg: crunchie bars and burger rings

Favourite NYC haunts:  
Marlow and Son’s
Atlantis Attic – thrift store
White Castle – awesome fast food with “sliders” which are tiny burgers
Variety Café
Bakeri Café
– rooftop at the Wythe Hotel.

What I learnt from Kelly:
Good ideas are supported by hard work, a reliable income and a wicked smile.
They do not fly on their own.

Pay them a visit – they got the GOODNESS!
Citta Design
Triumph & Disaster

Yes ..but wait there is more!!

You can win yourself one of these gorgeous Reid Damnit wallets worth US $85 and allll you have to do is tell me in the comments below if you would like it in Forest, Wine or Gold! We have one of each to giveaway!!

(just note that if you visit the Reid Damnit Etsy store you will notice is closed at the moment while Kelly is on holiday in NZ. Sign up so you get the notificiation when it opens again!)

Wine = Melita
Gold = Prue
Forest = Michaela

Thanks to everyone for entering!!!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
This entry was posted in fashion, fly the coop, new zealand and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Kelly Reid – New York

  1. Sally says:

    OOOhhh what a difficult decision all colours are gorgeous! I Guess it would come down to the gold or green. Okay the gold it is! I love it! Fingers and toes all crossed. x

  2. Pingback: Flying the Coop | REID.DAMNIT

  3. Ju B says:

    Hey Ju, I am LOVING all these NYC posts. Keep up the good work!!!!! x

  4. Daisy says:

    Oh so beautiful…..the gold one would match my sparkly unicorn ! x

  5. Abbie says:

    Oooh I love the wine colour, that would be my pick!!

  6. Sarah says:

    Awesome round up Ju – loving the gold, perfect hit of colour for summer x

  7. carina says:

    ohhhhh…the gold number would be amazing!!!

  8. michaela says:

    I feel a bit panicked, the choices are all so yummy I have found it hard to pick just one! It’s a hard decision but I’d go the forest green 🙂

  9. Nadia says:

    Wine 🙂

  10. Amy Sloss says:

    Hi ju

    The posts about NYC are awesome!!! Makes me desperate to go back there!!!!

    Would love any colour but probably gold is my fav!

    X x

  11. Ellie says:

    What an interesting gal and a great read. It’s a hard choice… I would love to win the green one, fingers crossed!

  12. Prue says:

    GOLD! I have a lovely new scarf that will go perfectly! Great write up and awesome comp to boot.

  13. Jo in NZ says:

    These insights into Kiwis’ lives in the Big Apple are so interesting – thank you. It must have taken heaps of work to coordinate the visits. I didn’t see you feature Kelly’s work first time around, and am happy to have found it now!

  14. Kirsty says:


    Loving the NYC blogs and all the creative, inspiring stories.

    Wine would be my colour of choice!


  15. Majka says:

    Hi Julia! What a fantastic concept, this new Fly the Coop interview series! Nice one, for getting the support of three fantastic businesses;)
    LOVE the gold purse! X

  16. Andrea van Schreven says:

    Oh miss Julia – I love these posts! So many inspiring and talented people!!! I think it is essential I have the gold one!!! It is just fabulous! Keep up the awesome posts lady! Xxx

  17. Gina says:

    The wine pouch is awesome!

  18. Kylie says:

    Green Green the Winning Team!
    (tricky decision though, ALL gorgeous and they look like they’d feel lovely)

  19. I just love the gold – seems so NYC to me! Love your writing x

  20. Lisa says:

    I love them all but my favorite is the wine colored one. Such an interesting piece on Kelly! Makes me want to go explore Brooklyn…such a cool place! (former NYker in the house!)

  21. Tracey says:

    Wow, i adore the GOLD! Kelly is such a spunky and sparkly lady – you have captured her story beautifully. I always feel inspired after reading your posts, thank you Studio Home xo

  22. Suzanne says:

    Go for GOLD !!

  23. Philippa says:

    What a wonderful inspiring interview! The gold is definitely my favourite, what a stunning colour.

  24. Charlotte McCully says:

    Wine Ju Ju, always wine!!! Miss u xxx

  25. Caroline says:

    Wine oh yes xox

  26. Alex Fulton says:

    Ju – your NYC posts are just the ticket. Great insight to clever-clogs people – loving it.

    I would go for gold. Again well done on everything and can’t wait to see what’s in the pipeline for your future!

    Alex x

  27. Karey Webber says:


  28. Wine would be nice. Very enjoyable read thanks and an inspiring lady.

  29. George Heard says:

    I would Love to win this for the best sister in the world 🙂

  30. Heya, what a cool funky lady and so talented – she makes me proud to be a kiwi! Love <3 the wallets, I'd be happy to have any of them please :)))) Enjoyed reading about Kelly's journey and I wish her all luck for the future!!

  31. frances says:

    gold gold gold!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. mary says:

    Tough choice – but gold it has to be!

  33. Pingback: read all about it | Studio Home

  34. Pingback: Reid Damnit | Studio Home

  35. Neave Griffin says:

    I would love the gold!