Jewellery designer Kat Gee’s run of successes continues, this time being named as a finalist in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of The Year Awards.
The 30 year old designer who started Kagi from her kitchen table, has enjoyed what she describes as a ‘whirlwind year’, winning an Icehouse scholarship, being ranked in the Deloitte’s Fast 50, and recognition in the International Pearl Design Awards, all within the past 12 month period.
Kat’s brand Kagi is now the leading brand in New Zealand’s ‘designer jewellery’ segment, with more than 160 stockists Australasia-wide selling her simply stunning and versatile designs.
“It has certainly been a huge year for us,” says Gee.
“It’s such an honour to be recognised as a finalist in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of The Year Awards – it’s such a tribute to the huge amount of work our dedicated Kagi team has put in.
“To win would absolutely be a dream come true, and the first instance we feel very humbled to have been selected,” she said.
After training in jewellery nightschool, Kat Gee got serious in 2006, buying an existing jewellery business, renaming it Kagi (an anagram of her own name) and transforming it into the fast growing and thriving company it is today.
Gee saw that there were strong brands in fine jewellery and costume jewellery, but nothing that sat in between, in the designer space, offering innovative design and good quality, at affordable price-points. This positioning paid off, and she found a ready and willing market both in New Zealand and Australia, achieving double digit growth year on year.
Above all, it is Gee’s infectious drive and enthusiasm that is apparent in all the products she creates, not scared to be the cheerleader for her own brand anywhere and everywhere she goes. This year she even swallowed her nerves and modelled the 2012 Kagi ‘Enchanted’ Collection herself, appearing on a huge Auckland billboard to promote her brand.
“I wanted to show our customers that I am 100% committed to Kagi and the beautiful jewellery that we create,” says Gee. “As such I’m prepared to get out there and sell it with all my heart and soul,” she said.
Ernst and Young will announce category winners on August 27 and the New Zealand winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on October 18.