As the brand makes its way into the next 10 years, Conrad shares her role has changed in some ways. With a team at Kohl’s that’s dedicated to Conrad’s brand, including a product development, design and art team, she’s learned to delegate, she says, and design for different customers. She’s launched other independent brands, including fair trade store The Little Market, a lifestyle-focus podcast Asking For a Friend. However, with the long game in mind, some things will never change when it comes to Kohl’s.
“Kohl’s has always been such a great partner and they really support me and let me have a strong voice as a designer,” says Conrad who still approves every product before it hits stores.
Today, those products includes the 2019 holiday collection that both celebrates the brand’s birthday as well as the holiday season. True to form, it’s filled with printed dresses, sweaters in pale pink hues, fuzzy accessories, and a tulle skirt that Conrad suggests you can wear to a party and to the office. “I’m probably about the average customer,” she adds, making the case that her designs will always have a strong point of view but never beyond wearability.
Perhaps it’s this dose of reality that’s kept Conrad’s brand thriving for all these years, not to mention the reason she doesn’t identify with the term influencer as it’s typically used today. “I definitely put the brand before myself and I would like to continue to push it in that direction,” the designer says, “because honestly it puts a lot of pressure on me.”
Gina Marinelli is a writer and editor based in New York. You can follow her at @ginaalilbit.