Kathleen Connor attended Princeton University, where she obtained a degree in art history, which led to her working with renowned interior designer Anthony Baratta and architect Peter Marino. She didn’t plan on making custom lampshades.
In high school, Connor had worked at Esther’s—an Omaha consignment store owned by Trish Lonergan—where she learned about the consignment business. While planning her return to Omaha from New York, she contacted Lonergan to inquire about sharing a space. Lonergan agreed and her store, Among Other Things, went from an idea contrived in Connor’s mind to a reality.
“For me, it started out that I opened this furniture consignment store, and people would look at lamps to purchase, and they would say ‘Oh, I love this lamp but it’s such a hassle to find a lampshade in Omaha that fits. I don’t want to buy it,’” Connor says. “And I thought to myself, there’s such a market here and barely anyone is making custom lampshades. That’s when I started teaching myself how to make them and it just kind of blew up from there.”
With patience and determination, Connor began her journey creating custom lampshades, pillows, and draperies. Connor says it took some trial and error in the beginning, but after a year of hard work she started selling her creations. She began by making stock pieces to show to customers and give them an idea of what she can do. Now she only creates custom orders.
Connor uses her experiences working on the East Coast when crafting each item for customers. “I don’t think I would have the same style now if I hadn’t gone to the East Coast for college,” Connor says. “You see a really different look and way of living.”
When putting together an item for a client, she creates it with a specific idea and home in mind. Each project varies in time and difficulty, and Connor often does several projects at once to ensure her customers receive their accessories within a reasonable time frame.
“It’s really important for me to get things done on time for customers, so I tend to bring things home at the end of the day and do my sewing there,” Connor says. “I’m still trying to find a balance.”
With so many projects to complete, Connor decided to put a studio in her home, which was finished in May.
“Growing up I always loved home magazines, coffee table books, and decor things. I always wished I could have that,” Connor says. “So now the fact that I can order fabric and actually make [lampshades] for people is really satisfying. I’ll forget I made something for someone and go over to their house for another project and see something I made for them a while ago—that’s a great feeling.”
Connor has found her calling in the world of custom design and has no plans to stop anytime soon.
“I want to keep doing it for the rest of my career,” she says.
This article was printed in the September 2019 edition of Home Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.