What can you really say about Kerri? What you haven’t learned about from her bio info on our About page or read about in her answers to our 5Qs below can be summed up by saying this:
Kerri is a lot like a sparkler. You know, the things you got as a kid on the Fourth of July and tried not to singe your fingers on. She burns fast, bright and shoots out in a million different directions. She pushed Industrie into new and interesting territories and is the main reason that we have any friends at all. See what she does in her spare time and why she loves the word “rebound” below.
Who: Kerri Lee-Young
What: Industrie Co-Founder
Where: Chicago-ish, IL
Our site/publication is called Industrie and we spelled it with an “ie” on purpose—it’s the French way of spelling Industry and was once defined to us as an artisan who works with their hands to create things of beauty and substance. So tell us, how do you define beauty and substance?
I thought this question would be easy for me to answer since I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life working in the beauty industry and writing about it, but it’s quite the opposite. I’ve become a bit snarky about the word “beauty” which probably isn’t a good thing for someone who co-owns a beauty website. Here’s why:
When I hear someone say, “Oh, this or that is really beautiful,” I often internally quip, “Well, then it better punch me in the face, kick me in the gut and steal my wallet.” This is because I feel like beauty (the word and this industry) has become a bit complicated, oversaturated and overused. Almost labyrinthine and a bit convoluted. Beauty was once unique and unexampled, but nowadays I feel like the sui generis of it all has gone the wayside. But…it will redeem itself and it’s one of the very reasons why I do what I do for Industrie.
Substance, on the other hand, that’s something I overcomplicate in my head. Substance in chemistry is defined as matter that has specific composition and properties. That every pure element (like hydrogen and oxygen) is a substance and every pure compound (like water) is also substance. I feel like people, places, things, and ideas are also matter that have their own unique composition and properties, and when those unique compositions and properties are combined, they form various types and degrees of substance.
What other creative outlets do you explore/practice?
Well, when I’m not writing I like to…write. I have a children’s book series that has been keeping me awake at night for the past three years that I just need to get out of my head and down on paper. And then there’s that other children’s book that I’ve been wanting to write since I was 10 years old. Oh, and then that non-fiction book I want to write that I’ve been processing in my head for about seven years. I am the worst at carving out time for myself.
But I can say this. I’m also the World’s Best Pinterest Poser. It’s a title I came up for myself. I pin a lot of recipes and workouts and kid craft projects and home decor ideas to boards and then do NOTHING with them. I haven’t made a single recipe from a board or successfully completed a “30 Day Squat Challenge” or purchased a glue gun or pipe cleaners and probably never will. But I’ll keep on pinning. Mark my words.
What’s your personal motto/favorite quote?
My favorite quote is actually my father’s personal motto he had when he was alive. He would always say, “Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.” He worked in a correctional facility when I was growing up and he was well liked and respected by the inmates. I know they heard these words from him on a constant basis, and I’m sure this motto made a positive impact on their lives like it has mine.
When have you felt the most vulnerable in your career?
That’s easy. When I decided to leave the beauty industry. I “jumped ship” and made a break for the music industry which wasn’t what I had thought it would be. I left an industry I got to know so well; one that I had started to finally make a name for myself in after six years of hard work and networking. I ran for the hills and within six months I found myself back in the beauty biz calling up old connections and doing freelance work. But…if it wasn’t for that vulnerable moment and that wake up call, I wouldn’t be doing what I feel like I was meant to do—Industrie.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
That also came from my father. When I was in elementary and middle school I played basketball and held the position as center and was a substitute forward when needed. My father attended every game, sat in the bleachers and would scream at the top his Irish lungs, “REBOUND!” It would startle other parents and players and would always turn my cheeks bright red with embarrassment and rattle me to a state of utter focus. It was mainly because I didn’t want to give him another opportunity to shout it again.
But as I got older, I learn to embrace it and live by it. “REBOUND” is more than just getting my hands up in the air and in position to grab and take control and possession of the ball from my opponent; it’s about bouncing back, getting centered, focused, and making the shot. When I’m feeling insecure, uninspired, static and close to complete defeat, I stop and imagine my father shouting “REBOUND!” It’s what I need to put myself in check.
What’s one thing most people would never know about you just from looking at you?
I’m allergic to Algebra. I originally went to college to be scientist. Botany was my major, but I could never get past Algebra. After several attempts to pass various levels of it, I was told by my environmental biology professor to, “Put my nerd dreams on the bunsen burner and get a degree in something that had nothing to do with math.” So I went to school for Journalism and Creative Writing.
I’m also obsessed and intimidated by the Proust Questionnaire. I stare at the questions and can only answer them in my head because I feel like once you answer a Proust you can never take back what you’ve said or written.
Oh, one more thing. I’m also pretty damn amazing at playing Uno and can be an intimidating, trash-talking jerk when doing so. Consider yourself warned…