Kate KEMPLE ’16 is assistant buyer at Carbon38, which she describes as an “activity-based company,” and one of the things that motivated her to join the team last July.
Kate KEMPLE ’16 is assistant buyer at Carbon38, which she describes as an “activity-based company,” and one of the things that motivated her to join the team last July. An active person herself, she’s been a Carbon38 brand loyalist since her high school days at Duchesne and views her current role as an “amazing [career] accomplishment,” one that’s brought her full circle from consumer to merchant.
Though less than three years out of college, Kate is already an industry veteran: “I made it a point in college to have a job/internship or a part-time job every year to get the most experience I could before graduating.” She received her Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising from Drexel University in 2020.
A Duchesne lifer, it was in Middle School that Kate first fell in love with the idea of pursuing fashion as a career (“I knew I wanted to do something creative and I knew that I was not particularly talented in art”), but it was her Upper School macro/microeconomics class that informed what her role in the industry could be. “It changed my perspective on my career—that I didn’t have to go into design to be in fashion.” Putting two-and-two together, Kate decided that Fashion Merchandising (the business of fashion) would be the best route for her. “Luckily, I fell completely in love with forecasting fashion trends, meeting and negotiating with vendors, and curating collections.”
Following her college graduation, Kate remained on the East Coast and held positions with two of the country’s largest corporate buying offices: first, with Burlington Stores and later with Anthropologie in the home goods department. She had previously worked as a bridal stylist for Anthropologie-owned BHLDN while still in college.
Yet, Kate’s always valued the ethos and hands-on culture of small teams and start-up fashion brands: “Working for companies that were starting off when I was in college was very important to me and taught me so much about hard work. Seeing a brand as a new brand launch into something so big was amazing and empowering for me in my career.” She cites experiences with Hunter Bell NYC, Philly-based athletic brand Addison Bay, and work with LA-based stylist Daniel Musto as springboards for her current role with Carbon38, the “small but mighty company that inspires its employees.”
She notes that because of the company size, her role is a much more senior position than that of a typical assistant buyer. Communication is particularly important to her. “As a buyer, being able to talk to my CEO more than 4 times a week and having that close contact is imperative to creating a brand that not only our customers love but our company does as well.”
Now living in Austin, TX, Kate works remotely for the LA-based brand, but travels to the West Coast headquarters every few months.