Meet Interior Designer-Turned-Apothecarist Kat Burki

Web01Photo: Courtesy of Kat Burki.
We’ve seen socialites, fashion designers, and even former business execs delve into the beauty industry, but the list of interior designers who enter the not-always-fluffy apothecary world is short (old-world perfumer Clive Christian is perhaps the biggest and most recognizable name). However, there’s a rookie on the block and you should get to know her. Her name is Kat Burki.
Before she entered the world of lotions and potions, Burki was a Connecticut-based interior designer whose clientele consisted of hotshot CEO and Hollywood types. Her ability to effortlessly match ottomans and window treatments has been recognized by Interiors and Traditional Home. Since ambiance is clearly her thing, Burki used to gift her clients with a tuberose bath soap and candle she developed herself. Before she knew it, clients weren’t just requesting her to revamp their homes, but were clamoring for her smell-goods as well. As a result, in 2010, Kat Burki Fragrance and Skincare was born.
Since her body butter and raw sugar body scrub smell like heaven in a jar, I caught up with the Westport resident and got the skinny on her ever-expanding line (you'll see it soon on the shelves at Henri Bendel), and if she feels that she can follow the hype of her interior design business.
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As an established interior designer whose work has appeared in Elle Décor, House Beautiful, and HGTV's Top 10, how does it feel to be a relative newcomer in the beauty business?
"It feels good. I love the field and I feel I am where I belong! Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life. I love the process of creating new products, discovering different natural ingredients from around the world, and bringing them straight to my clients."
In the vast sea of beauty brands, how does Kat Burki stand out from the rest?
"I think the fact that I do not come from the beauty industry, nor did I set out to be in the industry, is what sets the Kat Burki brand apart from the pack. It was an organic process. I've always loved bringing beauty to people. In the beginning of my career, it was through the homes I designed, but I quickly realized I fell in love with the emotions that these rooms would create in my clients."
What products in the line are near and dear to your heart?
"I am a huge fan of anything Tubéreuse — it smells heavenly — in our line, and all of the Raw Beauty products. The ingredients are simply amazing and the natural fragrance is uplifting, clean, and invigorating. The results are amazing, too."
Do you still do interior design work?
"My mind is always racing with new [beauty] product ideas and ... my product development team is always trying to bring these visions to life! I drive my family and friends crazy because I find inspiration everywhere. By designing packaging, researching, and discovering new ingredients, I still feel like I'm designing."
Before you created your own line, what were your favorite beauty brands?
"I loved Frédéric Fekkai La Crème Luxueuse, because it has shea butter in it. I've always loved shea butter in moisturizers, because of its ability to melt right into the skin, since its melting point is nearly the same as our body temperature. Natura Bisse's products always stood out to me, as well, because it uses innovative technologies to deliver the ingredients into the skin faster."
With a business, husband, three sons, and three dogs, describe your current morning beauty routine. How has it changed over the years?
"I wash my hair with Frédéric Fekkai shampoo and conditioner, then wash with Kat Burki Signature Soap. I use Kat Burki Body Butter and mineral face wash*, followed by our vitamin C face cream*. Then, I spritz Tubéreuse Parfum and I'm out the door."
What's next for Kat Burki?
"Skin care and Eau de Toilettes! I’m so excited to take our all-natural raw ingredients to skin care. The results and experience derived from nature is like none other."
*Coming Spring 2014.
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