Ted Kennedy Watson
Howdy! My name is Ted Kennedy Watson. I am the owner of Watson Kennedy.
I am often asked why I named my business the way I did. I started using my full name about 20 years ago when my Father passed away. Wanting to honor his amazing spirit, I named my businesses Watson Kennedy – his name, only backwards. The #1 lesson my Dad taught me was that your life’s work has to be something you LOVE. I feel incredibly fortunate that every day I am able to do just that.
Out of college I moved to Seattle to become a tennis professional at the prestigious Seattle Tennis Club. I later became President of the PNW Professional Tennis Association. Wearing tennis whites everyday was not a bad way to make one’s living–something my Dad took immense pleasure in telling his friends.
While still in tennis whites, I was asked to be part of the creative team for the very secretive, very cool Bill and Melinda Gates wedding festivities. I was known for my stylish gift giving, had studied calligraphy in college, and was up for a challenge. My participation was really the stepping stone professionally for moving from the athletic to creative world. From my earliest memories I have always been a highly visual person.
When I turned 30 I wanted to do something different. I had been hitting a tennis ball every day since I was nine. I LOVE things, and objects. They have a past; we are only their keepers until they move on to the next possessor. I have also always surrounded myself with creative friends. I love the energy that creative people have, that their boundaries are wider, that possibilities are more possible. So I began my career in the visual arts by representing some of the friends and people I knew who were creating interesting objects. I held my first showing at our home. It was a success. I had to continue, but creating havoc at our home each day with buyers walking thru was not going to happen. I opened a wholesale showroom. It was a blast. I sold to retailers all over the country. Neiman Marcus, Barney’s, Gump’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nordstrom to name a few. It was hard work, but what isn’t that is rewarding?
I thought of adding retail to the wholesale side of Watson Kennedy. I told friends that if the one spot in Seattle that I adored ever became vacant, it was mine. It did. I opened my first retail shop 23 days after I signed the lease. It was, and remains to this day, one of the coolest retail spots I have ever been to. It is in the heart of Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market. We have a huge picture window that looks over Puget Sound and we are nestled in the courtyard of the Inn at the Market – very European. I was off and running. My second shop opened a few years later and a year after that I sold the wholesale portion of my business. Shop number three came a few years after that. Life was, and continues to be, interesting, challenging and full.
At my core, I am a finder/shop keeper/curator. I get to create cool and inviting environments, sell amazing goods, and meet people from all over the world. The shops and this web site are really an extension of my homes and how I feel the good life can be lived. Design, gift giving, manners, style – all have great importance to me. We live in such a rushed world! I want to inspire people to light a candle, set a stunning dinner table, or hand write a note: time will slow down and we become more aware of our surroundings. The shops are a reflection of that quality and my life, my travels, and the things I love.
A few years back I was a winner of a Northwest Design Award for interior design. My concept for interesting design, be it for interiors or the shops, has always been to incorporate the five senses – creating environments that are rich in experience, timeless, and downright stylish.
It has been an honor to have my homes, shops, and goods featured in House Beautiful, In Style, Allure, Country Living, Lucky and Domino magazines. My Seattle home was featured on Homes Across America and my Vashon Island cottage on Small Space, Big Style, both on HGTV. I am always tickled when a customer comes into one of the shops with a dog-eared copy of a magazine that they carried with them onto the airplane for their trip to Seattle. I have met some pretty amazing people that way.
In May of 2011 I started my daily blog, www.tedtennedywatson In it I write about things that inspire me. A table setting I set at home, a recipe I made and was tasty, a flower arrangement that made my heart sing–things that make me happy that I like to share with you to spread a little happiness. A little tid-bit each day to make you smile. It is read daily by folks around the globe in over 40 countries.
In May of 2014, my first book Style & Simplicity was released. Published by the venerable Sterling out of New York, it became a best seller right out of the gate, going into a second printing after the first month it was released. It was the #1 best selling design/decorating book on Amazon for most of the Summer. Book signings around the country have been such a fun way to meet folks who are fans of Watson Kennedy or read my daily blog. I am so lucky/fortunate/blessed to have just the coolest folks follow along.
I have always viewed my life as a journey. I have been so very fortunate to have an amazing travel mate in that journey. My husband, Ted Sive ( I know, two Teds) and I will celebrate our 27th Anniversary in January 2015. An accomplished consultant in the architecture, engineering and construction industry, Ted also has a major love of design and an even greater fondness for architecture. He’s a native New Yorker, and we have been travelling back East for years to visit his family and our friends who have migrated. Last year, we bought the sweetest 1920 farmhouse in the Hudson River Valley. Think country gentlemen. We named it ‘Hawthorne’ as it sits lovingly in the Hawthorne Valley. Along with our beloved pooch Bailey, we plan on spending more time in New York relaxing & entertaining and finding goods for Watson Kennedy.
Dad would get a kick out of these next chapters in my life.