Delighting in Design: Meet Citra Studio Co-Founder, Kendra Lemon
From selling homemade gadgets, to co-founding her own business, Kendra Lemon has always let her passion for design guide her.
Kendra grew up in two small Kansas towns, Belleville and Chapman. Always an artist and entrepreneur, her first business started in the fourth grade when she would remove the labels from boxes of strong-smelling mints, decorate the outside with drawings, and sell them to classmates as Desk Fresheners (not patented, but 7 former Hillcrest Elementary students would argue in court that the classroom never smelled so fresh that year).
After high school, Kendra went on to study physics and engineering at Fort Hays State University. While she loved the subject matter, when Kendra imagined her future career, she realized her current course wouldn’t get her where she wanted to go. She transferred to Kansas State University to pursue her passion and completed a Masters of Interior Architecture and Product Design. For two years, Kendra worked as a Spatial Designer with an experiential marketing agency in Chicago, until the COVID-19 pandemic caused mass layoffs in the industry.
While not ideal to be jobless as a deadly virus was spreading across the globe, with the sudden change in employment and the education and skills to make it happen, Kendra co-founded Citra Studio with her brother, Jess, in April of 2020. The duo works together in a harmony that some of us with siblings can’t even muster up for one holiday meal a year, but their complementary skills and styles have allowed them to create a business encompassing both of their visions and priorities.
Whereas Jess is all about functionality first, Kendra’s first concern in designing an object or a space is delight.
“Delight isn’t just how great it looks, it also comes from a product that is a joy to use. Like a chair that’s remarkably comfortable, a solid table that makes a rich sound when plates are set on it, or a cedar chest that smells wonderful every time you open it. It can even be as simple as the joy you derive from the investment of a well-made cabinet you can trust will stand the test of time. Delight is what makes something your favorite something. It’s what makes an object valuable.”
Delight for Kendra means designs that are bold, colorful, and cozy. She likes mixing textures, patterns, and colors as well as having really striking, stand-out furniture pieces that all manage to live in harmony. Inspiration for achieving harmony among things that could be chaos comes from the world around her.
“I find inspiration everywhere. My favorite moments of inspiration are the ones that challenge what I’ve always known as ‘good design.’ I find it a real feat to create something that breaks the rules successfully, and to me it expands what’s possible.”
Browsing the items in Citra Studio’s stock, you’ll see pieces that showcase Kendra’s eye for bold and striking design. Every piece is part of the goal to provide access to truly expressive and artistic home goods that are also good quality, sustainable, and supportive of local businesses and artists. At the heart Citra Studio’s mission is creating pieces that allow people to express their authentic selves, make their homes their happy place, and fill every room with things that bring delight, whatever that means to them.