Executives at Kinder International have shared: “It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Carolyn Kinder. She passed away today, Wednesday, August 16.”
Among her accomplishments, Carolyn was an artist, visionary, teacher, and successful businesswoman. , “The mix of cultural influences in her early years [in a military family] made it easy for her to connect with people and places around the world,” the statement read. “This open world view led to her company’s ethos of ‘Trendless, Timeless, Well-Traveled Style.’ Helping people create a personal home style was her passion.”
Carolyn’s career began humbly, as a painter and art teacher who had the entrepreneurial vision to open The Art Place, a shop to create marvelous frames and mats for the works of her students and other artists. Her work with innovative matting, frames, and art became widely recognized around the country.
The focus of Carolyn’s business expanded once more when her innovative framing designs attracted the attention of local fine furniture stores. Soon she was selling all the framed wall decor she could make to several large furniture retailers. From that modest start, the manufacturer Kinder-Harris was founded in 1974, and under Carolyn’s direction, grew into a multi-million-dollar international home accessories company.
Carolyn’s innovative designs continued to earn national acclaim and her company was twice honored with the industry’s renowned ARTS Award in the Wall Art category. As the Kinder-Harris brand expanded, Carolyn’s work and style grew to include a wide variety of mixed media. She traveled extensively, gathering inspiration for her art and making connections with artisans and businesses around the world.
During a trade show in New York, she met an Italian manufacturer who invited her to customize a few moldings. A trip to Italy and a short time later, Carolyn’s innovative molding designs dominated the framing industry. Looking for more new and diverse creative opportunities, Carolyn sold her interest in Kinder-Harris to J.C. Penney Company in 1992.
She launched Carolyn Kinder Inc., to design coordinated collections of home accents for companies such as Uttermost, Quoizel, and IMAX. Her philosophy of trendless, timeless, well-traveled style has made her a legend in the home décor industry. She is well-regarded for her fashion sense, artistic genius, creative finishes and techniques, international connections, and entrepreneurial vision.
In 2000, Carolyn Kinder became the first woman to receive the ART Academy of Achievement Award. By 2002, she had become an international presence and established Carolyn Kinder International as a multi-dimensional company focused on sourcing and design development.
Years ago, Carolyn famously said, “The quality of a person’s home is a huge part of the quality of their life. People put things that they love in their home, things that bring them comfort and warmth and memories and style and individuality – all the things that make home – home.”
She is survived by her two brothers David and Richard Carr; her two sons Robert and Matthew; two grandchildren Maddison and Jake; and life partner Lynn Kinder.