The local tastemaker behind Wit & Delight hits social media stardom

  • Article by: KATIE HUMPHREY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 4, 2014 - 8:12 AM

After amassing millions of followers, social media tastemaker Kate Arends Peters is opening up about the parts of life that aren’t Pinterest-perfect.

It’s just an egg sandwich. But it’s so pretty.

Kate Arends Peters tossed it together in 10 minutes — some sliced avocado, delicate pieces of pancetta, pretzel bread, an egg — and quickly snapped a dozen iPhone photos for Instagram before sitting down to take a big, satisfying bite. Then she wiped her mouth with an artfully rumpled blue-and-white tea towel.

The Martha Stewart of social media doesn’t use paper napkins.

Arends Peters, known online as Wit & Delight, may not have the name recognition of the country’s most famous domestic diva, but she is at the forefront of taste, especially on Pinterest.

On that photo-filled social network favored by women seeking inspiration for stylish living, Arends Peters has racked up 2.6 million followers. Martha Stewart Living magazine has 619,000.

From her home in the Twin Cities, Arends Peters, 30, shares her clean, modern, effortless-looking aesthetic worldwide. Big names, including more traditional arbiters of fine living, have taken notice. She was the featured “tastemaker” in the July/August issue of Stewart’s magazine. This month, she’s launching a line of party supplies at Target stores nationwide.

Arends Peters is so in demand on Pinterest that she even has an agent.

“She can style a room, she can style an outfit, she can do this line of products for Target,” said Kyla Brennan, CEO of HelloSociety, a Pinterest-focused marketing agency in Los Angeles that represents Arends Peters. “Her followers love it.”

If it seems too good to be true, it is — sort of.

Arends Peters’ struggle isn’t making things look good. Her home actually looks like her Instagrams. She dresses like she walked off one of her tomboyish yet classically fashionable Pinterest boards — her wavy brown hair perfectly tousled. She is a gracious hostess, quick to offer a glass of wine and make introductions with a smile.

Yes, she reached social media stardom through a love of beautiful things. But instead of tucking her personal details away, she’s opening up about her struggles — anxiety and depression among them.

A styled life isn’t necessarily a perfect life.

“I’m not Wit and Delight,” said Arends Peters, who’s quieter than you’d expect a social media star to be, but often wears a playful expression. “As a person, I’m much more complex and complicated.”

Rise to social media royalty

Pinterest, for many users, is the digital destination for gathering ideas about beautiful homes, delicious food and stylish clothes. Users collect images, which serve as bookmarks to related Web pages, to paint a picture of their ideal lives.

Arends Peters, who studied graphic design, was one of the first to master it, pinning images to boards with titles like “For the Home,” “Currently Coveted” and “Ladies With Style.” Her picks, often repinned hundreds of times, are catnip to those who share her modern, clean-lined aesthetic, which oozes easy elegance.

Further upping the ante, she proves it’s doable, documenting her own styled life on her blog, Wit & Delight, and Instagramming the details of each day. Breakfast included. Followers have seen her living room from a dozen angles.

“If the light is perfect, it takes two seconds,” she said.

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  • Kate Arends Peters commands a large social media following on Pinterest and Instagram.

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  • Kate Arends Peters works from The COMN, an office in the North Loop.

  • Kate Arends Peters eating the sandwich she had just photographed and posted to Instagram.

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