Katherine Watercutter woke up around 8 a.m on Nov. 28 and scrolled through Instagram. Nothing appeared out of the ordinary, until she came across a post recognizing Kendall Jenner in the Forbes 30 under 30 list. She said she knew she was a finalist for the list, but she expected the reveal to be the following day. As soon as she saw the post, she immediately went to the website to look for her name.
“My name used to be Katherine Receveur,” Watercutter said Dec. 4. “So I kept scrolling, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I didn't make the list.’”
After reaching the end of the list though, she finally spotted her name in the Retail & eCommerce Section.
“I was really, really shocked,” Watercutter said. “[The Forbes list] is something I've always wanted to make, but I never really thought it was actually going to happen.”
Since the beginning of her collegiate athletic career at IU in 2015, Watercutter has been a serial winner. She was a six-time All-American athlete and won five individual Big Ten Championships. In 2017, she was Big Ten Athlete of the Year for cross country and holds the Indiana University record for the women’s 3000m and 5000m indoor events. On top of all that, she was All-Academic Big Ten all four years of her college career.
The star runner said the path was not always free of obstacles. Trials were met at almost every turn, but rather than shy away from them, she embraced them.
“One thing that we've always talked about in running, and I think it's the same thing with business, is you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” Watercutter said.
Ron Helmer, the former coach of track and field and cross country at IU, used to recite a quote that has stuck with Watercutter for years.
“You got to understand that as you get better, things get more difficult, challenges become greater, and you have to adjust and adapt,” Helmer said Dec. 5.
Watercutter’s business, Gold Hinge, is a thriving online women’s apparel store that launched in 2018. It began as a side-hustle, but once Watercutter realized how much time she was investing, she quit her full-time job and took a chance by devoting all her time into the company.
One of Watercutter’s first employees was her former teammate Claire Hamilton. Just like Watercutter, Hamilton took a risk by joining Gold Hinge full time, but she said she believed in the company and her boss.
“Katherine is one of the strongest and most hardworking people I know,” Hamilton said Dec. 5. “I like to say if I were going to be on a deserted island, I would want her with me because she would get us off or help us survive.”
Watercutter’s tenacity is clear in her business strategy, but even as an athlete, she remained dedicated to her goals. In fact, Indiana assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Andrew Poore said it could sometimes be too much.
“If you gave her a challenge of running 65 miles a week, she did it,” Poore said Dec. 4. “If you told her to run 75 miles a week, she did it. The issues were never trying to push her to do things, it was actually trying to get her to hold back a little bit.”
He said she was one of his first recruits at Indiana and he still believes it was one of the best decisions he ever made.
“I used to joke with some of her friends, ‘I may coach for 30 more years and never have anyone as good as her,’” Poore said. “You kind of appreciate it when it’s going on, how good she really is, and you don’t want to take [it for granted].”