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Interview with Catherine - founder of @katnippillustration

· Illustration,art entrepreneur,Creativity

Do you have business ambitions that you are withholding? Are you familiar with this nagging little voice inside your head saying - “I’m not good enough”?
Good news is that even successful entrepreneurs were facing this limiting mindset in the beginning of their journey, just like our today’s #heroine_of_the_week - Catherine from @katnippillustration
Catherine is a talented and successful illustrator, has a thriving Etsy shop, and brings joy to her customers through her authentic and personalized goodies & gifts. She draws her inspiration from Anime & Manga, her designs are unique, bright coloured and creative, and she is extremely happy to grow her own business in the field of her passion.
Read about Catherine’s entrepreneurial journey, challenges, dreams, and everyday routine, and find inspiration to awaken an artist within yourself!

@ichselbstaendig: Catherine, you have been always passionate about art and illustration. It is quite a big luck to know so early what you want to do in life! Still, can you tell us, were there any challenges that stood in your way to becoming an entrepreneur in the field of your passion?

Catherine: I think the biggest challenge for me was myself. My friends and family wanted what was best for me, so when I decided to pursue illustration they were very wary, yet when I was determined and overcame my confidence fear that 'I wasn't good enough' they became more confident in my ability too, which in turn made them less anxious about my career choices. Although I am not where I want to be just yet, I am on my way to my dream job, and I guess the biggest obstacle you have to overcome is yourself and the beliefs that you are 'Not good enough' (It sounds cheesy but I think this is huge for creative people) - you have to believe you are good, because if you don't, how can you expect your customers to?

@ichselbstaendig: Was your path always straight leading towards being a creative entrepreneur, or have you made any other experiences in your career?

Catherine: I always knew that I wanted to work for myself, since I was 13 I ran my own digital pixel art website, using free sites, and exploring different marketing tactics, so I suppose that has always been in me from a very young age. As I got older, I pursued a degree in Graphic design, as I thought it was a more steady & stable career choice, but I always felt my creativity was capped. In 2015, inspired by one of my best friends, I opened a small second hand vintage clothing business, which did great in the first couple of months, but I realised this wasn't my passion, which lead me to do a ton of market research, thats where I found Etsy and the handmade market place, and I don't know, but it just felt right, I knew that was the path I wanted to go down!

@ichselbstaendig: Do you dedicate 100% of your time to your creative brand Katnipp Illustrations or do you have any other employment or projets?

Catherine: When Katnipp started, I wasn't even sure what exactly I was going to be offering, I had the name before I had the items. At the time I worked Full time as a Graphic designer & Marketing assistant for a local family firm, Marton Windows, I had a notebook, and I began researching on my lunch breaks & jotting down memory boards for name ideas. I began Katnipp last year, properly whilst I was working full time. Once I gained interest and became overwhelmed with orders, I had to drop my full time hours to Part time to fufil them. I still work there part time, as it allows me to have a steady income whilst focusing on Katnipp and investing into more items & quality products for my customers.

@ichselbstaendig: Your art is a mix of pastel colors, big eyes and cute faces, it is lighthearted and delicate - what is your main inspiration?

Catherine: I was hoping this question would crop up! I think many people who are aware will be able to see the 'Anime & Manga' influence in my style. Since I can remember I have been obsessed with Anime and Manga, from the art to the shows to Japanese culture itself, where it originated. I've watched thousands of series & read hundreds of manga I couldn't even count. When I was young I would try emulate the anime art style, I definitely think this has influenced the style of drawing I do now, and I just love all things kawaii and cute. I find for me it's not a forced style, it is my personality coming through, I naturally lean towards these colours, and always have, so I think that probably has been a huge inspiration in my art.

@ichselbstaendig: Catherine, you offer parents-to-be a unique service of ultrasound art. This is something we never saw in this form before, how did you come up with such an extraordinary idea?

Catherine: I was a member in a crafting group, and someone asked does anyone do anything with ultrasounds as they fade over time - the response was to put ultrasounds in a frame ect, but they were all black and white. Now something just clicked, I thought, why not add a little bit of colour? I wondered if this was possible, so I began experimenting on photoshop with different designs and textures to see what really worked, and what technique would allow the ultrasound to still be sharp and visible without losing any details, and this is how I came up with my Ultrasound Artwork! It's been a huge success as no one else offered this service at the time plus it won't fade and you'll have a keepsake to last a lifetime! Curiosity is so good for creativity!

@ichselbstaendig: Are you an organised person? How does your working day looks like?

Catherine: I wish I could say I was organised, but with it being my first year in business, I am just getting to grips with schedules and the importance of staying ontop of your work. I now have an order book and work from that. My typical day at katnipp is: wake up, make a coffee (super important) go through my emails, Etsy & messages, begin custom orders for the day, later on in the day it's packaging and a trip to the post office. I like to dedicate half my Sunday to creating new designs, or even just new sketches to keep my creative juices flowing!

@ichselbstaendig: Your Etsy shop is thriving and customers love your personalized illustrations, how does it feel to portrait families, loved ones and pets for your clients?

Catherine: It's such an amazing feeling, I can't even begin to explain, it's really mindblowing to know someone is invested in my art and will have it on display in their home, honestly I can't thank my customers enough, if I could bottle up the feelin, it would just be pure happiness in a bottle, it's just lovely!

@ichselbstaendig: Catherine, may we ask you about your most ambitious creative dream?

Catherine: My most ambitious dream, if I was totally unlimited with finance, would be to open a beautiful small brick and mortar store, which served coffee and unicorn cake, bright white painted brick walls, with beautiful pastel accents throughout the store - a place where people can come and chat, eat cake and buy some amazing quirky handmade items - also a place you could by other artisans items, not just my own, that would be my ultimate dream.

@ichselbstaendig: Catherine, you are an Anime geek :), is there a heroine you think has all the qualities an aspiring entrepreneur could use?

Catherine: This one is a tricky one! I have seen so many it's hard to pick, let's go for Sakura from Naruto, she was weak in the first series, didn't really have any promising qualities or skills, but she is so determined to protect and serve that she works super hard and with perseverance and training becomes one of the strongest females in the village.

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