I’m a card person. I like to give them and receive them. It’s the one thing I request I receive on my birthday, anniversary, holiday, etc. from my Husband because it’s so personal and thoughtful. So, when I was referred to this next small business I was absolutely thrilled.
Katie, the talented illustrator behind Katie State Illustrates, makes the cutest cards and her work is featured in children’s books. You can buy her illustrations online or work with her directly on custom projects. So, let’s learn more about Katie, her small business, and how she juggles being a full-time school teacher and illustrator.
Tell us about your business and the story behind its creation!
Although I am an elementary reading teacher by trade, art has always been a big part of my life. On snow days, I would paint, and while traveling, I have to see all the art museums.
Before I launched Katie Stack Illustrates, I had created custom cards, caricatures of countless marathon runners, and painted art for my home. I thought about launching a business many times, but I always became so busy that I never created art consistently— until 2020. My silver lining of the pandemic was having time to develop a consistent art practice. I enrolled in online classes through Domestika and Make Art That Sells, and now I am bursting with ideas and inspiration for children’s illustration and paper products. I’m really excited about how much I’ve achieved in a year, so I cannot wait to see what the next year brings!
What products and services do you offer? What makes them unique?
I do children’s illustration, commissions, greeting cards, and art prints! My business is unique because it fuses a charming kid book style with greeting card design. Although those areas are my focus, I have also done pet portraits, custom invitations, illustrated wedding maps, and even graphics for businesses. I’ve so enjoyed exploring the range of creative work available to artists!
What do you love most about running your own business and being a business owner?
I feel so fulfilled by creating and building a business that represents who I am. Since I am also teaching full time, I get so excited to have Saturday and Sunday mornings to work on art, ordering products, planning launches, etc… The fact that I feel so happy while working is the best part about owning a business that fills your heart and soul. I also love being the boss, making decisions, researching options, creating art, and learning so many new skills! It’s an incredible feeling when an order comes through and you realize that there is someone out in the world who connects to your art and style.
What has been one of the most memorable experiences or opportunities that you’ve experienced since opening your business?
My first wholesale order was pretty cool. I pitched my cards to a store, and they ordered $100 worth of cards to stock in their shop. I couldn’t believe that my products were about to be in a real brick and mortar store. And then they nearly sold out! So the store placed another $100 order. This experience validated my identity as a creative business owner, and made me really believe that I can make a career out of art. And you can too!
What advice would you give to aspiring business owners?
Start NOW! You have so much to offer, and if you’re planning on launching at some point, it might as well be today. You’re going to receive so much support from people you know but also from people you will meet online who share your interests. And in a year from now, you’ll be so much further than you ever expected. Just start now – you will not regret it. I also recommend joining a live course (do your research to find a good one) to meet people and mentors who are on similar journeys to you. Having a community will provide support, advice, and motivation as you grow.