KATIE HART

odddaughterpaperco
odddaughterpaperco
Photo by Vanessa Gonzales
Photo by Vanessa Gonzales

LH: Katie, can you tell us a little about yourself?

KH:  I'll try to keep this concise! I live in San Diego, and I'm from the LA area. I went to college in Seattle, and loved it. So, I'm pretty much a West Coast girl. I run a stationery business, Odd Daughter Paper Co, which I started about 2 years ago. In May I quit my day job, and have been self employed for the past fourish months!

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LH:  Congratulations, that's HUGE! When did you first get into illustrating?

KH:  Thank you! I've always loved creative things (creating cards for friends growing up, etc.). In college, I studied interior design, which I really enjoyed. But I graduated in 2009 during the recession and finding a good job was going to be pretty tricky. I got a job as a receptionist and started painting in my free time. And I really think that's where it began!! I didn't even know "illustration" was a thing until I started reading blogs. Ha!

LH:  Haha that is so awesome, and interior design is secretly an obsession of mine! So if not illustrating, what would you be doing today?

KH:  I think I'd probably be doing interior design. My guess is that I would have pursued that if I hadn't found something that really stole my interest, i.e., illustration and graphic design.

LH:  Well your work is stunning, so I'm really happy those two stole your interest!

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LH: What's your favorite snack?

KH:  Oooh. I love popcorn. I make it myself though. None of the microwave stuff.

LH:  POPCORN! Yes, I agree. Microwave popcorn tastes like rubber.

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Photo by Marissa Maharaj
Photo by Marissa Maharaj

LH: Can you tell us a little more about the name "Odd Daughter?" It's such a perfect and quirky name.

KH:  Ha, yes! I basically named my business after my mom's nickname in middle school. Her maiden name was Evenson, and one of her teachers (who gave nicknames to all of his students) started calling her "Odd Daughter." I remember hearing that at one point and I just thought it was really cute. When I was trying to decide on a name for my business, I felt like it was perfect because it gave a little shout-out to my mom and her side of the family and it also highlighted an earlier time (before emails and texts and emojis, ha!) when people still sent snail mail.

LH:  That's so clever! I love that, and it's such a warm story.

KH:  Thank you!

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LH: What or who would you say inspires your hustle?

KH:  Great question! I'm incredibly inspired by other creative ladies -- whether they're in the illustration/design industry or doing something unrelated. I love seeing women who are just MAKING THINGS HAPPEN. A few that come to mind are Megan Gonzalez (MaeMae Paperie), the ladies of Blockshop Textiles and Moorea Seal, but the list could go on and on because my Instagram feed is full of women who are incredibly inspiring.

LH:  That's so refreshing to read! I love hearing about women being inspired by other women. Most industries can be so competitive so it's just so cool to hear you name those ladies.

KH:  Oh yeah. The women in the stationery industry are incredibly supportive. It's pretty amazing.

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Photo by Katie Hart
Photo by Katie Hart

LH: Can you name three things your mother's hustle taught you?

KH:  Well, my mom is an amazing woman and I'm very grateful for the things she's taught me.

  1. Empathy -- I'm very empathetic towards others and what they're going through. This is helpful in life, but also in my business when I'm relating with clients, etc. throughout the day.
  2. Communication -- My mom is a great communicator, and I'm so glad that I've learned a lot from her in this area. I try my best to communicate clearly with clients so we're all on the same page.
  3. Don't waste time complaining -- My mom does a TON of stuff and rarely complains. It's pretty amazing. I'd say I still have a lot to learn in this area (ha!) but I want to be more like her.

LH:  Your mom sounds like an incredible woman and it seems like the apple didn't fall far from the tree. Cheers to your ma!

KH:  Aw thank you!

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LH: Favorite 90's band? GO!

KH:  Oh, *NSYNC for sure. I was a pretty huge fan of JT when he had his curly 'fro.

LH:  Haha, we LOVE JT!

KH:  Yes, I still love him!

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LH:  As a Lady Hustler, we know things can sometimes get a little overwhelming. What are some ways you cope with stress, business, your personal life and life all around?

Katie:  AMEN. It definitely can get overwhelming. Honestly, this is an area where I'm still learning, and probably always will be. When I get stressed out and anxious about how to balance all the things I have going on, I know I need to take a break. And really, there are usually some tears involved, haha. But that's a good reminder that I need to step back for a minute. I've started doing yoga, which is really great. I take walks daily because I'm lucky enough to have great weather year-round in San Diego. I also love hanging out with (or even just texting) friends who are a part of the design industry because they can relate and are totally cool if I need to vent for a minute. Lastly, my family is amazing and they're incredibly supportive and encouraging.

LH:  Yes! It's always important to disconnect from the noise and recharge.

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Photo by Marissa Maharaj
Photo by Marissa Maharaj

LH: What is your dream gig?

Katie:  Oooh. Generally speaking, I'd love to continue what I'm doing and just grow my business. I'd really like to have a studio space where I can house all of my stationery inventory (because HELLO it takes up a lot of space in my house, ha!). Working in a studio with a couple of rad employees would be the dream! More specifically, I'd love to do hand lettering work for a company I believe in (i.e. a social justice or environment nonprofit). I want my work to have meaning, and I believe that sharing an important message in a beautiful way will have the greatest impact.

LH: It's so rare and incredible to find people who are all about social justice and nonprofits. SO EXCITED!

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LH: Dogs or cats?

KH:  Dogs, with the exception of my grandparent's cats Jack and Jill. They're pretty much the best.

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LH: Can you share one event in your life that helped shape your hustle?

KH:  Yeah! I was a walk-on to my college's cross-country team. Basically, I was a good runner in high school, but when I got to college where the team was really competitive, it was really hard. I kept with it (the training was tough!) and by my senior year I made it onto the varsity team. I had the chance to go to Nationals [sic], where we placed fourth in the Nation (Division II). This athletic example may not seem very relevant, but it taught me so, so much about hard work. It took years of practice (day in and day out) to reach my goal, but I did it! It's a reminder to me that the things you want don't always come easy, but if you work hard, you'll get there.

LH:  That's so good! I love that answer. Very inspiring!

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LH: Are you working on any new projects?

KH:  Aside from some custom wedding projects, I'm really focusing on growing my stationery line. As a one-woman show there are so many jobs to do, but I'm plugging along and hope to have some awesome designs to show for it soon.

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Photo by Katie Hart
Photo by Katie Hart

LH:  So cool! What is the most challenging part about being a small business owner?

KH:  The financial aspect is certainly challenging. You don't get a regular paycheck, even if you're working hard! And then I think prioritizing things can be difficult. There are so many tasks to be done -- so many things you could do, but you have to decide what is the MOST important. What will make the BIGGEST impact with the amount of time you have available. This is a struggle for me! I'm going to start working with a business coach to improve in this area, because it's so important.

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LH: What would you say is the BEST part of being a small business owner?

KH:  The flexibility! Although it's also a curse, haha! I get to decide how to spend my time. I just got back from a month-long road trip with my sister. We drove up through the Pacific Northwest and into Canada, and it was pretty amazing. I did some work during that time, but it never would have been possible with a day job.

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LH:  Favorite song ever?

KH:  Ha! I'm terrible with favorites. But I love, love, love Noah Gundersen, and his song "Ledges" is a fave [sic].

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Photo by Marissa Maharaj
Photo by Marissa Maharaj

LH: Do you have any words of advice for your fellow Lady Hustlers?

KH:  Absolutely. I think the, "Work hard, don't give up" advice is always true, but may not always feel the most helpful. I would say, don't be afraid to reach out to other creatives (either for specific advice or just to learn more about them and their creative journey). I've learned so much from other designers/illustrators! And then, be that person for someone else because there is always someone who is just starting out the journey and is just a little ways behind you! While you may feel like you don't know much, you can most likely encourage someone with what you DO know!

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To learn more about Katie's Hustle visit Odd Daughter Paper Co.