5Q'S WITH CAT WILLETT, ILLUSTRATOR: A Q&A BETWEEN WOMEN WHO'VE STARTED THEIR OWN BUSINESS
I met the great Cat Willett over email. Cat reached out to me for an opportunity and I was happy to oblige. We became buds and have continued to work together. I even have a lovely Cat Willett piece hanging in my office. This beautiful piece of artwork brings brightness and inspiration to me every day. Thank you Cat, I am so happy to share your story!
1. Looking back on your first job, what skill did you use that you still use today?
I started working pretty young, and my first real job was as a receptionist at an art gallery. I would panic every time the phone rang because I felt so young and inexperienced. I quickly realized that the person on the other side of the phone knew nothing about me or what I was feeling, and only needed their information. This is a mindset I still look to today when I’m feeling imposter syndrome hard - nobody knows the internal fear that you feel, so present the version of yourself that you want them to remember.
2. Was there a defining moment that made you start your business?
A few years ago, I went through some life-changing experiences. Some traumatic, some exciting, and it was enough to shake me up and reevaluate what I was doing - the reason I moved to NYC, the reason I was working so hard, and who I was surrounding myself with. I decided to enroll in a MFA program to pursue my illustration professionally. I wanted to invest in myself instead of others and focus on making this lifelong dream come true.
3. What was he first step you took to launch your brand?
I refreshed my website, made business cards, and archived everything personal on my IG. I decided to start calling introducing myself as an illustrator, and that’s how others began to define me.
4. What is the greatest lesson learned in your first year in business?
The power of saying no. Creatives and entrepreneurs are all so susceptible to overextending ourselves. It wasn’t until I experienced real burnout that I learned that taking care of myself also meant managing my workload in a realistic way.
5. What is your best piece of advice for your fellow Female Founder?
Ignore the self-doubt! We all have it and it will likely be present throughout our entire careers, but acknowledging it only empowers your fear, whereas ignoring the voice that says you can’t do it will help to propel you forward.