The old adage goes, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.” But sometimes combining work with what you love can be tricky—from taking care of admin to dealing with financial stressors. That’s when we look to the creatives who make this dream a reality. Today we’re talking to Katie Hart, owner of Odd Daughter Paper Co., the stationery line known for its cheeky, charming cards prints, invites, and more. She explains how she turned a childhood hobby into a thriving business, what business-centric tools help her day to day, and the advice she has for fellow female entrepreneurs.
Name: Katie Hart
Job title: Owner, Odd Daughter Paper Co.
Hails from: Pasadena, CA
Current city: Albuquerque, NM
You loved drawing and lettering as a kid. What was so appealing about those art forms when you were young?
Yes! Drawing is an incredibly accessible way to express your creativity—you can do it anywhere with very few materials, and I think that’s why I was so eager to draw as a kid. And I loved color. My crayons and colored pencils and pens were my favorite.
Why did you decide to start Odd Daughter?
I was working a full-time administrative job but found myself drawing and painting cards on the side. It was super fulfilling creatively, and I really wanted to make a living from it, particularly because I wasn’t excited about my day job. I will definitely say that once your hobby becomes your livelihood, things change. I’m still incredibly passionate about illustration and design but relying on those activities to pay my bills adds a level of stress that isn’t present when you’re just doing something for fun.
And please explain the brand name!
My mom’s maiden name is Evenson and one of her middle school teachers gave her the nickname “Odd Daughter.” Get it? Even Son…Odd Daughter! I thought it was really cute and decided to steal her nickname for my business. Thanks, mom!
What’s been your favorite card or print that you’ve designed so far?
Can I share two? The card that means the most to me reads “I’m sorry things are so dark right now.” Depression and grief are overwhelming. And we all have friends/family who are in the midst of those struggles. I wanted to put words to that sentiment and provide a way to encourage others.
My favorite design right now—when it comes to aesthetics—is my desert card. The screen printed colors are so vibrant and make me happy. It’s a blank card so it can be used for any occasion, which is handy.
You recently moved from San Diego to Albuquerque. What are you loving about your new city?
It’s been a big change, but I really like Albuquerque. The weather is incredible. There are seasons, but they’re super mild compared to most of the U.S. and I love that. There is definitely a slower pace of life in New Mexico, which was a big draw for me. There’s hardly any traffic and you can always find a parking spot! These might seem like small things, but after living in bigger cities, it’s so nice. Lastly, I just love the southwest culture and all of the amazing plants and cactus in the high desert.
What are your favorite career-centric resources?
Planoly: great for planning out social media posts
Evernote: A great organizational tool. All of my to-do lists live here and I can access them on my phone or desktop.
“How I Built This with Guy Raz”: a podcast interviewing the founders of some amazing companies. My favorite episode is with Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni’s Ice Cream. It’s so interesting—and I also love Jeni’s Ice Cream!
One tip you’d give to a woman who wants to launch her own business?
Be patient. It can take a while for your business to take off and become profitable. Obviously if things just aren’t working and you’re miserable, it’s more than okay to pivot and head in another direction. But if you’re still passionate about your business, stay with it. It takes time, energy, creativity, and innovation—and sometimes financial and/or emotional support from your parents or partner or investors! I started my business over six years ago and I’m still trying to get to a place where I can live comfortably. I don’t say that to discourage anyone, because others may grow more rapidly, but it’s worth knowing that people who appear to have it all figured out or succeed overnight have probably already put in a ton of work. As of right now, I’d say it’s worth it!