We had the good fortune of connecting with Katie Greco and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katie, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I never thought I would start my own business, I was usually a follower, not a leader. In college, I minored in Studio Art because I’ve always loved art – it was my comfort zone. I thought I had to get a regular corporate job like everyone else as I never knew how to pursue art professionally. I took a few graphic design classes towards the end of my college years and fell in love. That was the first time I thought to myself, this could be a career for me, but I discovered it too late. I also had a drawing class that made me realize how much I loved charcoal and drawing. I continued to think these would just be hobbies moving forward.
Once I graduated, I used my Communications major by starting my career in Customer Service at a music streaming company. I was on many small teams within my department where I got to lead their social media team and even had the honor to do a design project for their 10-year anniversary. This made me want to switch paths even more, but felt it was impossible because I didn’t have the background or degree to pursue it. I did side projects outside of work in design and did portraits for my friends and family. I remember showing my dad a portrait of my nephew I did for my sister and he looked at me and told me to quit my job and pursue art. 2 years into this job, my dad sadly passed away and it blew up my life. Work turned into a toxic place, I fell into depression and a year later, I made the decision to change my path for my health and happiness.
I quit my job and went back to school to study Graphic Design. While I was studying Graphic Design, I picked up drawing again. These two paths, Design and Drawing, became my one true path, which I ended up calling KT Studio. Now, I happily do Design, specifically, branding for all types of companies, illustrations for books and I draw commissioned charcoal portraits for people, ranging from babies to pets.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Coming from experience in customer service, I think I bring an extra personal, friendly level of comfort to my clients. I am very patient and understanding. I work with you instead of for you. I try to include my clients as much as they want to be included. I am also very responsive and detailed through the design process. I think these qualities set me apart from most.
Starting my business was not easy. I had to do many free projects to get started so I could have a solid portfolio on my website. How would I get clients without anything to show? It also takes time to craft your menu. I’ve always tried to have fair pricing so I can reach more people. As an artist, it’s easy to be taken advantage of, so it’s been a challenge to grow tough skin.
I’ve had a few art shows, some where I sold a bunch of prints and others where I didn’t sell much at all. It’s definitely a rollercoaster but a ride I thoroughly enjoy being on.
KT Studio is all about personalization – both in Design and Portraits. I’m here for you and to make something special for you. If it’s a logo for your new company or a portrait of a dog you lost, I want it to be memorable. Something that will make you happy, something timeless.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in Carlsbad, which is North County San Diego. I love where we live! We are close to everything. You can drive 30 minutes and be in downtown San Diego or drive 10 min and go to downtown Carlsbad or Encinitas. There are so many good spots to eat! Some favorites we take friends and family to are Le Papagayo, Herb & Sea, Fish 101, and Beach Plum.
You cannot visit without a trip to the beach! That’s a must. We are Zoo members so we would definitely take our visitors to the Safari Park or the San Diego Zoo. We also have so many trails, from Batiquitos Lagoon to Palomar Mountain.
I love to cook as well, so there will be some nights at home where we eat outside and enjoy the nice weather.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First, my parents for always supporting my love for art. My mom for being there for me through one of the toughest times in our lives and giving me the encouragement and love to change paths. My grandparents, for also believing in me and giving me the honor to do design for their businesses, which helped me establish a portfolio to start my career.
Most importantly, my husband, Travis, who has been my rock since the day we met. He never stopped believing in me, giving me advice, showing me support and love – through college, my first job, my dad’s passing, going back to school and pursing my own business.
Lastly, my teachers at both schools, for helping me craft my talents and confidence. Specifically, Vera Fainshtein, one of my favorite teachers going through school again. She really helped my design aesthetic get to the professional level.
Other: Tik Tok: https://www.tiktok.com/@kt_greco
Alyssa Young, Owner & Creator of Simple Sea