Season 5 – epiBLOG 13:
Many of us get caught up in the failures of our day-to-day lives. The failures become bigger than hope, than life, and even bigger than ourselves. Part of the reason behind this is that humans have a tendency to focus on what we lack… on those things we desire that have yet to materialize the way we want them to.
I’m definitely guilty of this, by the way.
I’m not faulting you for that… or myself, for that matter. That’s simply part of the human condition.
If you lack money and need it, needing money is then your dominating thought. If you try to figure out how long you can hold your breath under water, the main thought on your mind after a minute or two is oxygen.
Whatever we feel we lack, we think about. I’m not advising you to stop doing that because that is part of who you are. It’s somehow ingrained in the DNA of Homo sapiens. However, when we let these thoughts dominate us so much so that we feel powerless against everything, that’s when you’re stopping yourself from moving forward.
You have to sometimes “take a break” from those thoughts of lack and to become present to the strong parts of who you are. The wonderful parts. The talented parts. The empowering side that conjures up courage, mental strength, tenacity, and persistence under challenging circumstances.
Business Owner of Macro Idea Studio Katty Ibarra exemplifies such empowerment in every aspect of her life. And because this is Women’s History Month, I felt that celebrating an empowered woman in this #metoo era is extremely significant.
It’s only been a few months since I met Katty, and I knew immediately that she is a powerful force that’s making an impact on the world at large. My every encounter with her since meeting at an Art Unites Event in January of this year proves that belief to be true. Whether she is volunteering her time at the Hera Hub co-working space for women or serving as the preferred graphic designer for the National Latina Business Women Association, she is touching lives with her talents and abilities as a graphic designer, web designer, and marketer.
Katty not only received her Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design, but she went on to collaborate with the marketing directors from such companies as L’Oréal, Nestle, and Coca Cola Mexico.
Katty founded Macro Idea Studio in 2002 in Mexica City, with its main objective of “solving graphic communications of a company, providing unity, innovation, and quality to every project.” Her company is now binational since recreating her business success in 2012 in San Diego, California.
She serves her clients with the utmost of professionalism, integrity, and heart, while still providing quality time with her children. It’s an honor to have been able to interview her.
Today’s topic is on my interview with Graphic/Web Designer and Entrepreneur Katty Ibarra.
Nitara O: What first inspired you to want to do graphic and web design work?
Katty I: I have a little brother, and when we were both little, he used to watch superhero cartoons. I became fascinated with the logos. I was impacted by the logos on the superhero costumes. I then started comparing the images that I saw – “why did this one have an “S?” Why did this one have a flash? Why this – why that?” Also, it was the colors that excited me… just everything excited me. Ever since I was little, I started noticing the different fonts of companies or wondering why a certain package had certain colors. I became obsessed with studying why a brand would use a certain color over another. Since the beginning, I was in love with graphics.
Nitara O: That’s wonderful! And what inspired you to want to own your own business? You could’ve easily worked for someone else as a graphic designer.
Katty I: Ever since the beginning of my journey, I was always like an entrepreneur. It was a given. It came naturally. Of course, early on in my career, I was employed by a company. But even back then, people would always ask me if I would do work for them on the side. I did it as a freelancer, so I always had that entrepreneurial spirit. I remember one time when I was working for a company, a gentleman asked me if I do web design. And at the time, I wanted to take a web design class. So, I went to find out the cost of the class, went back to my first “potential” web design client, and charged him the cost of the class. He said yes, and we were both able to benefit from that experience. I always like to take advantage of opportunities when they are presented to me.
Nitara O: That’s part of being an entrepreneur. You are presented with an opportunity and you take it.
Katty I: Exactly. For example, there was another time that I worked for a really big design company in Mexico and I was making phenomenal money. But I ended up getting laid off, along with many other colleagues. And when I started looking for other jobs, there wasn’t anything comparable to what I was making at the other company. I was at a point in my life when I was asking myself now what. Since no one was willing to pay me what I was worth, I chose to get my own clients.
Nitara O: Another entrepreneurial quality: you took initiative. You didn’t wait for an opportunity to come along. You created one for yourself.
Katty I: Exactly. That was my solution to a problem that I was presented with. I started my own company.
Nitara O: That’s phenomenal. You mentioned starting your business in Mexico. Did you find it easier to build your business in Mexico or here in the United States?
Katty I: Well, I’m just going to throw this out there: the big deal in Mexico when I was building my business was that I was a woman. For example, I would have to work directly with males a lot of the time, and in their interactions with me, they would constantly tell me to “ask my boss” about things that I already knew how to do or knew the answer to. They would overlook my credibility and believe there was a “man” behind the scenes that knew better. They didn’t treat me like I was the owner.
Nitara O: That’s sad. I’m sure that still continues to go on today – both in Mexico and the United States.
Katty I: Unfortunately, yes it does. But I’m still successful because I keep moving forward.
Nitara O: You’re right. You should be so proud of yourself. It’s a big deal that you’re a female entrepreneur who was able to overcome all of those obstacles. Not just in Mexico, but here in San Diego.
Katty I: Thank you.
Nitara O: You’re welcome, but you deserve the credit. I mean, you overcame the language barrier when you started building your business in the United States. You now speak both fluent English and Spanish. You’ve overcome time management – you’re a single mom who is also an entrepreneur. Both roles need you equally, and you manage those parts of your life effectively.
Katty I: (chuckling) You’re giving me too much credit.
Nitara O: Not at all. You deserve it. I want to pivot just a bit. What type of clients do you tend to service? Web design versus graphic design? Small versus big?
Katty I: Well, I do everything from designing a logo, to designing a website, to corporate identity, advertising and collateral design, to packaging design. And I service clients from big companies to smaller start-ups. I enjoy working with both types. I enjoy helping people to create their dreams. When clients come to me with their business idea, and I’m able to create a logo for them or design all of their stationary and business cards… it becomes a reality for them. And I love being a part of that. I especially enjoy working with female entrepreneurs.
Nitara O: Why is that?
Katty I: I think it’s a cultural thing. In Mexico, there’s a lot of machismo. Women are often oppressed. And in Mexican culture some men don’t allow their spouses to work. It’s a big deal for a woman to start her own business, and I want to help women feel empowered to do just that. To help them to achieve their dreams.
Nitara O: You’re all about empowerment. I like that. So what motivates you on a regular basis as an entrepreneur?
Katty I: I really enjoy doing design. That is my purpose in life. If I’m not doing design, I get depressed. For me, I need to continue creating things. My kids also motivate me. They’re my fuel. They are the energy that I need to continue. Also, when you own your own company, you get to decide what to do with your own time. Sometimes I like to be working a lot – I’m definitely a workaholic. (chuckling) And there are other times when I decide that I will spend the day with my kids. That’s the part that I enjoy about having my own business.
Nitara O: Then there’s the other side of being an entrepreneur in the beginning with the instability. How were you able to overcome the “roller coaster ride” that entrepreneurs experience in the beginning?
Katty I: I didn’t really have any option, right? (chuckling) If I didn’t keep on moving forward, I wouldn’t eat. It’s all about not giving up. For example, I moved here [to San Diego] five years ago. It was like starting over with my business. No one knew me. I literary had to think positive and understand that things will be okay. And they were. My business is thriving now.
Nitara O: So you’re saying as long as you work hard and keep moving forward, you’ll see success?
Katty I: Well, if you find yourself not getting the results that you want, try a different approach with your business. It’s also very helpful to have mentors. Shaun Cassidy is my mentor. He helped me to open my mind and see different perspectives.
Nitara O: That’s awesome. Well, with March being Women’s History Month, what advice do you have for female entrepreneurial artists who want to make a living with their art?
Katty I: (1) Always remember that you can achieve what you’re wanting. It’s just a matter of finding and using the right tools to reach your goals. (2) Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are associations out there – like SBDC, SCORE, etc. – there are a lot of them out there that can help you with your business needs. And (3) I would also recommend getting a good mentor so that you can lead the life and business that you want to build for yourself.
Nitara O: Thank you so much, Katty! I so appreciate you doing this interview for The UnCloseted Professor. I just know your advice and influence is going to help so many people.
Katty I: You’re welcome. Thank you for having me. It’s an honor.
What an amazing entrepreneurial artist who is making a living doing what she loves! Not only is Katty inspiring, smart, and successful, but she uses her talents and skills to empower others in their own lives and businesses, and what greater way to spend one’s life than to positively impact the lives of others.
Today’s LESSON is to discover ways to be empowered and to use that discovery to empower others.
FUN ASSIGNMENT: List 10 of your greatest strengths. Write down goals and actions that you can take right now, using your top three strengths as a foundation.
Katty Ibarra is a full time graphic designer, web designer, and marketer. She resides in the San Diego metropolitan area. Contact Katty: USA: 619-851-3340 San Diego CA, 92101, USA or Mexico: +(5255) 8596-4937 Tuxpan 89 Col. Roma Sur, CP 06760, Mexico DF
Please contact Nitara Osbourne if you’re a full time artist, and would like to be interviewed in The UnCloseted Professor Blog or if you would like help developing your life story into a non-fiction book or movie script. InfiniteWriterAgency@gmail.com.