Exclusive Interview with Moshery
Moshery is a lifestyle and entertainment blog with a killer collection of content. Their audience is primarily young women and the site features a curated array of posts relating to entertainment, culture, health and beauty. Some of my favorite articles are: Top 13 Places to Explore, Celebrities Who Would Make Great Drinking Buddies and Cutest Animation Movie Characters. 10/10 recommend checking them out!
Moshery's founder and chief editor, Meredith Schneider, reached out to me with an array of in-depth questions about my creative process. It wasn't until we spoke that we realized we're both Kansas City residents! It was great to meet another KC-local entrepreneur who is absolutely on fire with her blog.
Here's a few bits from our interview. (Check out the full interview on Moshery here.)
MOSHERY: What would you like our readers to know about you?
Cat Coquillette: I’m the creative behind CatCoq, an illustration and design brand. I started my career in the design agency world and am now working for myself as a commercial artist and brand designer. The leap to entrepreneurship was terrifyingly uncertain, but has paid off. Personality-wise, I feel like I resonate with the crazy old cat lady persona, except I don’t have any cats and I’m in my 20s.
M: When did you decide to pursue art as a career? What were your studies like?
Cat: I’ve always gravitated towards the arts, so I began pursuing a BFA in illustration at The University of Kansas. I packed my electives with graphic design courses, and after a few classes, I was smitten. I couldn’t choose between the two studies, so I decided to double-major. That was the best decision I could have made. I knew I wanted to start my own firm at some point, so I also enrolled in business minor courses.
Our professors expected a lot from us, so my courses were very demanding. I pretty much lived in the Art & Design building on campus during my junior & senior years. (I even had a blanket and a favorite spot to nap when I needed a break.) Our assignments gave us a well-rounded foundation in design; we learned web, interactive, motion graphics, animation, branding, illustration, typography, campaigns, publication design, etc. The essence of design is problem solving, so every project ensured that we were focused on custom design solutions.
I studied in Germany for a semester during my junior year as well. It was there that I got hooked with infographics. I wound up designing a booklet comparing renewable energy practices between Germany and the US, which was one of my best pieces in my senior portfolio.
M: Your stuff is so damn cute. Do you own all of it? Is your place full of your work? (I would surround myself with it!)
Cat: I still own nearly all of my originals, with the exception of the ones I’ve given away to friends and family. The rest all stored away in flat files until I figure out what to do with them. My walls are pretty much coated in artwork, though. I collect tapestries from my travels and have purchased more screen prints than I have wall space for. I also hang paintings, prints, digital illustrations, you name it. My collection is getting little ridiculous– every time I buy a new piece, something has to retire from the wall. One of my favorite pieces of art is an animal screen print that my friends Jessica & Tad at Carpenter Collective designed. I love animals and this piece has about a million of them.
M: In modern society, what does feminism mean to you?
Cat: It’s too bad that “feminism” has become such a loaded word. It’s simply the advocacy that all people are entitled to the same rights, regardless of gender. Any decent person should want to get behind that.
M: You have worked with a wide array of clients. Do you have any personal anecdotes from working with them, or anything you’d like to share about your experiences?
Cat: I embrace a healthy of mix of personal projects + client work. With personal projects, you get to make all your own calls, which is obviously awesome. However, working collaboratively with clients can push you to uncharted territory, which can be incredibly rewarding as well. The overwhelming majority of my client relationships have been fulfilling and enjoyable, with results that we’re both proud of. My guilty pleasure is reading “Clients from Hell” stories and feeling smug about myself. One day karma will probably catch up with me.
M: What do you think is underappreciated in this world?
Cat: It’s quite common for creative work to be undervalued when it comes to compensation. I feel incredibly lucky that my passion is intertwined with my career, but that doesn’t mean that I should expect less in pay just because I enjoy the work I do. It’s so common to see this perception that it’s a privilege to design a logo or paint a commission.
One of the worst things we can do to our creative profession is to let our work go undervalued. I hire a CPA to do my taxes because he’s a professional and tax law is not my forte. I trust his judgement, appreciate his service and pay him fairly. Hiring creative professionals should be a similar practice. I’m not going to tell my Uber driver that he should give me a free ride because it’s “great exposure!”. Guess what? “Great for my portfolio” doesn’t pay the rent.
Quality creative work is incredibly valuable to brands, and successful companies realize this. Be confident in the value that you bring to the table. We work hard and deliver great work in order to get gratifying payoffs, both financially and mentally. The best clients are the ones that make you feel respected and valued.
M: What’s your favorite quote at the moment?
Cat: “At the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy, & your eyes sparkling.” –Shanti