Keynote Presentation at Kansas City Design Week – Living the Dream: How Cat Coquillette Works as a Digital Nomad


Living the Dream: How Cat Coquillette Works as a Digital Nomad

KC Design Week invited me to speak about my unique work/travel lifestyle during KC’s most creative week of the year. The event sold-out and the crowd was packed with designers, architects, freelancers, and advertising and design professionals.


This was an incredible opportunity for me to give back to the city that cultivated my design career. Kansas City is home to a strong community of talented creatives and self-starters. To be surrounded by such talent and resources was both humbling and encouraging for a designer straight out of school, such as myself back in 2011.

My career began and bloomed in Kansas City. No matter where I am in the world, this place will always be my home.

I had the honor of being introduced to the audience by my former creative director at Willoughby Design, Nicole Satterwhite. I worked with Nicole during my time as a designer at Willoughby and I can confidently say that I learned from the best in the business. Needless to say, I started my talk with a giant grin and tears in my eyes after Nicole’s kindhearted words.


My presentation incorporated a blend of themes:

  1. How I turned my side-hustle (painting) into a viable career (art licensing)

  2. Passive income and the opportunities it affords

  3. The realities of living as a digital nomad– both good and bad


During my presentation, I also shared some personal stories that shaped my career trajectory.

I spoke about my first encounter dealing with infringers and how I fought to defend my copyright. I also shared the story of my first time negotiating a large art licensing contract, and how that experience defined the negotiation methods I use today: I look for opportunities to get what I want while finding solutions that mutually benefit both me and the other party. (Hint: it’s not always about numbers.)

I showed the audience how trends have the power to make or break your art licensing career. The top 10% of my portfolio earns me nearly 90% of my licensing income.

Finally, I encouraged everyone to look for opportunities that will help them grow personally or professionally– especially those unfamiliar challenges that toss us out of our comfort zones.

There are limitless unrealized opportunities within each of our hobbies, passions, and career that we can leverage into something greater. After all, there can be so much undiscovered value in the things we create that might not fit into a cookie-cutter mold, but we can grow into something incredible.


Attendee Matt Davidson took notes in an ultra-visual fashion:

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I want to extend a massive thank you to the KC Design Week team for inviting me to speak and for supporting me so fully from planning to execution. I worked directly with Abby Woolsey from Willoughby Design to concept my presentation. I couldn’t have done it without her– thank you so much, Abby!


One more shoutout: There were two very special people in the audience– my mom and dad. They were celebrating their 38th anniversary and decided to spend it with me! Afterwards, I took them out to dinner to thank them for allowing me to crash their anniversary evening. Love you, Mom and Dad!