Meet Katlin McFadden

women in business series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Today I get to share one of the people I would drive an hour or more to support. I met Katlin McFadden two years ago at a blogger event and instantly connected with her. She was actually profiled last year in my positive images series, you can find it here. Also quick reminder you can find all the profiles of the women spotlighted here on this page.

Meet Katlin McFadden in the Women in Business Series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom 1

Tell me a little bit about you. 

My name is Katlin McFadden. I was born and raised in a small town in Pennsylvania. I now hang my hat in Fayetteville with my 2 daughters. During the day, I work full time as a business coach for the Women’s Business Center of Fayetteville and by nights/weekends I focus on my business-working as an artist selling original artwork and prints. 

Tell me about your business. 

My business is called “McFadden Studio“. I work as a studio artist creating pencil drawings, charcoal drawings, and paintings with a focus on military art and portraits. I named my business McFadden Studio because eventually, it will become a family effort. My little sister has a keen eye for photography…one of my older sisters is a floral designer…the goal is family collaboration whether it’s incorporating work into my online shop or inspiring each other.

Meet Katlin McFadden in the Women in Business Series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

What struggles have you faced in your business? 

One of the biggest struggles I have faced with my business is pricing my artwork. Art is a passion of mine and creating is something I’m constantly doing…I’m asked almost on a daily basis “can you just draw this really quick” or “can you sketch out a design concept”…I’m learning to charge every time I put my pencil to paper and use the skills I’ve worked so hard to master. 

How have you overcome those struggles?

I’m overcoming that struggle by recognizing the value of my work and my time. I have spent over a decade improving my skills (in college, apprenticing, and a ton of practice). To hand drawings to someone or to work in any creative way for free is like someone asking for a product off of my shelf. So I’m been really considering how I can set boundaries-I think a lot of artists have the same struggle at some point in their career.

Who were your mentors growing up? 

One of my main mentors growing up was my older sister, Tara. Tara owns her own floral design business. I recall when I was around 10 years old she worked out of her home doing floral design, weaving baskets and making soap. She’s always been a very hard worker and has built her creative business from the ground up…she was a “green” business before it was trendy..she’s always been very true to her core values. I’ve learned a lot of lessons from her and I continue to remind myself to roll up my sleeves and keep on working to build. She taught me to stick to my passion and my the values I want to incorporate in my own business. Another mentor that was very important on my journey was the artist I did my tattoo apprenticeship under, Roly Viruez. Roly is another hard worker who holds true to his values. He had a very family-oriented, clean-cut approach to running a tattoo shop that I highly respected. He incorporated fine arts into his craft. I learned so much from him in regards to technical skill and also the importance of staying focused on what you want out of your own business or career.

If you were to give advice to a woman going into the field you are in what would it be?

My best advice is to really focus on what you’re passionate about. There will be a lot of opinions!! I’ve heard a lot of “you should do this…” and “you should make this…” but at the end of the day.. every time I listened to those “you shoulds” I ended up veering off course from what I really wanted to do. Now I’ve learned to put my foot down and only focus on creating what truly speaks to me. You have to have the courage to turn down money. Offers will come but if the projects don’t align with your vision for your business then you have to ask yourself if it’s worth losing your focus. When I figured out what my goals for my business were and said no to anything outside of that-I started seeing growth. 

Meet Katlin McFadden in the Women in Business Series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Have you found that being a woman in your field is harder or easier? Tell me about the advantages and disadvantages of being a woman. 

I think it’s pretty common now to be a female studio artist. When I was going through my tattoo apprenticeship I saw more of the challenges of being a female. Tattooing is very common for men but at the time there weren’t a ton of females in the industry. It became extremely hard to balance my home life and my tattoo career because of the demanding hours and lifestyle. I was at the shop from about 2 pm to 2 am sometimes. That meant I wasn’t home to cook dinner and I was pretty exhausted. Tattooing is a lifestyle and you basically end up eating your meals at the shop and your friends are fellow artists. It’s an amazing profession as every day was full of inspiration and creating but, for a woman that wanted children and a family it presented some very real challenges. I think one of the benefits of being a woman in that field was that I had a different approach to how I treated my clients. I think women are very intuitive and nurturing by nature and we are also rockstars at multi-tasking so I always had great conversations with clients and I felt I was able to accomplish a lot during my short time there. It was always nice to get to know everyone, talk about kids…jobs… artwork..and then I would run into clients at the grocery store! Women just have a different approach when it comes to taking care of people. This also translates into my studio art business-I always end up making new friends with clients when they want me to draw their children or families because I am a mother myself…so I always find myself chatting about those challenges and learning so much about everyone. 

Have you ever have to overcome a hostile work environment? 

Unfortunately yes. I recall another apprentice who was a male really tried to bully and intimidate me. I’m a fairly quiet and reserved person and I think sometimes that can come across as weak but I dug my heels in, focused on my job, and tried to ignore his efforts. I think that was the best way to overcome that circumstance-you have to have confidence in your abilities and not let anyone try to distract you from your goals. Women are strong!!

Meet Katlin McFadden in the Women in Business Series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

What made you decide on your chosen field?

I chose my field because I genuinely love what I do. I’ve been focused on art since I was in grade school. I spend the majority of my free time creating things in a variety of mediums. I knew I wanted to create in some capacity whether it’s my day job or a side hustle. I initially chose tattooing because I thought the ideal profession for me would be to draw all day. I now have my studio art business as my side hustle because I realize that I prefer to create things on my own terms. I’m very happy with where I’m at in my business right now and I’m looking forward to the plans I have for the upcoming year! 

Anything else you would care to share.

I think the last thing I would like to share is that if you’re genuinely good at what you do, it doesn’t matter what your gender is. Stay focused, work hard, produce results…at the end of the day your determination and talent is what will show through and those things can’t be denied. 

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