Business spotlight - Ducks in a Row
Welcome, welcome! Today's business spotlight is with Katie from Ducks in a Row. I'm a huge fan of Katie's prints - they are unique, and the emphasis on the cúpla focal appeals to the language lover in me! Although let it be said, my Irish is woefully tragic. Another one to add to my Duolingo list.
Strap yourselves in folks and let's dive in.
What do you do?
I'm a Chartered Accountant and artist - an unusual combination I know! I like variety. I also help out on the family stud farm when I can.
Why art? What do you love about it?
Accounting pays the bills, but my passions lie in art and nature. Art allows me to tap into my creative side and nature makes me calm and happy.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
With ducks in a row, I've been so inspired by the instagram art community. I've discovered it makes me incredibly happy to support small businesses, particularly Irish ones. To get this support in return has been overwhelming and simply lovely. I also do art parties and camps and the craic at these is mighty!
What’s your least favourite part?
For me, creating art can be hit or miss. Sometimes I'll create designs I love. Sometimes I'll spend three hours on something only to hate it. This can be demotivating and deflating. But I've learnt it's all part of the process and ultimately it helps me grow as an artist and as a person. What can be difficult about art is you really have to be in the mood to create it. Walking miles across the farm and beyond usually helps spark creativity!
Tell me about your daily routine?
Every day is different. Some days I'm out and about and others I'm at home working and/or creating art, or planning my next project. At the moment, it's therapeutic being around the farm as the foals are being born at this time of year. Did I mention I live on the family farm in a gate lodge? So I get to see the long legged babies every day. Watching them grow is pure class! Connecting with animals and nature daily is very important for me. Keeps me sane!
How do you come up with new ideas? Where do you take inspiration from?
For my content as gaeilge, I follow a lot of amazing Irish accounts which inspire me every day. I love the Irish language - it's special. When I see a thought provoking proverb or phrase, I try to visualise the words as a picture. Sometimes it's the other way around - I could be out hiking or looking at the moon and an idea hits me. Then I'll match up a quote that fits. There's certain things I love that I regularly draw inspiration from: the moon, the stars, the wind, the sea, the whispers of the trees, the resilience of nature, the freedom of a bird in flight...
How do you find your work-life balance? Is this something you struggle with?
Before ducks in a row, I was always quite good at switching off after work. I would leave on time (back when I worked as an accountant full-time), and make a point of not bringing work issues home with me. Different story now! I guess it's normal for your passion to take over your brain?! I'm constantly planning in my head - my next design, my next project, how I can grow, what I can do differently etc. I wouldn't change it though. "Is leor bheith sásta" - to be content is enough. If you can find contentment in what you do, you've won.
Is there any other part of business life you struggle with?
Hmm. I'll admit I need to work on my confidence when it comes to showcasing my work and backing myself. I'm a major introvert. When I see people confidently promoting themselves and their business on instagram stories for example, I feel inferior. I wish I had that confidence! That's why much of my content is about being brave and doing it anyway - I'm not just preaching, I'm really trying to take my own advice! Aside from this, I'm a perfectionist, which drives me mad!! Time management is something I need to work on.
Any essentials to get you through the day? Music/drinks/food/podcasts?
Tae - is breá liom é, I love it! Long walks with my gorgeous chockapoo (chocolate cockapoo) Pablo is also a daily must. Along with coco pops!
What is one thing you wish you knew before starting a business?
I knew success wouldn't happen overnight, but I suppose I didn't realise how slow growth could actually be. There's a big difference between getting loads of followers and actually turning these into sales. Consistency is key, but this can be hard if you have other priorities, or if you're simply not in the mood.
Sticking with things on the bad days has been challenging for me, but when I hear that little cha-ching on my shop app, it makes it all worthwhile. I still can't believe people want to spend their money on my creations, it's an amazing feeling. Míle buíochas to anyone who has bought something off me - thank you, thank you, thank you!
What’s one unexpected fact about you that people may not know?
I can do an uncanny pigeon impression. I also recently discovered it's 'dog-eat-dog world', not 'doggy-dog world'. Please don't unfollow me.
OK, first of all, we NEED to hear that pigeon impression, immediately. For some reason, despite having pigeons nesting next door, I'm completely unable to conjure up what they sound like. I guess the lovely couple are usually drowned out by my clucking chickens.
Secondly, I'm all shades of jealous that Katie lives on a stud farm - there's nothing quite like seeing those first pottering steps, high pitched squeals, and scutty propellor tails when they find the milk-bar for the first time.
It was such a joy to delve into Katie's life, and learn a bit about her creative processes. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did!