Being authentic isn’t an issue for Katherine Klimitas. In the most literal sense, her perspective is uniquely her own.
A watercolor artist, graphic designer, jewelry maker, budding keynote speaker and author, Katherine has been in a wheelchair her entire life. She’s 2 feet, 7 inches tall, and there’s only one way she can work—lying on her side.
Katherine was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, more commonly known as Brittle Bone Disease. Describing her condition as “the hand I was dealt,” Katherine said the disease makes marketing her brand, and herself, tricky business.
“There’s a fine line because you don’t want people to make you out to be a victim, but you also have to use what you have,” Katherine says. “Osteogenesis Imperfecta is something I’m always going to have to deal with, so it definitely comes into play. But it’s not necessarily the first thing I want people to remember about me.”
An artist from the start
Growing up in New Orleans, Katherine got her first set of watercolors at age 5 from her mom. She sold her first painting by age 10 and what began as a childhood hobby evolved into a burgeoning career.
Katherine meticulously conveys her passion for animals through her art. She says she was fortunate early on to have gifted artists as friends and teachers who helped her develop the painting technique she uses today to get the eyes and fur just right. But she didn’t stop there.
Realizing her physical limitations could keep her from producing enough art to sustain herself financially, Katherine pursued a graphic design degree at Loyola University. “Graphic design is still creative. It’s still art but let’s face it, it pays the bills a bit better,” she says.
Just shy of her graduation from Loyola, she launched KAK ART & Designs, which today serves as the umbrella brand for all her creative passions. “If I don’t switch mediums every day or two, I get burned out. Graphic design uses my brain in a different way, so I don’t get bored,” she says.
Balancing act of storytelling
Because of Katherine’s uniquely authentic perspective and style, she understands that part of what sells her art is actually her. For help in balancing the story of who she is with what she does, Katherine turned to HerNature Founder Carole Dupre.
The first big step in working with HerNature, according to Katherine, was to identify her audience, who was buying her art and jewelry and how to reach that specific group of people.
I think when you’re authentic, you’re able to do whatever you’re doing better and to the best of your ability.
“Carole helped me shape my overall message and what I wanted people’s first impression to be. And then how to portray my KAK ART brand consistently across all media,” Katherine said. “She also helped me pinpoint my monetary and personal goals and made sure we could measure them.”
“Through our work together, I was able to exceed my goals for in-home art shows over the past year, build my list of potential buyers and get a better system in place for growing the fine-art side of my business.”
See HerNature’s Authentic Career Roadmap to learn more about the steps we took to help Katherine unearth her nature, clarify her personal brand and craft a roadmap for growing her KAK ART & Designs business.