This week’s guest is Catherine (Cat) Hildner, creator, designer and heart & soul behind Kitty Meow® Boutique (@kittymeowboutique). Michelle & Cat will be discussing, among other things, the beauty of 'F' Bombs, Cat’s blogs, video content, her KMB educational programs, her upcoming Ultimate Product Party conference and how she finds that work/life balance we all seek to achieve. Cat is truly a powerhouse and we are so grateful she took time out of her busy schedule not only as a business owner but as a wife, momma to two gorgeous little ladies + one little dude, and self –proclaimed Customer Service Queen!
At Kitty Meow you can shop beautifully designed paper & party goodies based on your mood: WITTY (edgy, saucy, semi-inappropriate) or SWEET (thoughtful, charming, and well...sweet!) The Kitty Meow® brand is fun, FIERCE, & designed to make women feel confident, empowered, and courageous enough to take the bull by the horns in life with thoughtful details! You can catch her weekly episodes of the Dreams to Plans Podcast (@dreamstoplanspodcast) where Cat & co-host @mygirlfriendrenee give valuable, honest, and hilarious content for creative, small businesses everywhere. You can also learn with Cat about all things running a profitable, product based business through KMB Educational Programs and the Ultimate Product Party Conference- all based on helping women who have product based businesses build a brand with tons of personality.
If you are interested in attending Cat’s Ultimate Product Party 2-day conference, use PROMO CODE RETAILWHOREUPPat checkout for $50 off your ticket
Michelle: Hey there. I'm Michelle Sherrier and this is the Retail Whore Podcast, The Stories and Lessons from a Life and Retail. Hello. Hello? I have a voice. Oh, my God. Guys, I was sick for almost a month. And as you heard through the last couple of podcasts, I had such a sad voice. So it feels so good to have full lung capacity now. And while I had two tests that came back as negative COVID. It seems to be that's what everyone seems to think I had because I was sick for almost a month. So I'm happy to say I am well and I'm back and I have full energy again. And praise God, this week's A Big Week. Magic starts this week. There's also a side apparel show, which is over at the Las Vegas Convention Center. So by the time you hear this, it will be the third and last day of magic. The other show will have wrapped. But I'm going to have recaps of both the shows as well as the Las Vegas gift show, and we are going to be sending it out as a newsletter. The only way you can get this newsletter is if you hand over your email address. I swear to God I won't spam you, but the emails will be or the newsletter will be once a month. We're starting off with the recap of the shows and from there on it will be how to's it'll be, trends and loving. It will be overviews of jobs that we've done with beginning to end photos or time lapse. It's ideally, it's chock full of information, more information than I give you already on mc design collaboration, daily stories, which if you follow their, you know, I give a lot of information and I talk through a lot of the displays I'm doing. So hopefully it's beneficial to you guys, but for sure this newsletter is going to go further on beyond past that. Plus you will be first in the know for workshops I'm going to be having. Yes, you heard it right. We're going to be doing workshops as well as videos that we're going to start putting out. So I'm super excited.
Michelle: Lots coming down the pipeline for this year, but the way we're going to start it off is these newsletters. This week we have Catherine or Cat Hildur. Her brand is Kitty Meow, which is straight up the cutest, baddest ass stationery and card line. She uses the F-bomb liberally. So, you know, I love this chick, but there there's sweet cards that she doesn't use curse words. And then there's my personal favorite, the ones where she does. And she also has a event coming up, which I'm really going to try and make. It sounds amazing. It's not one of the workshops where it is a colossal amount to join. It is going to be in Arizona. It's a two day event. There are speakers. If you have a brand or a product that you're trying to get off the ground, these girls are going to tell you how to do it and what worked for them. And they have all different speakers coming in. They're going to talk about social media, they're going to talk about photography. They're going to talk about everything that encompasses getting your brand off the ground. And she also has a podcast, dreams to plan podcast, and I've been listening to it. I love it. It's chock full of knowledge and again, super snarky. I, I think you guys are going to love her. So without further ado, here is Cat Hildur from Kitty Meow. Hey Kat, welcome to the retail podcast. I am super excited that you're here.
Cat: Woohoo! I'm even more excited to be here. Thanks, Michel.
Michelle: You're welcome. You're just coming off the show, so I know it's probably been crazy. You were in Atlanta. Did you do or you do in New York now as well?
Cat: No, I only did Atlanta. I have three little kids. And just being away from them for these long periods of time gives me all the mom guilt and my husband a little less sanity. So for right now, I stick to Atlanta until they're a little bit older.
Michelle: So for those of you who don't know, we already did it in the intro. But you have a brand kiddie meal boutique and you also have a couple other things that I can't wait to dive into. But tell us a little bit about yourself and your brand.
Cat: Yeah, so my name is Kat Catherine. I live in the Chicagoland area. I'm a mom of Three Little Rascals and my brand is kiddie boutique. It has nothing to do with cats. The name Kitty Meow is kind of my alter ego when I don't really give a fuck about what other people are thinking about me. And it's this combination of funny but then sexy, sophisticated designs, which is totally my personal personality. And yeah, paper party gift goodies just fine. Funny things.
Michelle: Number one, I think what drew me to you, because you use the F-bomb so, like so easily, which I love. I mean, that's the name of the podcast is kind of set people off, but also the fact that I drop F-bombs all the time and it's like, I'm sorry, it's like my favorite word is like, it is who I am, so I can't. But your cards also have the bone on them. And it's funny because I'm a buyer for five store pharmacy and twisted wares we had for years and everything is an F-bomb on it. And I swear to God, it was the number one thing we sold and people complained. But by far and large, the sales outweighed the complaints until we had one situation on a weekend when no one was there, and then the managers are there. And some man came in, was holding up the house, shouting in the middle of the pharmacy, This is why children are shooting each other. I'm like, Oh my gosh. So that was the end of the F bomb, things like. And now I'm up against numbers trying to beat last year's numbers by selling twisted wares. Fuck this, fuck that towels. And I'll never beat last year's numbers because how well they sold.
Cat: Well, I love it. Twisted Wares and I love the name of your podcast. That's what immediately drew me to you. And come on, I never say the F bomb to be mean or hurtful. It's for me on my greeting cards to quickly convey an emotion, and I try to do it in a way that's either subtle or gorgeously designed. So it looks pretty. And so lighten up, I think serious.
Michelle: I, I always thought because you, you OC, you have a lot of things, you wear a lot of hats. So you have your blog, which I highly recommend. I don't, I scan through it, but the topics that you cover are what every single business person goes through. And you also have your Academy of Beauty powerhouse group. So talk to me about first the blog.
Cat: Oh, gosh. Well, the blog, I just kind of repurpose emails and throw them up there. Or if I do an Instagram live, I repurpose the video content and put it up on my blog. But I have my products that I sell via email, and then I also coach other product based businesses, mainly in the stationary paper goods space on how to grow their product based businesses. And those are the K and B educational programs. I'll do like a summer intensive or right now I have my mastermind, which is a six month program going on that's a little bit more high level. And then newly this year, I've partnered up with my friend Allison to take on the Ultimate Product Party, which is a two day creative conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. And we are just so excited, so nervous and going for it.
Michelle: How many people do you have coming? How many people are you standing in front of doing your. Powerhouse Group four.
Cat: For my mastermind, it's five ladies. When I do my group coaching program over the summer, it's Facebook type coaching, so that's more like 30 people at a time.
Michelle: And then the powerhouse event.
Cat: The ultimate product party, we're shooting for like 150 people, 150 product based businesses who want to level up, get their eyes, get their products on more eyes and make more money.
Michelle: So I don't want to I first want to go back to the cards because I'm like so many things chomping at the bit like ask you about the groups, but so what did you do prior to starting this, this card line? Were you always in stationery or graphic arts or were you in retail?
Cat: Yeah. So I went to college here in Illinois for graphic design. When I graduated from college, I moved to Las Vegas and I worked in nightlife advertising for 2 to 3 years. And towards then a couple of years into it, I was just really unhappy and I felt like I was spending a lot of time building someone else's dream and the company culture was just kind of toxic. And it wasn't where I saw myself for the long haul. And there was Cliff Notes version I, I left, I was building my Etsy shop on the side. I met my husband a few years into building this Etsy shop, and he was just really supportive of me leaving and going off on my own. And I'm like, You know what? I'm going to do this. I started off doing a lot of invitations, a lot of custom work. If you needed something designed, I would try my best to make it happen. And then I had kids and I said, I'm so over doing custom design, I really hate it. I have no brand cohesion, nothing looks like how I want it to be, and nothing was something that I was really proud of. And that's when I kind of launched into wholesale and develop this signature style in a brand voice and all of these different things. And it's been I mean, I've been designing for myself for over a decade and people have probably only heard of my brand over the last year or so, if they even have. Well, it's been a long haul.
Michelle: How I came across you, but I was like, Oh my God, the product is amazing. And I think it was a spotlight. Atlanta did a spotlight or something on you.
Cat: I think maybe because I'm in the best of show showroom in Atlanta, so.
Michelle: That may be why. And I kind of followed the links in it, but I had not, you know, and that's why it's so embarrassing, because I am really good friends with Catherine, second person that I didn't even realize that you were in her showroom, but it seemingly seems like you came out of nowhere. But you've been doing this for ten years.
Cat: Yeah, longer than that. It's been a slow, slow grind. And I was just spent so many years with no strategy, being too afraid of my own shadow, too afraid to put an F bomb on a card, too afraid to show up on video or to simply feel comfortable showing my true, authentic self. As cheesy as that sounds. And it wasn't.
Cat: I just I had to get over it. And that's when my business really took off.
Michelle: What has the card line evolved? There is always I mean, what did it look like before it had F-bombs on it?
Cat: So everything's organized. So where you can shop based on your mood. So we have the witty side, which is your edgy, funny, more inappropriate sentiments with the F-bombs. And those all come with black envelopes because like my soul, black like my soul. And then the sweet side comes with blush envelopes. And those are going to be your more sweet, thoughtful, charming. Good enough for my kids to read if they could read type greetings.
Michelle: What ten years ago did it also have? Did you have? Because it's very tight as far as like marketing wise, that's very tight and very smart as far as the black envelope and the blush envelope did. Was it always this cohesive or is it kind of evolved as it's gone along now?
Cat: Oh, my gosh. Like right now, I only use certain colors in all of my designs. I only use certain typefaces and type treatments. And there's a specific look to Academy Card. But ten years ago I was using like bright green, bright yellow, bright. I was just using any color and I didn't understand that they had to look the same. I was like, No, I can't have one design to look the same as the next design. People are going to be bored with that. And there was zero brand cohesion. Sometimes in my Facebook Memories Designs will pop up from ten years ago and I'm like, Oh my gosh, that's disgusting. Please send that away.
Michelle: How how did you find cohesion? Did you have a mentor or does somebody step in? Or is it just something that kind of evolved as you start looking at your line with broader eyes?
Cat: There was a coach that I had that told me once that none of my stuff looked cohesive and that really hurt because I didn't see it. Sometimes you're so close to your business that you don't see what is so obvious to somebody else who's looking at it with fresh eyes. And I probably ugly cried about it for over a week. And then I thought, okay, you're right. I can totally see where you're coming from. And then just kind of got to work on what I wanted my signature style to be. And it's not like I'm married to this style, but I experiment every season. I try something new. This year I just started incorporating some yellow, which sounds so lame but is very outside the box for me because I only do black white blush. I do some reds and pinks because I love like lipstick colors. And yeah, it's just very fashionable, sexy, but fun and funny and dorky.
Michelle: How long have you had a rep? Have you always been with Best in Show or have you kind of jumped around or how long have you been with Kathryn?
Cat: Yeah, so I've been with Kathryn since about 2019, and that's just when I got started with wholesale and I was literally reaching out to rep groups all over the place, like, take me, anybody, please take me. And Kathryn was very sweet and she took me under her wing and the rep group gave me a lot of business within my first year of doing wholesale, and then I've just kind of branched out from there. And I've tried other rep groups and they haven't done what I needed them to do, and that's not a dig on them, like it's a relationship. And if both people aren't doing their part of the relationship, it's not going to work. But the showroom that I'm in in Atlanta, it's not a rep run showroom. So while my products get to stay there all year round, like I'm the one who comes in during show time and sells the products and.
Michelle: Oh, okay. So it's not it's okay. I didn't I don't I work for rep groups. I do merchandising and design, but I don't have anything to do with the sales part of it. So sometimes I don't understand how some of the show, but I've never heard of a non rep group showroom. That's interesting.
Cat: Yeah. So I mean the only difference is that we need to be there and we don't. I mean we still pay the showroom fees, but we don't pay commission on the orders because we're writing the orders ourselves.
Michelle: Was that? How many shows have you done with them?
Cat: I've only been in the showroom for about a year, so I did summer 2021 and there's been some social selling and then winter 2022. And yeah, I think I'm going to do Summer 2022 with them. I mean, it's like I really do want to go to all the shows and I do not use my kids as an excuse to not do jack shit because that is not my all. Yeah. But now I'm like, Oh, is New York still a popular show? I feel like Dallas. Everyone's talking about Dallas. And obviously I have my showroom with Katherine in LA, but I don't physically go to that one ever.
Michelle: Yeah, I, I listen to the snippet that you had on the podcast about people walking by and like how awkward it is standing. You have to rephrase that because you literally I feel for reps one because as a buyer, because I change hats. So I go from setting up schlumpy and then I turn into a buyer and now I'll send them looking at stuff like I've never seen it before. And I feel for the reps that come in that both on the line and you are very close to it, like it's your baby. And then you also have hours and hours and hours of standing there and like, Hi, how are you? Your podcast quote was so perfect because it was nailed what I assume what it feels like to be a rep standing there.
Cat: I think I said something along the lines of that I am not. I'm very socially awkward and I'm kind of an introvert. I'm very much an introvert. So as much as I enjoy talking to my community, like if I don't feel comfortable in a situation, I'm like, Oh gosh, no, I'd rather just kind of stand back. I'm not a sales person by any means, so being aggressive to try to get the sale, that is not my wheelhouse. It's not where I feel comfortable. And you'll be standing there like, Hey, would you like some free greeting cards? And people are like looking at you like, you're a weirdo. No, thank you. And you're like, okay, well, you know, fuck you. And it's just so weird and awkward. You put yourself out there and then people don't want to make eye contact because at shows, if you make that eye contact, it's like an invitation to come talk to me and try to sell me on your line. And it gets to be very awkward where some people like if you're a big buyer, you're turning your badge. So people are like, Oh my gosh, that's Barnes Noble, everyone go talk to them. And they don't even want to be approached because they're a big deal.
Michelle: I stuff stores at Fred Segal and that was exactly what we do. Flip the Badger on because everyone was like, Let's see you go for people, come in, come in, sit down. Would you like 90? Can we get you cocktails? Can you get your coffee? And it was like, no, no, I'm good, really, I'm good. I'm just like, so I can only imagine. But I was dying listening to that because all I can think about is all the reps I pass by in all these shows, standing there awkwardly, it's kind of like the lotion guy at the mall or.
Cat: Like breaking hearts. Gosh.
Michelle: I feel for you guys. So when did you start doing and I first I had to say, like, I love the idea of the educational product part of it because you see it a lot in self help people, you see it a lot in the wellness world you don't see at least I've not seen any for people for wholesale, for gift of trying to get your name out there and getting more comfortable and like you're the first person I've seen do that. That's another reason why I was dying to have you on, because I think it's amazing. And I think there are so many people that have either one foot in the door and product going or they're thinking about it or whatever, and it's literally kind of sitting in the water waiting for them to grow the balls and just go fucking. I'm just going out and it seems like that's what you teach people.
Cat: Yeah. And I don't ever try to approach this education space, this coaching world, like, hey, come work with me. I have all the answers I can get you from A to Z and like that. No, that is not my style. And I always say that I'm in the trenches with you. I am doing like trying to achieve the same things you are in your business. Maybe I'm just a couple of steps ahead and if I can share with you the things that have worked for me or the things that have been a huge dumpster fire for me, I'm willing to do that because I think we're all better together. As cheesy as this sounds like, this stuff shouldn't be a secret, and there really is more than enough room at the table for everybody.
Michelle: To to you. Okay. That is my favorite phrase. There's more than enough room in the table because I think people get so weird and ego and like, Heidi things and like, it's like they're like secrets and it's like, why? Like, all of us are all doing the same thing. Like, why would you not want to share that? And I love that you do it. So what is it? What is a course look like? As I say, the two day course, what does that look like? The powerhouse.
Cat: So that is the ultimate product party. That is the two day conference name. Now there's oh my gosh, there's so many things. Even I'm confused. I'm like, What did I name that program I have, like the summer soiree and it's really ridiculous. But the two day in person conference, it is catered to product based businesses. So whether you have paper goods, product based business, whether you have candles or skincare or literally I mean, the other woman that I'm running with, Alison, she has a subscription box for moms and kids. And if you have something that you can hold in your hand, that is a physical product that you sell, like this conference will be a good fit for you because we're really trying to come in and one, do all the things or not do all the things that we like or dislike when it comes to attending in-person events. Because we've been to a lot and we're like, Oh my gosh, I don't want to sit in my seat all day long or I'm hungry. Why is there no food? Or Why can't we swear? Or Where are the cocktails? Why can't we talk to the speakers? Why are they so hard and not approachable? But everything that you might need to grow your product based business from social media, email SEO, product photography, legal copyrights, bookkeeping we're trying to really hit on all the things to make a well rounded, product based business successful.
Michelle: And your partner that does she does gift boxes for the monthly boxes for moms.
Cat: Yeah. So Allison from Allison Carter celebrates she has a subscription box called Memory and Moments. And basically her whole shtick is, I make Mom's life a little bit more fun. And I'm a I'm a customer of hers, not discounted, but I actually buy her subscription boxes for my own kiddos. And I always say, like, I'm a sucky mom. I'm always working like, I don't have time to go buy the crafts. I need someone to just like bring it to my doorstep and then give me the directions and the tools. And then I can be a good mom for a day. But yeah, we're just like Alison and I met at a conference a couple of years ago, and we've been Instagram friends since, and I've seen her at other conferences that I've gone to. She her area of expertise in the education space is PR so she's taught herself how to approach the Oprahs, the Martha Stewart's, the Forbes to promote her business. And that's what she teaches other people to do for their own businesses instead of hiring a PR company to do it for them.
Michelle: That's amazing. And how many people do you have so far going? You're going to sit your said you're going to cap out around 150.
Cat: Yeah, we have a space for 150. We have about like 25 speakers and educators and we're just really trying to do as much as we can to sell tickets. I think some people are still nervous about traveling because of COVID and all that gross jazz, but we're just like ready to go for it.
Michelle: Will you? I think I'm not sure if you gave the information to Alisa, but please give me that, because I believe your episodes are either going to be this coming Wednesday or the following Wednesday. And I know there's going to be a ton of people because I wanted to make sure we got you in, in time to be able to talk about your events so that if people are interested because there's a ton of retailers as well as people that are creating products that listen to this. And I think, like I said, there's no one really in our industry that does this. And I think it's so important to share information and and just build each other up. And you're the only person so far that I've seen it. And if there is more people out there, hopefully you all email me because I have not seen it. But tell me more about your line. What do you see it looking like in a couple of years? How how do you see it evolving?
Cat: Oh, gosh. So just this past year, before I had my my third little baby, my son, I was nine months pregnant. I'm like, I need to move this business out of the house. I need to it's probably horrible timing, but I can't do this anymore. I can't have people in my home fulfilling products. If I want to play with the big dogs, I need to act like a big dog and moved everything out of my home. Found a space that I lovingly call the Kitty Meow HQ and it's pink and gold. And I have a great team of ladies, but. I just really want to focus on the education side more and obviously still design new products, but I want my team to continue to run the day to day without me so I can really focus on educational events like throwing this two day ultimate product party conference and helping other women grow their product based businesses and doing fun podcast episodes with you. And I still want to design products, but I don't want to be there shipping them out, doing all that, that time suck stuff, you know?
Michelle: Yeah, well, you have three kids, so I can't imagine, like, how you, how do you balance it all and how do you find. Yeah, because every every one I taught 90 it's really been 99.9% of people I've interviewed have been women and a lot of them have families, a side hustle. And the main hustle. And the one thing I always ask is, how do you find balance? I mean, you you obviously have to run your business, but how do you find balance as a female entrepreneur and with a family?
Cat: I don't think it exists. Not not for me. I'm not going to sit here and be like, well, I do this self care and then I feel so fulfilled and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I don't know. My husband is very supportive and he came home from work early so I could do this podcast episode with you based on your availability. And thank you, husband and. I am just a work machine and I feel like I can do the work of about 3 to 5 people. And I hustle really hard and I know that that's not something I want to encourage for other people because other people don't operate that way. And sometimes it's not very healthy. But I just if I have to get something done, I will get it done. I will wake up early, I will stay up late. I will like work faster in between naps. Once you have kids and you're, like working that little nap window, I'm not doing that anymore, but I'm like, how much can you get done in 4 to 5 minutes and you just make it happen? I don't I'm multi passionate. I think if I only focus on the product side with kids now and I was only designing greeting cards, I'd be really bored and I thrive in chaos. So if I have a million things on my plate, then I'm moving and grooving and it's just I'm psycho. I don't know.
Michelle: What is it typical day look like for you?
Cat: Oh, gosh, typical day. Well, if you really do want to see a typical day, you can watch My Day in the Life replay at the ultimate product party, Instagram and the stories. But I mean, I wake up with my kids, I, I take them to school. We have three. So the baby and my oldest, they come with me, my middle daughter, she goes with my husband because her school is on the way to his work. Drop off the baby and my parents go to the kitty meow HQ. Work, work, work, work, work as much as I can. And then at 2:00, I need to go pick up the baby. Then I need to go pick up my middle daughter. Then I need to go pick up my oldest daughter. And then we come home, play, have snacks. If I need to put my son down for a nap, I do that, make dinner, get takeout, put them to bed, maybe get a little computer in, maybe watch some shows, definitely have lots of drinks and go to bed. Do it all over again.
Michelle: I love that you pick them up from school every day because not not there's no dig against moms that don't do that. But I think that you've made time and you've made it a priority to pick them up. And I love that because it's squeezing that in, because I think that there's a million ways I can say I'm too busy and I don't. I mean, believe me, I, I check out on a lot of stuff because I don't think I can or I don't make time for it. And I just now for the first time have made it work. Every Friday I'm taking the day and spending it in my office. So whether I'm because I do all this recording stuff after my main hustle, but on Fridays to sit and try and do this and I could never do that before. And I was like, I can't do it. I can't do it. I can't make time. And it was like, Dammit, I'm fucking making time because like, I'm trying to do that shit after a full day after recording. And it's like, stuff's not getting done. Like stuff falls between the cracks. And I feel like unless you make time and you force yourself to do it, you're literally not going to do it.
Cat: I know. I mean, it's like I think as women, we're just better at multitasking. Like, I'm picking the kids up, but I'm also pumping in the car because I don't want to waste time when I'm sitting at my computer trying to work with like a pump hooked up to my boob. I just need to get it in, like with anything, whenever, whenever I can. And I'm not perfect.
Michelle: You. I messaged you on the side. I was like, You're bringing your pump to your pumping before you go to the show. I'm like, okay, moms are superheroes. I'm sorry. And you're like, Yeah, do what you got to do. And I don't have kids, so I have no concept. But I was like, okay, total super mom. Like still doing the show, still got the hustle and still got the boob pump going on before you go to work.
Cat: Well, I don't feel like I'm a superhero. I just think that with anything, if we if we want to do things in life, we need to make it a priority, like whatever that is. And not everything needs to be a priority. But just say like, Hey, I don't want a bad enough. And there's nothing there's nothing wrong with that. I think we as women were always felt so shame to like be a certain way. And I don't like we should just be however we want to be and be passionate about the things that we want and go for it, but like really go for it.
Michelle: What I always ask everybody that is creative is where do you find inspiration?
Cat: Gosh, I'm just like, I'm not one of those super artsy person who's like, Oh, and then I had to go for a while. Let's see, as far as my greeting card line where I get inspiration. One. Making fun of my husband. For sure. A lot of the sentiments on the cards have to do with like me having babies like me and my husband, just like funny in between jokes, because everything kind of comes from the way that I talk. And then I really love fashion and shoes and red lipstick and all those like, you know, fun, girly things. So I guess my inspiration comes from that. But if you expect me to say like the trees and the wind, like, no, that's not. No.
Michelle: Well, I didn't know because some people, it's like we find it from magazines, we find it from Instagram, we find it from wherever. So I always liked because all creatives have to pull inspiration from somewhere. And I love the fact that it comes from your from the things you say to your husband.
Cat: Oh, yeah.
Michelle: Tell people where they can find you for wholesale and if you know some of your key accounts where they can find you at retail.
Cat: Oh, gosh. So if you're interested in buying products wholesale, you can go to boutiques, slash wholesale, you can buy directly from my reps, you can buy off there, you're going to buy bound, you can buy directly from me. You can like anywhere you want to get it. I will make myself available for you. You can find me on products in over 800 stores worldwide. Amazing. Yeah. It's been like in 2019, I set a goal like I want to be in 100 stores and that was right before I signed on with Catherine when she was still Grace. And I had seven accounts when I signed on with her. And it's, you know, it's been a crazy couple of years of just things really growing in a capacity that I never even thought I was deserving of. And yeah, now I'm just like, Give me more. I'm ready for the next part of the adventure.
Michelle: Did how did COVID...I hate that fucking question, but because obviously it's part of our life. But how did COVID did you grow your business more in COVID? Did you find more people giving F-bomb cards because fuck this COVID thing? Or was it people staying home and just wanting to give somebody something sweet? Like, did you how how was COVID for you? Because most people, it sounds like their business boomed. Thank you very much. Pandemic.
Cat: Yeah. I don't take for granted that because of COVID I have changed as a human being for the best in my business has absolutely grown in a way that I never thought possible. Like when? Because I was primarily wholesale, even just like a year being into wholesale. And I'm like, well, no one's buying wholesale anymore because stores are shut down. And I always felt passionate about the education side and being a leader in my community, but I always felt self conscious about it. I'm like, I'm not good enough. Like, Who's going to listen to me? I don't have anything to share. So then I just started showing up every single day on Instagram Live and just sharing things about my business, things I've learned, things about my kids. And it was because I put myself out there that gave people the opportunity to get to know me. And because they got to know me, they started buying more of my products. And from that led to a podcast to like led to an actual bona fide coaching program. And like all of these doors that opened up because I had nothing else to do except try something different. And, and if it wasn't for COVID, I would probably still be a hermit crab in my office side bedroom. Not putting myself out there like COVID really forced me to put myself out there. And I'm really grateful for that because it's transformed my entire life.
Michelle: I left so. Where? Okay. Go back to where it gave you. You got to. So how do you get over being self conscious and being on? Because I know I just go out there and like, I don't. I don't. I mean, you always have makeup on and lipstick and I don't even do that. I don't wear makeup anyway. But it's like I just go out. I'm just like, Fuck it, I'm just going. But how how did you overcome that? And how do you teach people how to overcome that, not to take something in your class without, but.
Cat: Oh my gosh, you're so silly. You don't ever get over it. Like I get nervous showing up to this podcast interview with you. I get nervous showing up like in an Instagram story. I think you do it anyway. You feel embarrassed, but you do it anyway because you want to grow your business, because you want to help people, because you want to make an impact in this world. You're not going to make an impact by being afraid. And I was just like, You know what? I can worry about what I think other people are thinking about me, or I can realize that people are too busy, worried about themselves to be like worried about me and just go for it. Like, I have nothing to lose. Let's get the show on the road. Let's see what happens. And it's been all really, really good things. It does come with hardships, putting yourself out there. You know, for some people, some people don't like what you have to say. And you know what? It's okay. I don't want to be for everybody and I want to find my people. And my people will appreciate me because they're just like me.
Michelle: So have you had the crazies yet? This is a total sideline question because I have the podcast. I mean, we're still so small, but we've got at 3000 downloads, three 3500 downloads, and it's only been six months.
Cat: That's amazing.
Michelle: We I mean, I'm super proud of it, but I'm there are some odd people coming out of the woodwork and most of them are. I want to be on your podcast and I have one person that literally will send an email. It has nothing to do with retail and I get an email or DM from him probably once a week. And now he he's because my personal phone is attached on my Instagram because now he is like sending me messages, text, and I'm like, at what point do I block this person? Because I'm like, I never wow rude. And I'm like, Have you had any, like, crazy things like that? Like, or people go off on you like because I've never been like that where I'm putting myself here that, that much until now. I'm like, I think it's time to block this person.
Cat: So I have a podcast too with a co host. And what is the podcast? Oh, it's called The Dreams to Plans Podcast. It's a podcast for creative entrepreneurs, mainly women. Every guest. And we don't do we don't because there's two of us. So we don't always do guests, but any guests that we have, like they're all women and we'll get pitches from men. I'm like, Have you ever listened to this podcast, dude? I'm pretty sure it's not your it's not going to be your cup of tea. It's not going to be your audience, your ideal customer. And I don't know, like I prefer the pitches from people who you can tell that they've actually listened, that maybe they're following you on Instagram and leaving comments. Not someone who is just like shows up in your inbox, clearly copy paste pitching and they like have no idea who you are because like my podcast is, it's something that I am so protective over. And everyone we have on it's like girlfriend chats, like people that I actually want to be friends with. So if you're not actually a friend of mine, like the vibe is not there.
Michelle: So now, now I have to ask you, when did your because you're in scrolling through all of your information, the podcast, I wasn't sure if it your podcast or somebody else's podcast. Tell us about how the podcast started. And we're going to have links to all this so people can follow you and listen along.
Cat: Oh, gosh. See, these are all the friends that I've curated over Instagram because of COVID. So I said before, when COVID happened, I just started showing up on Instagram Live every single day. I called it ten at ten with getting me out for 10 minutes at 10 a.m. Central. I'd ramble on and share some business tips, whatever. So this one girl reached out to me on Etsy about some of my boss baby pencils because she had a business called the Boss Baby Shirt Club and she wanted to offer complimentary with her monthly t shirt subscription. And we just started chatting and then I was running out of ideas to talk about on these like ten at ten lives every day on Instagram. So I started asking friends to come on with me and I asked this girl, this girl, Renee, and her Instagram handle is my girlfriend Renee. And we just really hit it off. And I was like, Man, I've always wanted to do a podcast, but it really sounds like a lot of work. But if there were two people, maybe that would be a little bit less work. And it maybe took her a couple of months of convincing her to do it, but she finally agreed. And we've been doing it for about a year and a half now. We didn't meet in person until a little over a year of wow, I guess together.
Michelle: So it's been that's major, major chemistry when you can do that without meeting each other and have that connection.
Cat: Oh, yeah. She's so crazy. She is absolutely my best friend. She swears a lot sometimes. Hey, Renee, take it down a notch, you psycho. She is so passionate and she gets so fired up. And she is honest to goodness. One of my biggest advocates in business and I'm just so she's crazy, but I love her to death.
Michelle: Amazing. I am so grateful for you spending this time with me. I know you're super busy. I don't want to take it, but I just like I'm so excited for people to hear this and people to find you and listen to you. And most importantly, like, I'm so excited for you to empower more business, business people and women.
Cat: Well, you'll have to come on my podcast if you are interested.
Michelle: Oh, my God, I would love to.
Cat: We could all f bomb it up together, but can I offer a special retail or podcast coupon code if anyone is interested in attending the ultimate product party in Scottsdale, Arizona, on May 11th through the 12th?
Michelle: Absolutely. And actually, I want to I want to see if I can go I think I want to go to you know, because I've never I've always wanted to go. And it's like I am literally no joke. I am the person that I have all these things I want to do. And it's like I can't find the time or I can't figure out how to get them off the ground. I'm like, not tech at all. Like, if you listen to this podcast at all, like, I'm the first person to say, like, that's who Lisa is. Allie says, my nerd herd. She literally she is my brains and I'm like the talker. I'm the creative person. I'm not tech. And there's some things I want to do so bad and get off the ground. But it's like I'm literally petrified of some of them because of.
Cat: Tell me, let's talk it out. Let's talk it out.
Michelle: Like I want to put like we're doing a newsletter. And my vision of what I want a newsletter to look like is not. I want to look like a magazine. And it's.
Cat: No, do not spend this much time on a weekly newsletter. Write it like a letter to your friend.
Michelle: And that's what I think we're going to do. And the other is paid content. I want to I, we're going to start doing teaching starships, how to merchandise and whether you buy a package or you buy buy one class or you buy or we do the live in person. But it's like I've done merchandising for literally 40 years. I've been Fred Segal, Anthropology and now my brand for 18 years. Like this is all I do. And I people every single week reaching out like, do you teach a class? When are you going to have a workshop? And I know I need to do it. I've had multiple vendors tell me like, you just need to just do it. And so now I'm like, okay, I'm going to get a warehouse, I'm going to treat it like a You don't need.
Cat: To do all that stuff. You're making it way more complicated than it needs to be. Michelle You literally just need to create a couple of slides, get in front of a computer screen and be you and share what you know. People are not paying for all that. The bells and whistles. They're paying for your 40 years of experience. That's what they want. They just want to cut to the chase and know what you know.
Michelle: Okay. I need to go to your class because I need. It's weird. I need that. I think everybody needs that voice of reason. Like, just do this, like, just exactly what you said. Like, come on. And to be in a room full of women who are all creating things and all wanting to do something, it's like that energy I so want to be a part of. So I'm going to look into, like, my schedule and make because I really want to do this. And I love the fact that you're giving a discount coupon for people that want to go to this. Because I think, honestly, like, like I said, there's nothing else like this around for our industry.
Cat: We'll love it. And the retail code, I'm just making it up on the fly. I'm going to actually write it down so I can enter it in the discount code. But how about we do retail whore up? So retail whore ultimate product party but up for short. Perfect.
Michelle: I'm going to have Elisa reach out to you for any additional information and information on your podcast. Say the podcast names one more time.
Cat: Podcast name is a Dreams to Plans, podcast and Meow.
Michelle: Meow Boutique is a has the information on the education classes and also has your blog on it as well as all of your products.
Cat: Yay! Oh my gosh. This is so fun. And seriously, let's get you set up with a simple newsletter that you can commit to doing on a weekly basis for the podcast, because I guarantee you it's going to help get those downloads even more.
Michelle: Thank you so much. I really appreciate you. I feel like I'm like friends. Like, this is my new friend.
Cat: I know. You're so cool.
Michelle: Oh, God. Thank you so much. And that is a wrap. Thank you all so much for joining me on today's episode. I really appreciate it. And be sure to tune in every Wednesday for more stories and lessons from a life in retail. And don't forget to follow us on Instagram at the retail whore podcast, and you can find us online at the retailwhorepodcast.com