Name: Shauna Haider
Age: 35 (how did that happen?!)
Location: Portland, Oregon (but I spend a little too much time in Palm Springs)
Career: Creative Director & Graphic Designer at Branch, a boutique design studio
Favorite quote or lyric: Work hard, play harder!
HYT: Make us fangirl. Who are you, what are you about, and what dream(s) are you chasing down?
SHAUNA: I’m Shauna and I live for creativity. I’m obsessed with all things design, whether it’s the layout in a magazine, the display in a shop window, beautiful branding on a coffee cup, or a sexy pair of shoes. To me, being a designer is more than creating graphics — it’s a way to make the images I see in my head a reality. I love it when I can do the same for clients.
As far as dreams go, I’m pretty happy with where my life is now! It took a long time to get out of school and get my career going, and even longer to get out of the 9 to 5 daily grind, so now I appreciate getting to do exactly what I want to do every day. To me, being creative and getting paid for it is living the dream and I never want to lose sight of that.
HYT: Give us some background. How’d you get started on your dream chasing journey and where are you in the chase present day?
SHAUNA: Here’s a short and sweet version: My dream was always to be an artist. I couldn’t figure out how to make a living as one, so I detoured and went to school for business. After I graduated, I was miserable — I knew there had to be more. I enrolled in a 2-year graphic design program at my local community college when I was 25 and immediately felt at home. Once I’d found that missing piece, the change was rapid. I blogged about my work, which landed me more freelance. My internship turned into a bunch of opportunities and I designed every day, night, and weekend until 2013 when I left full-time agency work for good and started my design studio, Branch. I’ve never looked back.
These days, I’m working out what fulfills me most. More time with family and friends? More travel? More lifestyle-focused projects? There’s always room for tweaks and evolution.
HYT: Let us peek behind the curtain. What does a typical day look like for you?
SHAUNA: As with most people who run their own businesses, that depends! I take a morning walk with my husband, Joey and our dog, a Chinese Crested named Rocky. After grabbing coffee, I head off to my office and start with emails by 9 am. My designer is with me a few days a week and we work on a variety of branding, packaging, print, and web projects until 1 pm and Joey brings me lunch. I married a REALLY good cook! From there, I wrap up between 8 and 10 pm, but there are other days where I chill with friends or travel.
HYT: Real talk. What are you most afraid of as you work toward your dreams and what do you do to combat those fears?
SHAUNA: I think we all have irrational fears, including some that formed in childhood. I have a fear that if I turn down work, everything will suddenly dry up… which has never happened! But it’s important understand the root of those fears and realize that there is always enough to go around.
HYT: Go ahead and name drop. Who are your biggest inspirations and why?
SHAUNA: There are quite a few celebrities who have passed that I have an immense admiration for, so let’s get those out of the way first. I LOVE Michael Jackson, Andy Warhol, Liberace, and Liz Taylor. I have a thing for great eccentrics who aren’t afraid to go big.
On my current list, I admire:
1. Gala Darling: She is always evolving and even when it’s not easy, she always pushes through, stronger than before. We’ve been through everything together and often feel like long-lost sisters from a past life. I can talk to her for hours about style, pop culture, books, magazines, traveling, you name it. When you find those people you click with, it’s magic.
2. Kat Williams: We’ve grown really close after spending YEARS traveling together (I ran a blogging workshop with both her and Gala which is how I met you!!) Kat has done so many cool things, including starting an alternative wedding magazine and reminds me that it’s GREAT to be different.
3. Joey Maas: My husband is an amazing pop artist. I’ve always loved the pop style, so it’s really inspiring to see these massive paintings come to life in my house! He’s obsessed with everything mid-century modern which has definitely rubbed off on me.
4. Bianca Alexis: I met Bianca on a street corner in New York 15 years ago and she has the most fierce, amazing personal style that I am obsessed with! Beyond that, she is a talented photographer and retoucher. We always have the most amazing adventures, whether it’s walking across town or clubbing all night. Ha!
HYT: Let’s talk goals. Where do you aim to be 5 years down the line?
SHAUNA: That’s a tough one! I don’t think that far ahead, which I guess is both good and bad. I try not to predict the future, but instead live in the moment. I’d rather focus on being happy now and see what unfolds.
HYT: Give it to us straight. What’s your best piece of advice to other women that you’ve personally followed on your own dream chasing journey?
SHAUNA: Never give up. There will be hard days, weeks and months ahead. There is no straight path to getting to where you want to go, but it always makes sense when you look back on it.
Shauna, I love and respect you so damn much, girl. Your heart, personality, artistic eye, attention to detail, professionalism, love for the outlandish, and goth-4-lifeness hit me with a tidal wave of joy every time I think about you! Thank you for doing what you do, being so true to who you are, and for killing it every direction you turn. Here’s to many more years of working together and slaying the whole way!
Tootsie crew, so many of you constantly tell me how much you love my design and branding. Shauna is the mastermind behind ALL of it for both Hiya Tootsie! AND Candy Ass! This woman has been with me since BEFORE day one when we met at The Blogcademy back in 2014 before I even had a blog. She is the one who single-handedly took my wild what-if ideas and made them reality. If you’re looking for a designer who is sick as hell and as lovely as they come, you’ve found your girl. I will shout this woman’s greatness from the rooftops for as long and as loud as I possibly can! Professionally and personally, Shauna is TOP SHELF!!