Interview with: Co-founder at Smartup Visuals, Kristina Katz

Time to read: 7 minutes Today we introduce to you Kristina Katz.

How do you describe what you do, and what is unique about it?

I’ve always been a visual person. It’s my blessing and my curse! While others relax, I am ‘beautifying’ things. Everything needs to look aesthetically pleasing :) So, I’m always busy… improving my house interior, my garden, or my actual design work within my business (Smartup Visuals).

What inspired you to go and do it?

Having a mother who worked tirelessly to improve our lives. She strived for progress in the hardest times and never gave up. We lived in a rural area in a small country (Lithuania) and no one cared about beauty. She planted flowers and received strange looks from people. But she kept going and created one of the most beautiful gardens and homes in the neighbourhood for me and my sister. It was cozy and welcoming. It turned into a hub of activity and gatherings for our extended family and neighbours.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work or the biggest challenge you have dealt with and how did you overcome it?

Building a business from scratch and asking for fair compensation for my work and my skills. I feel that a lot of young artists and other creatives struggle to find ways to commercialise their work. I have found my niche combining two passions of mine: art and business. You can even say that I have found my IKIGAI.

What is your current Mount Everest? What would you love to create in the world?

I am currently in a bit of a nesting mode. My husband and I just bought a house and have started thinking about kids. But, both of us, being entrepreneurs, are unable to think about anything without adding two key questions (and a whole lot of complexity!): How can this benefit other people? Can this be a business? That’s why we have embarked on a new exciting idea: mindful literature for kids that is based on your favorite adult book. What if you could read a book like the ‘Power of Now’ together with your child? We want to write and illustrate children’s stories based on the most impactful spiritual and psychological adult books. So that the youngsters learn better messages than ‘ I am a pretty princess waiting for my prince to come and save me!’ Our mission, as we see it, is to bring love, joy, and peace into families, couples, and children’s relationships.

What are the words that describe who you are in your essence and do you feel they are being expressed through your work?

Well, this is what I actually came up with the help of iDiscover. I am a beautifier! I had a hard time accepting this term because it felt ‘not deep enough for me’. But later I realised that beauty can be a huge asset. It really gives people positive emotions and lifts their spirit. The penny dropped for me when I read Viktor Frankl’s book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’. The book intends to describe everyday life in a concentration camp reflected in the mind of the average prisoner. In this phenomenal book, the author talks about how in the ugliest and most miserable environment of Nazi concentration camps the prisoners were taken away from their suffering for a moment by a beautiful sunset. He also found meaning in glimpses of beauty in nature and art: “One evening, when we were already resting on the floor of our hut, dead tired, soup bowls in hand, a fellow prisoner rushed in and asked us to run out to the assembly grounds and see the wonderful sunset. Standing outside we saw sinister clouds glowing in the west and the whole sky alive with clouds of ever-changing shapes and colors, from steel blue to blood red. The desolate grey mud huts provided a sharp contrast, while the puddles on the muddy ground reflected the glowing sky. Then, after minutes of moving silence, one prisoner said to another, “How beautiful the world could be…”

What is the most inspiring thing that happened to you as a result of iDiscover?

With the help of iDiscover I was able to reconnect with my mother and say the things to her that I didn’t have time to tell her before she passed away.

What do iDiscover and its community mean to you?

Inspiration for growth. Deep healing and the necessary support to fully explore, endure and get through it. This community has helped me regain joy as well as an understanding of my self that has eluded me for the entire 36 years I have had the pleasure of being alive.

What is your most sacred daily/weekly/monthly ritual or performance hack that really works for you?

Feeding, playing with, and observing my cats (I have 4 house cats and at least another 15 street cats that I feed and look after). I didn’t look for them. They found me. Yes, and my last name is Katz :) I hope this quote will illustrate to you why I do it: “I have lived with many Zen masters, all of them cats.” – Eckhart Tolle.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Massage! It’s one of those rare things in life that feels good and is actually good for you. I enjoy it at least a couple of times a month. And while I am not a big fan of gifts and gifting – a massage voucher will always put a smile on my face!

Your best adventure ever was? Or Most beautiful place you have ever been to?

After 14 years of hustle-and-bustle in London and tirelessly building our businesses, my husband and I were reaching the point of exhaustion. One day we packed a suitcase for a 2 week holiday to Portugal. While we were on this trip we heard the first news about the Pandemic starting to take over the world. Instead of rushing back home, we kept extending our trip, and 17 months later… we are still on that same holiday in Portugal! One day my husband looked at me and said: “I think we live here, we just don’t know it yet! So here we are! We moved countries by accident, bought a house that came with 19 cats, we live by the ocean, grow our own vegetables and feel like we live on vacation! Portugal is our new home, our adventure, and the most beautiful place for us to continue our journey.

What is your favourite quote or a question you want to leave us with?

People say: time heals. But I believe that this type of healing still leaves you with a huge scar and a wound underneath it. Real healing is not a passive process. It takes work. But that is when you truly get better, and the best part is that not only do you come out stronger – you are now equipped to help others too!

Check out Kristina’s inspiring work at SmartUp Visuals.