Boss Ladies / Life

Boss Ladies | Mattie Tiegreen


Mattie Tiegreen

Photos c/o Kaitie Bryant Photography

Mattie Tiegreen of Green Tie Studio is a graphic designer specializing in minimal and meaningful branding and art direction. She and her husband live in Raleigh, NC but are counting the days until the west coast is home. She’s a forever mess maker and a super fan of sushi, sour beer and slow living.

Growing up I really wanted to be
An artist, then a country singer, then a teacher.

My go-to order at a coffee shop is
A vanilla latte at a local joint (or blonde roast with toffee nut flavor at safe-bet Starbucks)

I don’t know how I ever lived without
Washing my face! I’ve always been so lazy about it but I’m turning thirty this year and it’s time. I’m three months in and I don’t know how I ever went to sleep with makeup on.

One thing people don’t know about me is
I struggle with depression if I stay at home for more than a few days at a time. I’ve learned that I have to work from coffee shops at least once a week and get to the gym every day to feel like the best version of myself.

My real life hero is
Amy Poehler — because she is unapologetically herself and she uses her platform to advocate for a cause larger than herself.

What I love about my work is
The opportunity to make beautiful things with a purpose.

The hardest thing about my work is
Saying “no” to certain projects to leave margin for personal growth, travel, and rest.

How I got started with my current career:
I graduated with a degree in special education and a teaching position lined up. I had always been creative, but didn’t explore art in college because I believed there weren’t enough viable career options after school. I continued practicing art “on the side” – making greeting cards and wedding stationery for anyone who would let me. I had no intention of it becoming a career and went back to school for a Master’s degree in education and continued teaching. The next year, I decided to create a complete line of wedding stationery on Etsy. This changed the trajectory of my business.

Before I knew it, I had enough saved to quit my job and debut my paper line at The National Stationery Show in New York. I worked full-time in wedding paper for two years before deciding to offer strictly digital design services. As much as I loved the paper industry, it felt very transactional, which was not inline with my personality. I craved genuine connection and a longer relationship with clients. In 2015, I re-launched Green Tie Studio with branding and web design packages (and hoped and prayed I’d be sustainable)! Thankfully, the most incredible business owners continue to trust me with building or re-vamping their brand – the importance of which is never lost on me.

Mattie Tiegreen

The dumbest thing I did when I was starting out was
Copy a wedding invitation I saw on Minted and add it to my Etsy page. I was so embarrassed when they emailed asking me to take it down. That’s how I honed my skills: imitating art I admired. What I realized though, was how wrong it was to offer it as my own work. I felt guilty about it for months. But I never made that mistake again and it pushed me to create and appreciate original work.

My typical day looks like
– I wake up around 7:30
– I let my pups outside, make coffee (french press for life) and breakfast (usually avocado toast or oatmeal)
– I enjoy a few quiet moments to be close to Jesus and get my thoughts together before I begin work
– I am at my desk by 9:00 typically answering emails or working through admin to-do’s
– I try to work on aversive tasks earlier in the day. Once I start it’s never so bad, but if I leave an aversive task for the end of the day, I’ll always find an excuse to push it to the next day.
– I break for lunch at noon every day
– I plan my week 3 days at a time down to the hour so I know exactly what I can accomplish. At 5:00 I start winding down and planning for the next day, which includes whatever I didn’t accomplish. I’ve found when I put large tasks on my to-do list for a day, it’s difficult to gauge how long something will take. It will inevitably take twice as long as I thought, meaning I end the day with a list of unfinished tasks. By breaking my day into hours and assigning smaller tasks to each hour (Project Brief, Inspiration Board, Send March Invoices, Round 1 Concept Edits, etc.) I’m less overwhelmed.
– I close shop around 5:30 every day and get ready for the gym at 6:00. There are so many days when I don’t feel like going but I tell myself if I run 2 miles and am still not feeling it, I can leave without a full workout. I always get into it once I’m there and have never left early!
– I come home by 7:30 to cook dinner and crash on the sofa with my husband and pups by 9 pm. I try to read before bed (but sometimes I blog or answer emails – a huge no-no but I still do it) and am loving Chasing Slow, Present Over Perfect and Art Inc.

I used to think success meant
More clients, more money, more press, more followers, more work.

My current definition of success is
Fewer clients, closer relationships, sustainability, margin, joy.

What does integrity in the work place look like for you?
I think integrity in the design world is strongly centered around inspiration. We live in such a visual world – it can be difficult to know exactly where our inspiration as artists comes from. Something we think is beautiful on Instagram can quickly turn into plagiarism if we’re not careful. No one intends for this to happen but it does. Of course in the grand scheme of life, there is nothing new under the sun. But, because we’re so inundated with visual content, another’s original ideas can sneak their way into our own work. To me, integrity is being aware of this potential and being intentional and innovative with new ideas.

Mattie Tiegreen

An example of when I had to push through my insecurities…
Last year I partnered with a friend as co-owner of a retail store. Though I loved the experience, I realized 8 months in that it wasn’t a good fit for me. I knew it wasn’t sustainable for our family but I was terrified to leave that and re-enter freelance design after almost a year out of the industry.

After talking with several mentors and praying for provision, I walked away from the store with a backup plan for what I’d do if I couldn’t book any clients. Thankfully, my design business is thriving again. I’m thankful for that experience, though – I’m infinitely more grateful for my job when I remember that nothing is certain.

I know my work/life balance is out of sync when
I don’t accomplish everything I planned for the day and resort to finishing it at night. Sometimes I answer emails or work on a “fun” blog project from the sofa, but if I head back to my office after dinner, I’m not in a good place. I really value my evenings. It’s the only time I see my husband, so when I compromise that time for work, I start to feel like a worker bee. To remedy this, I’ll start with saying “no” to extra projects or offering to begin them in a few weeks/months. I’ll also give myself 2-3 hours to work on a Saturday so I can keep my nights work-free. That way, I can still have a weekend (and will normally treat myself to a date night after Saturday work!) but can also knock out some deadlines. I’ll also set my alarm for 6am and get an early start (even though it’s so painful) and then reward myself with a sweet treat or fun outing if I can finish the to-dos after a few early mornings.

Mattie Tiegreen

The last time I created something I was proud of was
Yesterday! I finished a project strategy brief for a new client and felt like I encompassed the heart of her business. I got a text from her this morning saying  that the mission statement made her cry and that I had perfectly described why she does her job. That meant the world to me.

I wish I could tell my younger self that
Your job is not who you are.

The legacy I hope to leave is
Loving people well — right where they are.



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