This article is a part of our encyclopedia, and is editable by you. Edit ➜
No early career info added yet...
The Girl with the Tree Tattoo
Katie started The Girl with the Tree Tattoo in 2015. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on The Girl with the Tree Tattoo?
When I was 6 and 7 years old, I took jazz, tap and ballet classes and even performed on stage. My roles included a sailor on the good ship Lollipop, a California Raisin, and Flounder in the Little Mermaid. I was extremely shy, but I loved dancing with all my being. Then when I was 8, my family moved across the country. When asked, I told my mother I didn’t want to keep dancing. The truth was I was too scared to start at a new studio. The next dance studio I would walk into would be a ballroom studio, two decades later.
It didn’t take long for me to get hooked on ballroom dancing. A former colleague introduced me to the ballroom studio I still train at today. I started by going to their monthly practice parties and attending group classes, while I devised a plan to fit the pricey private lessons into my paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle.
I started regular lessons in December 2012. In 2014, I entered my first ballroom competition as a pro-am student, meaning I danced with my teacher as my partner. I did well from the beginning, always placing in the top 3 and most often winning 1st or 2nd place.
The journey wasn’t easy, however. It was difficult to feel like I belonged in the ballroom world when I could barely afford one to two lessons a week and others were taking five or six. I rented a used dress for competitions while others appeared in new, custom designs at every event. My financial challenges ate into my self-confidence about becoming the dancer I dreamt of being.
I used The Girl with the Tree Tattoo blog to express and process my inner struggles with this passion. Other dancers began to comment on posts or email me directly to thank me for being so open and honest. They thought they were the only ones struggling with the issues I discussed.
I realized there was a gap in our ballroom training. Our teachers couldn’t really understand what we were going through because most of them had been dancing their entire lives. Learning ballroom dance as an adult was a completely different experience with its own set of challenges, but no one was talking about them.
This realization eventually led to the publication of my first book, Dance Diaries: Learning Ballroom Dance - What I Wish I Had Known in 2016. It was quickly followed by Dance Diaries: Ballroom Budgeting - How I Afford to Dance, since the dance budget was a particularly hot topic among my followers.
At this point, I was serious about my dancing but not yet fully committed to building a brand and business around my writing about dancing. The two Dance Diaries ebooks were priced extremely low at $5 and $6. It wasn’t until 2017 that the catalyst for my third book and signature offer would appear.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder of Starter Story
- Wiki Updater