We had the good fortune of connecting with Tim O’Connor and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tim, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
After working for many large and small companies, I was at a loss for words with how unsatisfied I was at being creative for them. I had many similar experiences sitting at a desk designing for one company, having a team of higher up’s tell me exactly what to do, and how to do it. I was very uninspired and my creativity felt like it had hit a wall. I was very discouraged after spending lots of time, money & school refining my design skills and thinking this was how my life was going to be forever. In my mid 20’s these experiences led me to develop a substance abuse problem. The atmosphere of my working life led me to try and fulfill my evenings with more exciting and unexpected experiences. Because of this by 2017 I was slowly killing my design career and found myself stuck in a downward spiral.

Unfortunately, that creative suppression and the hierarchy of corporate structure had a large influence on why I had a substance abuse problem. In 2019 after finding myself leaving a 2nd design job because of unmanageability, I decided to find help. I finally got sober in 2020, utilizing a 12-step fellowship & other resources and during my first few months of sobriety, I decided to write out a business plan and put together the job of my dreams.

Now, I’m the owner of Native Creative, a creative design business out of Steamboat Springs, CO. specializing in Graphic Design, Product Design & Photography. I’m currently enrolled in classes expanding my knowledge in web design & UX/UI. I love working with clients in the outdoor space, Colorado has a lot of growing outdoor businesses and having my own design company I can pick and choose my own direction, projects & aesthetics directly with the owners, product development & design teams of these companies. This gives me the freedom to truly express myself and my thinking without doubt or hesitation, it also allows me to make my own decisions not dictated by higher-ups.

Getting sober was by far one of the most important decisions that I’ve ever made. It’s helped me be successful in creating a successful startup. I hope to reach larger companies and expand awareness on mental health, burnout & creative burnout that results in substance abuse problems. My sobriety has helped me grow in so many ways including relationships with clients, building out larger projects, going beyond estimates & long-term business periods.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a creative, I like to focus on helping businesses in the outdoor industry. My style is different and a little out of the ordinary, I like to stand out from other designers and try different ideas.

One of the mediums I love working with is collage. Collage is very raw and handcrafted, it’s great being able to take assets from a brand and create new imagery out of multiple images. My main focus is graphic design & product design. In college, I took a couple of sculpture classes and it helped my awareness in 3-dimensions, It helped me carry over my design skills to a different world. I would love to bring all of these skills together and create something.

It’s taken 12 years to get where I am today, I have no plan on stopping or changing, only growing. I’ve learned to always keep trying and always push the boundaries of my creative ideas. It’s good to have projects for myself, it helps me remember how much fun designing & creating is.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
In Steamboat Springs there are a lot of things to do including -Snowboarding
-Hiking
-Camping
-Fishing
-Snowshoeing
-Walking around town

Places to eat:
-Corner Slice
-Noodles & More
-Vaqueros
-O’Neils Tavern

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d love to give a shout-out to all of my friends & family that believed in me & have helped me continue my success. I wouldn’t have been able to do it if my parents wouldn’t have let me stay in their house for a year or so after I got sober and got back on my feet. I also want to give a shout-out to 12-Step fellowships helping people with substance abuse problems. It’s ok to ask for help, they’ll love you until you can love yourself.

Website: https://www.nativecreativedenver.com/

Instagram: @nativecreative303

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/timoc1/

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.