The “short” version – Hi, I’m Aiden McFarland, and I’m a costumer, clothing designer, and a lifestyle & business coach for queer creatives!
My background and experience is eclectic, to say the least, and includes office management, executive assistance, sales, digital & print marketing, social media, art production, promotion, conventions & events, costuming, fashion, retail, community management, and more . I have a bachelor’s degree in English and a Master’s degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, as well as completing several programs in Business and Fashion marketing.
My clients are artists, makers, crafters, visionaries, and creatives of all kinds.
I’m married to Harrison, the amazing face behind Fiendish Thingy Art.
Currently, we are living in a small neighborhood in north Portland, along with our 3 cats, 1 dog, 1 ball python, and 2 leopard geckos we’re indefinitely fostering.
I’ve built my own career out of a combination of Business Administration & Management, and Costumes & Clothing. My husband is currently working a day job at a doggy day camp while also finishing up grad school for Visual Development and making new art.
We travel to multiple shows and conventions across the US each year to promote and sell his art. My hubby and I are passionate about living life NOW, not waiting till a retirement that may not even come. We’ve been at this for a few years now, and we have moved to a new home base, traveled to new cities & new shows, and met new people, some of who are now our closest friends and family. We’re chipping away at debt and creating a new financial story for ourselves. We’re expanding our creative projects and finding new ways to express ourselves. We’re building a life that matches our needs and desires, beyond societies definitions of career & success.
It’s been a strange road to get here
If you look at my resume, you’ll see a lot of back and forth between the “creative” and the “logical”.
I’ve been interested in fashion, costuming, and sewing for as long as I can remember. I studied it in college, I worked in costume shops, I completed a fashion marketing program, I worked costuming for theme parks. I would do it for a few years in some way or another, and then kept walking away from it even though I was passionate about it, due to ingrained beliefs about all of that not being a “real job” or never being a viable way to make a living. And then sooner or later I’d find my way back to it, only to run away again later.
So my “career”, weaving around all of this, focused on business and administration. While I have always been GOOD at business, I was not passionate about the companies or products I was doing the work FOR. I was giving all of my time and energy to projects that gave me no real joy, and it was all on someone else’s agenda. I longed for a way to be in business for myself.
Meanwhile, I was watching my artist hubby struggle with the background and business side of turning his art into a viable source of income. I jumped in and started helping him, eventually taking on the majority of the business side so he could focus on creating new art. As his sales improved and he produced more art, he was happier, and I realized I was too! Seeing him make progress toward succeeding in his goals to be a full time artist made me happier than any job I’d ever had.
As I put my skills and experience to work for him, and another artistic business friend approached me for help with their business, I realized I could help other creatives as well, taking the overwhelming business things off their hands so they could focus on what they do best, creating!
I transitioned from my day jobs to working full time as a Virtual Assistant for artists & creatives. I’ve spent the past several years working with creatives in all different fields, helping them define, streamline, and grow their business. That work began to transition into higher and higher level work, and grow beyond straightforward business help into something much deeper.
As my income was taken care of by the clients I was working with, I finally started to get back to designing and sewing, and as my stress level reduced my creativity increased and I’m now deep in the process of launching my own clothing line. It’s been quite a journey, but I am now living a life where my “career” combines everything I love, both sides of my brain, and is entirely of my own design.
Other things that you’ll see me talk about and share:
LGBTQIA+, feminism, diversity – from comics and creators to serious issues. I don’t believe basic human rights are a political issue and I will not apologize for being a transgender gay male, a feminist, and a staunch supporter of my POC friends and neighbors, and I will stand up for what I believe in. Hate will not be tolerated here. If you have an issue with any of the above, we probably wouldn’t enjoy working together so it’s okay if you keep on moving.
Finances – my husband and I are right there with you, navigating the perils of freelance work and living off our passions. I’ll share budget and financial tips that I find or that work for us, both in relation to our businesses and to our personal life. This could be anything from helping cut travel costs, how to eat during con weekends on a budget, self-employed taxes, and living on a tight budget between contract work.
My own struggles with mental health – I have depression and anxiety disorders. They are part of my life and who I am. In the hopes some of you can relate to my struggles and successes, I’ll share how I get through conventions, how I face bad days, how I cope on the daily, and more.