Thursday, November 20, 2008

Twenty Questions with Dazey Chic

Shelli of Studio Mela is a dazzlingly talented artist, mother, and blogger who happens to live in the town where I grew up! I was immediately drawn to her work, chock full of lively colors and delightful imagery. I'm so excited to get to know her better. Click on the images to go right to her shop. Enjoy!

Miss B: First off, tell us a little about you. Are you from Minnesota originally? What is your favorite thing to do during the long, cold winter?

Shelli: I was actually born in Connecticut and raised in Minnesota from the little age of two. The winters here are practically unbearable and I dislike every moment of them! When I am not complaining about the snow I usually get tons of work done, reorganize the house a billion times, gain 50 pounds from eating so much and have snowball fights with the husband and my little son.

Miss B: Your work is like a bright ray of sunshine- so cheerful and colorful! What is your creative process like? Do you sketch and journal your ideas, or do you just play around in your studio?

Shelli:My creative process is very sporadic. I can be anywhere and think of a new idea or new product. I work best at night...that's when my brain decides to turn on. (Lovely when you are trying to fall asleep!) There is something about the darkness that makes me tick. Not in a creepy way... in a I-can't-fall-asleep-because-my-mind-is-in-overdrive kind of way. Once I get a new idea I run with it. I sketch constantly. 9 times out of 10 the idea is a complete bust. But occasionally one idea will stick and turn into something great.
I am all about color. I think that the world around us should be bright and cheery...and then maybe you will be bright and cheery too. It's the whole "Put into the world what you want back" I want color and fun. Bright and Happy. Lovely and Sweet. Sooo, that's what I put out there.

Miss B: With your background in graphic design, do you often make work right on your computer?

Shelli:I wouldn't say my background is graphic design. I would say graphic design was my first love. I read up on it...taught myself the ins and outs of the Graphic world and even learned HTML, CSS and Flash to make websites. I took a few classes, but nothing extraordinary. I actually found that while I loved the run of the mill business cards, fliers and websites...I craved something more fulfilling. More my own. And then I began to draw again and everything clicked. I would say about 75% of my work is on my BFF (computer) and my programs. The other side of my work is in my trusty sketchbooks and little G-2 pens.

Miss B: I love the way you incorporate quotes into your work. How do you find and keep track of your favorite quotes?

Shelli: My love of quotes and words is no secret around my house. I have books and books of quotes. My favorites are bookmarked on the internet and a have a cute little notebook in which I hand write them if I see one while out and about. Family and friends are always sending me quotes too which is really very sweet.

Miss B: One of the most difficult things about running a crafting business seems to be balancing the creative side with the work of running a business-not to mention the way it seems to take over your personal time as well. What are the secrets you’ve learned as you’ve built a successful business?

Shelli:This question makes me giggle. Not because it's necessarily funny...but it's SO true. I have no time for a fabulous personal/social life. Would I change it though? Absolutely not. I LOVE what I do and it takes sacrifices. Sometimes skipping out on a lunch date to get orders out is what I have to do.

Now the business side is another topic all together! I often joke that I need a studio manager! Someone to do the bills, order supplies, man the emails and make life a little easier. But in the same sense I feel like I have to do it all myself. My customers are the most important thing to me and I have to know it's being done right. While it is a lovely thought to have someone manage the money/customer side of things it's also very scary to hand off those large responsibilities to someone else. But boy, a vacation sounds really really good sometimes!

The secret is... there are no secrets. Success comes from hard work and more hard work... Never giving up and never loosing sight of what you want. Make people smile and yes, the customer is ALWAYS right. Always. I don't care if they tell you the sky is green and the grass is blue. Just nod your head and agree with them. It makes running a business 100% easier if you go in knowing that.

Most importantly put out a product you are proud of. If you don't feel good about it... no one else will either.

Miss B: (This is a purely selfish question from a gal who is just launching her own tiny company!) What do you wish you had known when you were just starting out?

Shelli:I wish I would have known that I was going to think about Studio Mela and Etsy and my email 24/7. That it never, ever shuts off. I'm the girl you take to dinner and she is answering emails or checking Etsy from the phone. I'm that bad.

I would have also liked to know how much packing envelopes cost. Sounds silly but I'm serious! Packaging is expensive and I still hold the chair in horror when I have to reorder address labels and envelopes! Eek. That part is not fun! It makes me feel bad for the previous jobs I had in which I would just toss away a piece of blank paper because it fell on the floor...or used an address label as a funny sticker on someone's back. That costs money! Who knew! ;)

Miss B: What inspires you?

Shelli:Absolutely everything in this big world. Moms, kids, little girls in frilly dresses, books, love, the park, trees, old houses, flowers... you name it. I think what inspires me most is people in general. You for asking me to do this interview...anyone who takes a moment to care about who I am...that is inspiring in itself.

Miss B: What are your favorite simple pleasures?

Shelli:I love chocolate milk on a cold night and Starbuck's White Chocolate Mochas. I love Chai tea blended with ice and Diet Coke. I am a sucker for my little son and will give him anything he wants. My husband makes my world go 'round. I love going out for dinner or staying in with a movie. I take comfort in This American Life podcasts and listening to books on my cute itty bitty i-pod. I like looking at the free stuff on Craig's List (you never know what you'll find!) and writing. I love to write.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i love this! thanks for sharing! ~emily

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