Red and Main
Boy, that serenity sounds lovely! It would be great to not hear the sounds of the city when I’m trying to fall asleep, so I envy your peace and quiet.
I enjoy DC, if only because I am a politically-interested person. My grandfather and my parents were very politically involved, so it rubbed off on me.
I think, for the most part, people here in DC are really good about letting bygones be bygones and not letting political affiliation affect personal relationships. I have Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, and Green friends… can’t say I like any one of them better than the others. A lot of what I see on the news right now is about how divided we all are, but I like to think we have more in common than most of us would want to admit.
Were you let go from your job or did you have one of the classic meltdown "I can't take it anymore!" moments?
I wouldn’t say I had a downright meltdown, but I certainly was becoming more disenchanted and bitter about the work I was doing every day. It got to the point where I was not able to say anything positive about the political environment, the job I was doing, or my prospects for the future. That’s not a healthy place for anyone to be.
After a night of frustrated tears, my husband just said, "If you don’t like this job, leave it and pursue your ceramics full time- I support you 100%" I don’t know why, but for some reason him saying it that time finally clicked.
Your creations are so adorable! I love the long-snouted pig and the cat with the bird on its head. Where do you get your ideas from?
I think these two things combined form the basis for all the pieces I make- ridiculous animals, looking cute and being friendly. When I ship out the pieces I’ve made, I like to think of them going to new homes with new friends. Corny and campy, but true.
Most new shop owners really struggle with their photography, but you seem to have a great handle on it. Do you have past experience?
I really don’t, actually. I trolled on Etsy for months looking for photos I liked, advice from successful sellers, etc. I wanted to make sure I had this part down before I set up shop; your photos need to reflect your product in the best way possible so that everyone can really see how great your product is.
My wonderful husband forwarded me a piece from Lifehacker that was all about taking professional-looking photos in your home (www.lifehacker.com.au/2010/09/how-to-take-better-photos-for-your-online-sales...). The hubs is quite the engineer and created a photo box for me out of poster board and tissue paper. I bought an inexpensive camera tripod for my Cannon Coolpix camera and started snapping outside on a sunny day.
After I had my photos, I edited them using Picnik.com so that the items would really stand out against the stark white background. I’m a photography novice, but this wasn’t too bad.
Do you do your own firing?
I do! I have a small home-use kiln that just hangs out in our guest bedroom on very thick natural stone slabs so that it doesn’t ruin our floor.
I’ve already had my share of kiln mishaps (exploding pieces, overheating, etc.), but for me, being able to fire at my convenience is really the best. It sure beats trucking an entire load of fragile green ware to a studio for firing.
Meg also makes lilypads, spoon rests, and some other beautiful animals (foxes, quails, elephants, hippos) that you can see on her "sold" page.
Now here is a quick run down of what I see Meg doing correctly. And these are in no specific order, btw.
1) She had her husband's support. Throw all the women's lib at me that you want. This is important in a mutual-respect relationship.
2) She has a talent that she is already experienced at, although I'm sure she learns something everyday, as most successful people do.
3) She did her research BEFORE jumping in.
4) This research obviously included how to write excellent descriptions, where to place keywords in your shop for maximum google page rankings, and how to take stellar photography. (Articles dedicated to each of these topics can be found here.)