Q: Please tell us a great story about your business, your experiences and the gritty back-story of your journey and why your business or products are your passion.
A:Megan has always been an artist. Upon graduating with a degree in design from Kent State University, she moved to Chicago and got a 9 to 5 job with a small design company. She started participating in local craft shows shortly thereafter, selling upcycled clothing, sock dogs, and other fun items. She started screen-printing and fell in love. Eventually, Erik, Megan's boyfriend (now husband), started working with her at shows and working with stores (as more brick and mortar stores started carrying her designs). Eventually, she quit her full-time job to pursue Megan Lee Designs full-time. After a couple of years, Erik did too. Megan is a fan of nature, Crossfit, funky hair colors as well as good design, creative color schemes, and things that tend to be both cute and weird at the same time. Erik likes dogs and pizza. As mentioned, Megan Lee Designs is both Megan and Erik's full-time endeavor, supporting the two of them as well as their children, Ivan and Zia (and dachshund, Heika).
Q: What has been your biggest success?
A:Our biggest success has been growing our small business from a super part-time hobby to a full-fledged, full-time business with employees. We're currently in around 90 stores throughout the United States and have traveled far and wide to participate in retail and wholesale shows. The freedom of owning our own small business is a fantastic thing that allows us to spend time as our small children grow up and continue to live a nice life.
Q: What has been your biggest struggle?
A:We had to figure out rather quickly how to scale up when we worked with a large big box store. We had to figure out lots of logistical things we hadn't really had to deal with up to that point (securing capital to pay for the materials we print on, figuring out how to print a giant order, and how to ship said order to multiple locations). It was definitely an experience.
Q: What's your niche?
A: We offer unique, screen printed items with visually-appealing designs that can be worn or displayed. All of our high quality goods are printed by hand in-studio using water-based, environmentally-friendly inks. We strive to create happiness for each of our customers by providing our brand of handmade goodness. We want all of our customers (whether business to business or direct) to have an excellent experience through and through.
Q: Where do you see the retail industry in ten years?
A:We'd love to see a resurgence in small brick & mortar stores cropping up. We feel shopping small and often locally is an important thing to many consumers and love helping other businesses succeed, while continuing our own success.