by Jessika Hepburn, Editor
Today I have a special treat for you all! I’ve been smitten with The Merriweather Council since I first connected with Danielle via Mayi Carles (who is a matchmaker superstar). Danielle’s embroidery hoop art combines lovely color palettes with cheerful embroidery and inspiring words. Her product listings are also beautifully photographed to show off her pieces, add in her friendly personality and creative enthusiasm and you have a small business powerhouse! I am sure we’ll be seeing The Merriweather Council a lot as word spreads about this creative business so I am glad to have gotten the chance to connect with Danielle for an interview. She’s also joined Zoe & I in our Worthsy experiment and is auctioning off a gorgeous OOAK piece, the auction went live this morning so be sure to check it out!
1. Hi Danielle! I love your work and everything about what you are doing and how you connect online. I’m thrilled to share your creations & passion for handmade on OMHG. Can you tell us a bit about yourself & The Merriweather Council?
Hi Jessika! Thanks for having me here on OMHG.
I am currently 23 years old, living and crafting in Boston, Massachusetts. I graduated just over one year ago from Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a BFA in Fibers, or, more specifically, 3D fine arts with a concentration in Fibers. Before graduating I had planned on attending a graduate program to earn my MFA in fibers but at the last minute lots of stuff went wrong on the University’s end of the deal and I decided not to go. It’s a long and arduous story. Upon graduating I decided that it was time to give The Merriweather Council a go and see what I could do with all these ideas I had! That’s how The Merriweather Council got it’s start.
2. How have you grown your business from the idea to where you are at now? Did you have a plan or have you been winging it?
Honestly, I have been mostly winging it for the past year. But I’ve been winging it wisely, I think. I have been reading a ton and learning and asking and observing and thinking a whole lot. I set goals and pay attention to money but for the most part, I give myself a lot of freedom with money and saying “yes” or “no” to things. I pretty much say yes to everything to first time around and if I hate it, I don’t do it again and if I love it, I try to find more of it. Maintaining his approach has honestly been the best investment in my business – so many awesome opportunities have come my way because of my willingness to say yes to things. I know I won’t be able to do that forever, so I am making the most of it now.
3. June is Meeting the Makers month on OMHG, can you give us some insight into your creativity?
I have recently rearranged my apartment to give myself a proper studio space – an entire room just for creating. It was a challenge and I had to sacrifice some personal space but I think it is so worth it. It’s high in the trees and has lots of natural light, green walls and all my pretty fabrics piled up waiting for my next great idea! I feel most inspired by travels both near and far, adventures both big and small and memories or people and palces. I like to bring my threads and fabrics and colors together to create snapshots of things – and curate the happiest collection of hoops I possibly can.
4. What have been the greatest struggles & successes you have had as a maker trying to create your handmade business?
I struggle with ideas overload, and time management, but I am getting better about just letting things happen when they happen and making time for the most important things first. I know that when something needs to get done, it will and everything has its time. One thing I think I’ve been successful at is connecting with others in this field and building a little community of people I can talk to, get opinions from, help and also maybe sometimes complain to. Having a support system is important, but being part of one of also important and I like to help others when I can!
5. You are auctioning off one of your beautiful hand embroidered pieces on Worthsy right now, it’s so exciting! Why do you feel valuing and supporting handmade is so important? Do you think Worthsy can help change people’s perception of the worth of handmade?
When I first heard of Heartsy, I was like oh that’s awesome! Who wouldn’t want to get something super awesome for less than full price? I mean, let’s be honest… but then I got to thinking that maybe it’s not such a wonderful thing… we aren’t selling boxes of cereal, we are selling little bits of self and lots of time and brainstorming efforts and long hours in the studio. We aren’t selling the same things we normally look for bargains on so why should we treat our work like it is? The first time I sold a piece at auction I was absolutely flabbergasted by what people are willing to pay for my work – I encourage people to sell their work on consignment or through a gallery now and then because it forces you to raise your price a little and it’s so refreshing and empowering to see what people will spend. I think Worthsy will do that for people as well and sooner or later everyone will understand what their work is worth and that’s really important.
6. Thanks so much for visiting us! Where else can we find you & your work?