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“Colorful and whimsical with lots of personality.” Isn’t that how the best kids creations are made? Meghan from Sew Shenanigans knows how to create the best stuffies and we discovered her secrets when we interviewed her!

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

Hi I’m Meghan! I am a professional photographer and mommy of a one year old by day (with an amazing supporting husband), and a very avid sewer and crafter every other moment I have. I am incredibly passionate about the arts in all its forms. One interesting fact about me is I am a fourth-generation seamstress.

Where did your business idea come from?

When I started to use my first sewing machine, I was gifted a number of vintage patterns. One was a monkey, and I dove right into making this stuffed monkey. I realized after that this was about the most complicated stuffed animal pattern ever created, but it sparked some real inspiration and passion for making these stuffed creators and I started to make lots. Some patterns I bought, some I made up, and within a couple months I realized I can’t have a house full of 10000 stuffed animals so I should start to try to sell my creations, and Sew Shenanigans was born.

How Does your work reflect your personality and overall approach to life?

My creations feel like a reflection of myself. Colorful and whimsical with lots of personality. I think that one way my work reflects my approach to life is I embrace each item evolving into its own animal, and even with a pattern I like it when they all turn out a little bit different. Exact perfection is not what I strive for but for high quality, individuality and unique pieces that stand out on their own.

How do you balance parenthood with your business?

This is a daily struggle I feel like every parent goes through. I have a huge newfound respect for the stay at home working parent. It is a constant battle to work and parent and be involved with my family. I try to balance things by working when I can as much as I can, but also trying to have some compassion for myself and not sweating the small stuff. If I need a break, I take it, if I can’t quite finish this project tonight, I will finish it tomorrow. I think that a part of balance is being able to adjust your personal expectations and do the best you can.

What would you say has been your biggest learning curve since beginning your business?

The biggest learning curve I have had is the business side of things. More specifically knowing where to find my customers and creating a pricing structure that I am happy with.

Where do you get inspiration for developing new products?

I get inspiration from anywhere really – television shows my daughter watches with animal characters, seeing animals at the zoo, seeing cute stuffies at stores and from feedback, suggestions and requests from my clients.

What is the story behind your business name?

I wanted to find something unique and fun to go with my general approach to this business and life. I used to say “shenanigans” a lot! Especially while working in the studio photographing families. I felt like that word was a good representation of what I wanted to become.

Can you describe your process and how long it takes to produce a piece?

I start by grabbing my pattern out of a folder I keep them in. I then get to pick the fabric I want to use (my favorite part). I copy out the pattern to fabric, cut, sew, add eyes, inside out and stuff. I then sew it up in the back and then check all the seams and the eyes to and remove any stray threads.

Describe your work-space and your top tools are.

I have an office I rent near my home that houses my fabric, work table, supplies and tools. I have a giant cutting mat on a counter height work table where I cut out all my pieces. I then take them home and sew the creation in my little office corner in my dining room (used to be a full craft room, but we needed more room to eat!)

Do you receive many custom orders and if so, how much input do clients have?

I receive a lot of custom order requests. Each request is considered greatly before I decide if it fits my brand, skills, time, budget of client, to create a fully custom pattern. My client has some input but typically it is left up to me and my creative skill to make something perfect for them.

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

I have one of the first elephants I ever made in my craft room with me. It is my favorite – made of a colourful floral corduroy fabric, and it sits with me in my craft room. I also make the occasional item for my daughter, but usually just as a sample to show at craft shows.

Do you have a favourite designer? Who is it and why?

Tim Holtz!!!!! I love his work and all his amazing multi-media projects. His fabric line is amazing too. He has this incredible way of marrying old vintage items and patterns with modern colours and styles to create really unique patterns. If you are familiar at all with Tim Holtz work, you may notice a few of his fabric designs in my creations.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love to sew and craft. I spend most of my free time creating something. I also love organizing and finding the perfect organizational solution to a problem area in our home. I also enjoy reading, helping others, spending time with my family and having baby dance parties with my daughter.

Any advice for a new Handcrafted Maker who is setting up a shop?

Do your research. Find other makers that do something similar and look at what seems to work and what doesn’t. And the hardest thing – have confidence in your work. You are an amazing creator and you can do this!

What is your bestselling item? Why do you think it is the most popular?

My best-selling item is my Mammoth. It is popular for so many reasons but probably the biggest is its made with faux fur and looks super unique. Almost like a huggable textile sculpture

Are you managing wholesale accounts and attending markets alongside your direct sales? If so, how do you balance your work day?

I do very little wholesale, but I do sell at a couple handmade brick and mortar stores. Balancing my sewing with craft sale demands, Etsy and selling in stores can be hard but I have a daily goal of making three items that keeps me motivated. I don’t always make those three new items but having that goal motivates me and keeps me focused

Do you have other hobbies?

I am a professional photographer, but it is also something I am very passionate about. I take photos in my little home studio as regularly as I can and work with other photographers on projects often.

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a creative business owner?

The biggest challenge is doing all the other stuff that isn’t creating. Filling out forms, keeping my books, client and vendor follow up etc. I try to keep myself organized, learn new business skills when I can and just do the best I can.

Did you take classes to learn the skills you utilize or are these self-taught practices of trial and error?

I have taken some creative classes and some business skill classes but for my sewing I am self taught

What do you hope to accomplish in the next year? No limits! Where would you like your business to go?

I am hoping to shift to mostly selling my custom and personalized items online and attend larger craft shows. I am also hoping to introduce a couple new lines of product this year.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee!!!!! My whole family are coffee addicts and at one time my Dad would drink two pots of coffee daily. I used to start my day off with 24oz of coffee every morning and more later in the day. When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter I decided to just quit coffee cold turkey because there was no way I would be able to only have 10-12 oz a day. It was a great moment when I could have a cup after she was born.

If you’re looking for THE perfect gift for the little in your life, contact Meghan and make sure to follow her on her socials to see what she’s up to!

Website: www.sewshenanigans.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sewshenanigans

Instagram: www.instagram.com/meghanshenanigans

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