This is the twelfth post in a weekly series called “10 Questions with” that will feature creative entrepreneurs and small business owner profiles who have incredible stories and advice to share. It’s the perfect series to follow for budding entrepreneurs and creative people who want to know more about other people’s creative processes. Check back here every Wednesday to see who will be profiled next.. The interview is below the images.
See the image above? I bought this print from Meghan Alonso, the founder and owner of Life with Peanut, a gorgeous print and accessories shop (among other things!). I used it in this gorgeous flat lay with a dress from the cuteheads FW15 ‘Back to Basics’ Collections. She also designed the logo for this blog! Cute, right? Meghan’s is a name that’s been around for a long time. Let’s be honest, small businesses come and go, and it’s understandable. Life gets in the way, burnout happens, and sometimes, when people realize how incredibly hard this whole small business thing is, they decide it’s not for them. But Meghan’s in for the long haul. Her shop began on Etsy and migrated over to her own site, and it. is. GORGEOUS. I’m so excited to feature her in one of my small business owner profiles. Her story is fascinating and her advice is wise.
Glad to chat with you! First, tell us where we can find you online.
My name is Meghan, and I own Life with Peanut. The website is lifewithpeanut.com.
What inspired you to start your own business?
My daughter and my indecisiveness. When I was pregnant with Savanna, I really had no idea what to do with her nursery. It was pretty bare for a long time. When I was looking for art to hang on her walls, I really couldn’t decide what I wanted. So I decided to play around with Photoshop and see what I could create for her. I made so many prints… and still couldn’t decide what I wanted! After talking to one of my sisters (who also owns an Etsy shop), I decided to start my own business and sell the art prints. Life with Peanut has now evolved to so much more – art, graphic design, wall decor, necklaces, hair accessories and teethers.
What inspires your work and what sets you apart from everyone else?
I am constantly looking at nursery decor. I want to change Savanna’s room just about every day so I am always looking for a new theme or color that inspires me. I look at bed sheets, furniture and color palettes. These all inspire me to create art prints that match these sets I see online.
My niece who is 7 months (and my business partner Colleen’s daughter) always has a headband on. She’s crazy – we think she’s going to give her poor child a headache lol. She inspired me to start both the teethers and the hair accessory line. She needed more things for her hair!
What is your background and how did you develop the skills to start your business?
My background is a long story. I graduated from University of Miami with a Bachelors in Microbiology and Immunology, Chemistry and English. When I graduated, I had a tough time finding a job and ended up as a high school English teacher. It didn’t work for me and I found another job as a Food Quality consultant for a large restaurant chain with my Microbiology background. I moved my way through the company eventually becoming an IT Project Manager designing websites and applications for the company. This is where my graphic design background began. As far as everything else, I’ve always been a crafter. I love making things. And once you do it enough times and perfect it, things are beautiful.
What has been your biggest success to date?
Launching my graphic design part of the business, Meghan Alonson Design. I wish I would have done it much sooner. I didn’t really think there was a need for a graphic designer on Etsy. But there was, and I love it.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Besides accounting and taxes? LOL Launching my new website and trying to steer traffic from Etsy to my new site. I still get a lot of people coming from Etsy, and I wish I could focus and get everyone ordering from one location.
Describe your typical work day.
I wake up at 5am and work before my daughter wakes up. I don’t get to work again until after she goes to bed. I am not much of a night owl, so most of my work gets done in the early morning hours. She is now going to preschool two days a week which has been wonderful! I get to put more hours in and focus on things I haven’t been able to in a long time.
Which small businesses are you inspired by?
@livieloos: Jen is amazing. She runs a successful shop, is a single parent right now while her husband is deployed and also runs an amazing blog.
@savannahglam: Jamie was one of the first people I met on Instagram. She helped me so much in the beginning and I know she is someone I can always go to if I need anything. She’s constantly working and releasing new items.
If you could go back to the beginning knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently?
I was all over the place with my art prints at the beginning. I hate many of the ones I originally started with. I wish I wasn’t in a hurry to launch my company and focused more one making sure everything was cohesive.
What’s your best advice for someone who wants to start her own creative business?
Do it. Read some information – there’s a lot on the Etsy forums and on other shops blogs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get help. And do your bookkeeping from the beginning so you don’t get stuck months behind like I did.
To read more creative entrepreneur profiles, follow the entire “10 Questions with” series.