Today we’d like to introduce you to Macy McKenny.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Macy. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Creativity has been a big part of my life ever since I was a little kid. I’ve never wanted to do anything else. I was always drawing, beading, gluing random bits and bobs together, making costumes, writing stories… you name it.
When it came time to choose a major and subsequent career, I chose Graphic Design because it seemed like the logical choice to be able to put food on the table while still being creative. But, sitting behind a computer for 8 hours a day ultimately did not satisfy the desire to work with my hands to build physical objects, so I started dabbling in other mediums in my free time to fulfill the need to be more hands-on.
Eventually, I picked up some clay and started making strange little creatures, and something in my brain just clicked. THIS felt good. I started sharing my little creations online with friends, in sort of a “hey look at this silly thing I did” capacity, and Bento Box Entertainment (the creators of Bob’s Burgers) found a sculpture I did of their character Louise, but as a snail. They reposted me on all their social media accounts, then Buzzfeed caught wind and did an interview with me, and my work went viral. Within a week of that article being posted, I was able to quit my graphic design job and started sculpting full time. That was five years ago, and the rest is history.
Has it been a smooth road?
This all happened rather quickly for me, and it was a major life change. Suddenly I became a small business owner and had to learn the myriad tasks that come with that. There are taxes and accounting, packing and shipping, communications and inventory, marketing, social media, workflow, setting my own goals and schedule. It was a lot all at once.
Not only that but now I had to self-motivate every aspect of my life. I am very good at following instructions but had to learn how to set and follow my own. Setting a successful work/life balance has been a learning experience as well. First, I was working way too much, then I was working way too little. Leisure time has taken on a different tone, as I always *can* be working, and definitely feel that pull.
But in the end, it is so incredibly worth it to make art for a living, and to be doing it for myself. I have grown a lot in ways I couldn’t have predicted, and I am truly living my own life on my own terms.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Simon Says Macy story. Tell us more about the business.
I own and run two small companies, both based around my sculpting and creative skills. The first is Simon Says Macy, within which I sculpt and sell original pieces. This manifests in several different ways. First, I create whatever strange, cute, or compelling ideas that pop into my head. Second, I take commissions from my audience, like pet portraits, inside jokes, or other ideas that they’d like as a sculpture. Third, I create work for gallery shows that I’m asked to be a part of.
My other venture is Capocalypse, which is a gashapon company I am starting with a business partner. Gashapon are capsuled toys and sculptures that you get in a randomized way out out of vending machines, sort of like the ones here that contain bouncy balls, sticky hands, or candies. It’s a huge culture in Japan, and we are bringing that craze to the States. I have sculpted several lines of creatures that we have had molded and cast into toys that will go in the machines for people to collect. We are having a truck fabricated (it is almost complete!) that will contain the machines so that we can bring the fun to conventions, street fairs, parties, you name it.
While most gashapon companies sell familiar and mass-produced toys (which we will be doing some of as well), I am creating custom lines, and will also be working with other artists to create their own lines as well. This is a really cool opportunity for people to buy art from their favorite creatives at an affordable price, as well as an opportunity for artists to reach a new market.
In both cases, I am really proud that the ideas that come out of my brain and through my hands end up being art that other people actually want to own. I feel a sense of community and kinship with each person that buys my work because it means we’ve connected on a really special level.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The gashapon culture is just starting to take hold here in the United States. When we began working on this project about four years ago, there was not a presence here at all. Now it is just starting to pop up here and there, and people are getting exposed to and excited about the concept. This is really exciting for us because it is catching on so well and there is a lot of room for the industry to grow. We’re seeing more and more gashapon at conventions, and even stations of machines in malls and other retail locations. We are rooting for every one of those companies, because the more people understand and love it, the better!
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: SimonSaysMacy and Cap0calypse
Shanyn Nicole Photography
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