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Meet Trailblazer Megan Roy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Megan Roy.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
As a kid, who was afraid of the spotlight, I was always drawn to solitary creative activities, but growing up, I didn’t know that building my own job around those things was an option. I’m originally from New England and went to college in Boston, where I got a degree in film and television production, which prompted a move to Los Angeles after graduation. I absolutely loved my time on film sets in college, but when I joined the “real world” workforce I discovered it was too aggressive and oppressive for me. Ultimately, I decided that it wasn’t what I wanted and left. I still needed to make money while I figured out what to do next, so I took a job as a receptionist at a middle school. The nature of that job left me with a lot of downtimes and after putting illustration and art on the back burner for so long, I slowly started to pick it back up to pass the time. Eventually, I started taking commissions from friends and family and selling things online, which turned out to be the start of my business. About a year later, I left that job to focus on my own freelance career as an illustrator, and have been expanding ever since. Now, we have a line of greeting cards, a line of phone cases. I’ve been working with bloggers and small businesses on illustration and graphic design projects and I even self-published my first children’s book!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I really struggled after I left the film industry because it wasn’t clear to me what path I should take. It probably took me a lot longer than it should have to fall into illustration and design, I was just really hesitant to try something so unconventional. I didn’t personally know anyone who was doing what I wanted to do and had no idea how to start. Financially, starting your own art based business is always a challenge, but I’ve been lucky enough to find ways of making it work, even when it’s hard. In my experience, you have to be willing to sacrifice some things for growth (peace of mind about where your next paycheck is going to come from, for example). Without that little push, you might not have the motivation to reach your next goal. My biggest piece of advice for young women starting a creative journey is to acknowledge and accept that for every yes you will hear 100 no’s. Come to terms with that in the beginning and it’s less likely to feel like a setback when it inevitably happens. And don’t be afraid to reach out to people you want to work with! No matter how crazy or far-fetched it seems, just ask. You might be surprised at the answers you get.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Megan Roy Design – what should we know?
I work as a freelance illustrator and designer. I create custom designs for products like cell phone cases, fabric, and bedding and I sell a line of greeting cards on Etsy. I take commissions for custom pieces, logos, packaging labels, web banners and everything in between. I’ve designed enamel pins, created custom table cards for weddings and have just dipped my toes into the world of children’s book illustration. One of my first big breaks came when I started selling my Swimming Dog phone cases on Casetify – one of them was selected to be sold in Nordstrom stores nationwide as part of a temporary collection. The Swimming Dogs still sell very well today, I expect that’s what I’m best known for. I have a rescue dog who is a big part of my life and I take any opportunity I can to incorporate my love for dogs into my work, if you check out my Instagram you’ll see a lot of animals! I try really hard to take every opportunity that I’m given and I rarely say no to a project that fits my aesthetic. My ultimate goal is to make everyday objects feel more vibrant, fun and alive through my work.

What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a young woman just starting her career?
Don’t be afraid to call yourself what you want to be. If you want to be an illustrator, say “I’m an illustrator,” not “I like to draw sometimes” or “I’m interested in becoming an illustrator one day.” Own it! The more you say it, the more comfortable you’ll feel in that role and the more other people will come to think of you as that thing. Your confidence will influence other’s perception of you. Fake it ’till you make it!

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