My gorgeous friend Megan Hess was destined to draw, her initial career in graphic design transcended into art direction for advertising agencies and Liberty Department Store. In 2006 Megan illustrated the book ‘Sex and The City’ which catapulted her onto the world stage, where she began illustrating portraits for New York Times, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Michelle Obama, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett and Nicole Kidman. Megan has written and illustrated 16 best-selling books and is one of the world’s most sought-after fashion illustrators with clients that include Dior, Tiffany & Co, Louis Vuitton, Montblanc, Fendi, Prada and Cartier. It is always a joy to sit and chat to Megan and learn more about what inspires her, I hope this may inspire some budding illustrators too!
What is your company mission statement?
Create to inspire. At the core of everything I do, I just hope someone feels good when they see my work - I hope it brings them joy. It sounds pretty basic but it’s quite powerful to have a truth that always brings you back to your ‘why’ when you’re deciding if you should do something.
Looking back what were the most important things you wish someone had told you before starting your business?
So many things! I wish I knew that failure would be the great catalyst for all my success and that I shouldn’t have feared it - I should have celebrated it! You can’t actually succeed until you’ve really failed a few times so get onto failing as soon as you can!
I wish I knew that choosing less things to work on would bring such a better outcome. Choose only the things that really make your heart sing and you will succeed.
And most of all I wish I had known to trust my gut more often. I’ve learnt that your gut instinct is never wrong.
What do you think it takes to build a successful business and brand?
Passion and a plan. Dreaming is the first stage but you must put the dream into action. Just baby steps to start but you have to start.
I think it is also knowing what you want your business to be and why it is important to you to create it. Then it is a daily check to see if your actions are pointing you in the right direction to see that dream come to life.
It is also very important to know what success looks like to YOU. Others will suggest things you should do to be successful but it is pointless if that’s not your ultimate goal or end picture of success. Always know that time spent on your dream or goal is never time wasted, even if you decide to change course.
Favourite part about your job?
I still don’t really consider it a ‘job’ so that’s my definition of success. I just love that I get to create every day. I love that I have my own studio and I get to work with so many amazing people. Not every project is easy but I even love that, the challenge can be so rewarding. I still to this day, get so excited every single morning when I walk into my studio to begin my day. No day is ever really the same and I walk out at the end of each day having created something…. sometimes it is big and sometimes it is small but I feel the same either way - really fulfilled and happy.
What is the best piece of career advice you have been given?
Remember to enjoy the journey as much as getting to the destination. This advice was given to me many years ago and I still cherish it. By doing that - ‘enjoying the day to day’ it means you’re not waiting for the big moments to come along and give you all your happiness. If you decide to enjoy the process, the ups and downs of your journey then you feel little wins every day. It also takes the pressure off expectations that we all put on ourselves. Celebrate all the little things - you’ll feel amazing.
Describe yourself in 3 words
Creative, Curious, Optimistic.
What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
I have a full morning routine. On the weekdays when I first wake up, I drink a big glass of water. Next I do TM meditation for 20 mins, followed by 10 mins of creative visualisation. Then I make myself a coffee and I’m ready to face the day!
The important thing is that I never look at my phone before I do all of those things first. It is incredible how much calmer and happier I feel for the whole day by doing that morning routine. On the weekends, all bets are off! I sleep in and skip all weekday steps and go straight to coffee.
What book should we all read?
I just finished reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle. It was pretty life changing. It is a book for all women and I actually really want my daughter to read it too.
Where is your favourite place to travel to?
Everywhere!!!!! I miss travelling so much! I miss London, New York, Hawaii, Milan…. most of all I miss Paris. So many cities are just so inspiring for so many reasons and I often have all my best ideas when I’m travelling. The past two years have been like Ground Hog day with very little inspiration coming from discovering new people and places. On the upside, I think we will all appreciate travel so much more when we can. I will never complain about waiting in a customs line again!
What are your Top Tips for entertaining?
My most important tip is make sure you have FUN! I love entertaining and I love all the little details. I have learnt over the years that its best for me to pre-prepare EVERYTHING. This way, I can actually put my feet up and have fun with my guests rather than feeling like I am a waitress in my home all night. I’m also hopeless at multi-tasking - talking to friends and perfecting the perfect roast chicken at the same time is not for me.
I love to decorate and set a table. I enjoy this even more than setting a menu. Flowers, linen napkins, little illustrations at each place setting – it is all so enjoyable.
Image copyright - Megan Hess
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