By Meg Gleason
Meg Gleason is not your average Minted artist, but then again, there’s no such thing as “an average Minted artist.” The self-described designer, illustrator, and farm wife leads her fully staffed print shop, Moglea, in Audubon, Iowa, and somehow manages to raise two children and help run a family farm, raising cattle, hogs, corn, and soybeans. “The farm has been in the family for four generations,” she says.
Meg joined the Minted community in 2009 and has 70 wins to her name. Designing for Minted challenges was how she got her career start and helped her gain confidence to launch her own letterpress stationery line. “The community provided me with invaluable feedback and encouragement at a pivotal moment in my career and they continue to do so,” she says. “Minted continually helps support and promote Moglea and I’m forever grateful for the opportunities I’ve had from Minted.”
Here she shares her day in the life. —Amy Schroeder
6:50 AM: Our alarm goes off at the same time each day, which coincides with the alarm in our children’s room. They get up at 6:50 to get ready to go to school or daycare. We have a six-year-old named Shepard and a four-year-old named Ev. Chad and I take turns making the kids breakfast and making sure Shepard gets on the bus that picks him up outside our home. If one of us was working late for Moglea or the farm, we usually take an extra half-hour to sleep in while the other parent gets the kids ready.
7:35 AM: Shepard gets on the bus, and I start getting ready for the day. If I have time, I’ll run on my treadmill or read a bit while sipping coffee. Ev always reads and talks to me while I put on make-up and do my hair. I really treasure my mornings with her so much that I end up taking extra time to get ready so that we can hang out.
My husband Chad designed and built the Moglea facility. The studio sits next to a river that runs adjacent to our farm, and since it rests in a flood plain, we needed to build the facility above historical flood stages. Chad worked on the design for a full year, first from sketches and then eventually building the studio completely in Google Sketchup so that he could pass the design onto the contractors and employees who helped him build it.
9:30 AM: I either drop off Ev at daycare or bring her to Moglea for the day. I usually spend the first hour of my day helping members of our team solve problems or answer questions. We have a full-time staff of seven people, and each person has very key independent tasks within our company.
There are tons of benefits to running a business in Iowa. The cost of starting a business in Iowa is lower because of reduced real-estate prices and its lower cost of living. My favorite part of having a business in Iowa is truly the “island” feeling of living in a rural area, outside of any large cities. I feel like I can create original work here because I’m not constantly influenced by other work that I see around me, and I’m not able to absorb aesthetic influence from the culture of a city.
One huge challenge for us is the Internet. We can’t directly connect to a high-speed Internet line, so we have to “beam” Internet from a farm a couple miles away. It’s also harder to find creative help in a rural area, but we’ve managed to find amazing employees despite this challenge.
11:00 AM: This is usually the time I get to start focusing on emails or managing production or designing. What I actually do during the day has changed significantly since we started Moglea and continues to change as Moglea’s production side of the business gets really independent. I help guide production alongside our Production Manager, Sarah, but most of my days are spent doing design and management duties. Cait, our designer, and I just finished designing 40 new products for the Moglea line, and now my focus is marketing the new products and starting to design new products for our next release.
This is the wall I pin everything to when I’m designing a new collection for Moglea. I assemble everything together so it looks nice as a whole.
12:30 PM: I try to head back to the house to have lunch with Chad if he’s home. It’s best to arrive after Chad has started making lunch because he often gets inspired to make some really good lunch creations, which are usually some sort of salad.
1:30 PM: I head back to the studio, usually with a beverage in hand. I’m sort of a work beverage addict. We don’t have a coffee shop anywhere close, so I’ve developed my own coffee and tea bar at home. Lately I’m really into an Indian chai with lots of cardamom. The afternoons at Moglea are usually more quiet, with everyone very focused on their individual tasks. All orders have to be shipped by 4 PM when UPS arrives, so sometimes I help our wholesale team with packing orders if they need it. Most of the time I get some good uninterrupted design time. If Ev is with me, this is when I get out a project for her to work on. She often packages up her own “Mog-a-lee” creations or uses a glue gun to make little sculptures with sticks.
3:45 PM: Shepard arrives at the studio after school. There is usually another burst of activity in the studio as we have another shift of staff that arrives at this time to help us package and assemble our products. It’s a full house in the studio for an hour or two with the overlap of staff. I really love the people I work with. They are talented, passionate, and dedicated to their work, which inspires me to work harder for them each day. I also love the opportunity to work full time and have my family at work with me from time to time. I consider myself really blessed.
5:00 PM: I try to leave by 5 or 6 PM each day to make dinner and spend time with the kids before bedtime. We love to cook, so we usually end up with a finished meal at 7. I’m trying to get better about making meals faster, but because cooking is so therapeutic for me, I can’t help but spend an hour making a meal.
8:00 PM: If I work late, which for us is often, we usually make a cocktail and head out to the studio around this time. Chad is working on finishing up studio construction, and it’s nice to have him at the studio working while I’m working. I couldn’t do this crazy business without his support and wisdom. The studio is really quiet and wonderful at night. I’m able to get so much done in the evenings here when I’m not being distracted by other things. I turn email off (download the OneFocus app!) and just think. This is usually when I paint because I can spread out my work across a few work tables in the studio if needed.
11:00 PM: Bedtime! We try to get to bed around 11 on a normal evening. We might watch an occasional Netflix show or listen to a record while the kids are sleeping.
Published January 20, 2016 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.
This is the very first “Day in the Life of a Minted Artist” feature on Julep. We’d love to hear your thoughts about Meg Gleason’s day—share comments below.6 COMMENTS