Meet a Minted Artist: Lindsay Megahed

For a Chicago-area artist, Lindsay Megahed’s paintings emit quite the California vibe. From the beach scenes of “Weekending” and “Sea Wall” to the bright, dreamy colors in many of her other limited-edition prints, she’s got a lot of West Coast going on. But the Cali energy isn’t all that Lindsay has to offer. She’s a multi-talented artist-designer who’s won 109 awards across Minted categories: holiday cards, Valentine’s Day stationery, fabric, and, of course, art. Here, Lindsay talks about raising two boys, developing her career, and her insightful advice for up-and-coming artists.

What’s it like to be a work-from-home artist?
Very messy! Inspiration can strike at any time, so usually my studio is covered with works in progress—paper scraps, canvases, paint tubes, and palettes (I can’t throw anything away.) My studio is right off my main living space, so I don’t really have consistent start-and-stop working hours, and there are a lot of distractions. But being able to be so flexible with my time makes the haphazard work environment worth it. I can volunteer at my boys’ elementary school and attend all their events and activities, which is my main entertainment these days. Being home a lot, I do miss talking to grown-ups, so it’s always nice to hop online to see what’s happening in the Minted community.

Your work is so colorful. Do you have a favorite color combination?
I always start out trying to freshen up my palette a bit, but blue/green and orange/pink always seem to take over in the end.

Big Sur” by Lindsay Megahed

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Meet a Minted Artist: Naomi Ernest

A self-described “artist, photographer, and clandestine writer,” Naomi Ernest has carved out a unique niche for herself on Minted. Her paintings, drawings, and photographs are at once minimalist, personal, and whimsically mysterious. “I am very process-oriented, letting the various effects of tools, mediums, and techniques be integral to each piece,” she says. “I like my work to be uncomplicated at first glance, but the more you look at it, the more complexities you discover. Overall simplicity with interesting details.”

Here, the Ann Arbor, Michigan artist shares details behind the scenes of her life–from her five children to the ongoing project of rehabbing her farmhouse.

When did you know you were an artist?
Growing up, my parents were both artists-on-the-side; as a very young child, I wanted to be an artist and a writer. I remember thinking these things specifically at maybe 3 or 4 years old—well before I could write more than a word or two, when my paintings were unsteady brush marks in blue and red and yellow. Somewhere along the uncertainty of growing up, I lost these early convictions, and it took me decades of searching to rediscover and to implement them.

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The Pros and Cons of Working From Home

Don’t you love it when a planned, routine project turns a corner, changes form, and, ultimately, becomes more interesting? That’s the case with this story. What started as the January edition of our #ArtistAdvice series (featuring Minted artists sharing their advice about work and creativity), evolved into this: an e-conversation between Jessica Williams and Rebecca Turner. Both are longtime artists in the Minted community. Both work from home. Both said, “Hey, wait a minute, I have more to say about this than just my advice.” And both want to hear your thoughts, so we’ll get to that at the end.

So, here we go. This is the start of what we hope becomes an ongoing discussion with the Minted artist community about what it means to work from home—the pros and cons and all the insights in-between.

Rebecca Turner burns midnight oil in South Bend, Indiana.

Amy Schroeder: How long have you worked from home, and why?
Jessica:
I’ve worked from home for almost three years. I previously worked full time in visual merchandising for Johnston & Murphy, and my freelance work built up to a point where I wasn’t able to do both. It was a scary leap to make, but completely worth it.

Rebecca: I’ve been working exclusively from home since 2010 and the birth of my first child. Before then, I worked full time at various “designy” jobs and freelanced on the side.

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Mariam Naficy Keynotes Alt Summit, Reveals Curator Stores

“Will knock your socks off” was a spot-on description for today’s opening keynote at Alt Summit Winter 2016. Minted Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy was in good creative company with her fellow keynote speakers in Salt Lake City, Utah—all of whom are Internet powerhouses: Sarah Michelle Gellar of Food Stirs, Jihan Zencirli of Geronimo Balloons, and Luvvie Ajayi of Awesomely Luvvi.

Mariam Naficy gives her keynote speech at Alt Summit on January 21, 2016.
Photo by Troy Williams of @SimplyTroy

Alt Summit is the most influential conference for lifestyle and design bloggers, small business owners, and social media personalities. The four-day summit features panels and workshops about creative problem-solving and empowerment, where up-and-comers can rub elbows with stars like Justina Blakeney of The Jungalow and artist Elle Luna.

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5 Tips for Refreshing Your Minted Artist Store in Q1

Ready to give your Minted Artist Store a seasonal refresh? To help you think through your merchandising strategy and the products to spotlight in your Store, we’ve compiled these five tips with the insights of Minted’s marketing and merchandising leaders.

Alexandra Dzhiganskaya updated her Store shortly after New Year’s, prioritizing her winning Valentine’s Day designs and spring floral art.

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6 Tips for Non-Custom Self-Launch Stickers and Labels

Self-launch non-custom stickers are the eighth product of Minted’s self-launch offering for Minted Artists with Stores. This release includes two products: stickers and labels. The only difference between the two is the paper they’re printed on—stickers are printed on an adhesive-backed paper; labels are printed on a coated paper with a slicker, waterproof surface.

Minted’s assortment of customizable stickers are recommended for use as envelope seals and for adding a special touch to stationery and more. Minted’s assortment of customizable labels are recommended for a number of uses, including a durable way to identify kids’ bottles, food containers, and sports equipment.

One of the most important things to keep in mind about self-launch, non-customizable stickers is that they cannot be personalized by customers. If you’re looking for ideas for the endless possibilities for stickers, you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll find valuable insights from an experienced Minted sticker designer along with Minted’s merchandising, marketing, and technical leaders.

Guapa” rounded stickers by Kelli Hall

1. Fill a gap

“Self-launch stickers have potential to be very popular with consumers,” says Erica Krystek, a prolific artist whose Minted Artist Store includes a range of stickers. When it comes to creating new products for your Store, we recommend creating your own strategy based on your strengths and interests in addition to filling a gap in the Minted assortment. What do you feel is missing from the Minted sticker and label assortment, and how can you create something unique?

If you’re looking for more precise merchandising advice, Minted CEO Mariam Naficy’s vision for self-launch non-custom stickers revolves around greater flexibility for gift-giving. She recommends creating gift tags with the “From:” and “To:” fields not filled in, allowing for everyone in a family to use the tags. “We’re considering promoting non-custom stickers in the Minted shopping cart as an easy, last-minute ‘add to cart’,” she says. “Kind of like chewing gum at the cash register.”

2. Take a seasonal approach

Mary-Kevin Stuart, Minted’s Senior Merchandising Manager of Baby and Kids products, recommends designing stickers for events and holidays. “Stickers could be used for holiday treats or favors,” she says. “For instance, a sticker that simply reads, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’.”

You may also want to create gift labels that are versatile enough to be used year-round, or create seasonal stickers (such as themes for spring, summer, fall, and winter) or holiday- and event-themed stickers, such as for birthdays, winter holidays, etc.

Rollin’” sticker by Erica Krystek

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Meet a Minted Artist: Julie Green of Up Up Creative

Julie Green of Up Up Creative doesn’t do New Year’s resolutions, but she does usually choose a word to sort-of nudge her in a direction of growth for the year. Her word for 2016 is practice. “I’ve been self-employed since 2008, and I guess I feel like I’ve reached a certain level of proficiency as a designer, and as a human being,” the Rochester, New York, artist says. “If I want to continue to grow, I need to remind myself to practice new skills and keep challenging the status quo.”

Here, the longtime Minted artist shares interesting corners of her life, from her love of Baptiste Yoga, “being the worst multitasker,” and her healthy obsession with fonts.

GET TO KNOW JULIE GREEN
You have 11.5K Pinterest followers, with 117 boards. How’d you build such a strong following?
I know it’s called social media, and I definitely use Facebook and Instagram to engage with people in a more social way, but Pinterest is something I use just for me. It’s where I gather ideas and inspiration; it’s where I imagine my own life and the lives of my clients and customers; it’s where I go to observe trends in my own interests, tastes, and styles. As for how I built that following, I sure wish I knew! But maybe it’s partly that I didn’t try to.

Cool and All” save the date card by Julie Green of Up Up Creative

You’ve gotten great press. What’s your favorite feature and why?
My favorite was Martha Stewart Living (December 2012 holiday gift guide), because it was the first magazine I was in that people in my life actually read on a regular basis. When you’re a freelance graphic designer with children—whether you work while the kids are napping or you work full time from a studio, or you do something in between—most people in your life don’t really get what you do and don’t even always think it’s a real job or a serious thing. When you turn up in one of their favorite holiday gift guides, suddenly you’re having conversations with them about your work. That’s pretty cool.

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Minted’s 20 First-Place Challenge Winners of 2015

We’ve entered 2016 head-on in our continual quest to discover the best in stationery, art, and home decor design. Of course, we couldn’t do it without the Minted Artist community and our customers who cast their votes in Minted Design Challenges.

Before we bid adieu to yesteryear, let’s take a look at Minted’s first-place Challenge-winning designs of 2015. The 2015 collection is a mix of heartfelt sentiments, breathtaking photography, colorful expression, and a dash of humor for good measure.

Congrats to the Grad! Quickfire Challenge
Past and Future” by Laura Bolter Design
Announced February 27, 2015


Three Cheers! Minted x West Elm’s 3rd Art Challenge
Directions I” limited edition print by J Ryan
Announced March 11, 2015


Baby on Board Baby Shower Invitations Challenge
Special Delivery Bouquet” by Karidy Walker
Announced March 19, 2015


Fall & Winter Digital Invitations Challenge
Holiday Soiree” Holiday Party Online Invitations by GeekInk Design
Announced April 10, 2015

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How To: Make New Year’s Resolutions and Goals That Stick

When it comes to kicking off a new year of creative ambition, do you believe in New Year’s resolutions or goal-setting? That’s the question we asked Stacey Meacham and Raven Erebus, Minted artists who, as it turns out, advocate for setting attainable goals. Read their strategies here.

Stacey Meacham
Atlanta, Georgia
Stacey’s Minted Artist Store

I’m a list maker, so I am all about setting goals. I tend to set goals throughout the year, though, and am not a fan of one-time New Year’s resolutions. I feel like big, grand gestures can fall flat, so I like to set quarterly goals, which range in size. I like to set small, attainable goals and big-picture goals, and I try not to freak out if I don’t hit all of them. I just kind of add them to the top of a new list and start to chip away at that. Setting goals and thinking of new ways to generate business helps me focus. Making lists helps me prioritize which goals are most important at any given time. For example, I’ve had one goal on my list for some time now and haven’t even scratched the surface of making it a reality, but I’m fine with that. That day will come. For now I am happy to have other goals that were on my radar for some time ticked off. It’s such a feeling of accomplishment to cross off a list item. It shows that you are making progress—and I am all for progress.

I think it’s important to be realistic with your goals early on. That’s not to say don’t dream big, but if you need to take a workshop or class to hone your skills, be real with that expectation and make that one of your goals. I realize things take time. Overnight success is not the norm, so setting goals is a good way to work toward something bigger without setting yourself up for failure. Especially if you have mini-milestones along the way. Pat yourself on the back and recognize your little successes as well as your big ones.

Looking Sharp” save the date card by Stacey Meacham

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Q&A: What’s Your Advice for Collaborating With Someone?

Ever thought about working in collaboration with another artist or designer? For some artists, working solo-style is best for them, while others choose to collaborate for short sprints or long-term projects. Many Minted artists also say they benefit from the collaborative nature of critiquing each other’s work during the Design Challenge process. For this edition of #ArtistAdvice, we asked full-time design duos Baumbirdy and Rose Lindo and her husband to share their best advice for creative collaboration.

Sarah Baumgardner and Carolyn Doogan
Baumbirdy

Chicago

Our best advice for working in a collaboration with someone is to have good communication from the very beginning. Honest communication is best. Sounds simple, but it can be really hard in the beginning not to take things personally, especially when dealing with something so personal as art.

It’s easy to say, “I like this color palette,” “That looks nice,” or “What do you want for lunch?,” but the true progress comes from “real” critiques. Being able to openly give and take advice and criticism is essential in creating trust and open-mindedness between one another. Being able to recognize and talk about one’s strengths and weaknesses are essential to creating an efficient design process.

Floral Peace” holiday card by Baumbirdy

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