One of the things that inspires me so much about Megan’s story is the positive, inspiring, and hopeful influence of women. In today’s society (what a stiff choice of diction) it feels like women take two steps forward and three strides backwards when it comes to cheering for one another. It can be hard to do – however women could probably argue that we’ve recently felt the wrath of a world where we don’t support each other.
We’re slowly taking leaps towards positivity when we encourage one another, support each other, give a compliment, listen, and build each other up. As a young professional, I find it not only my right and obligation, but my privilege to use opportunities to build a fellow woman up. And this is why I’m so inspired by Megan’s journey of creating her own unique company. Her story begins with the inspiration of what she saw her mom do as a young girl, the support and kindness of women along the way, and her own fiery aspirations and ability to physically do instead of just say. Read all about Megan from Bon Aprontìt:
Tell me a little more about you. I’d love to know about your education, career path, and young-adult life details. I graduated from University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor degree in Business-Marketing. I had no idea what I wanted to do after college but that I wanted to move to a city where the opportunities were endless. I moved to Chicago the day after graduation with an event planning internship lined up. I ended up falling in love with the city and after the internship ended, I landed two more internships in Public Relations. I did one M-W-F and one Tues-Thurs while I worked at a local cupcake shop on nights and weekends to make ends meet and fulfill my passion for baking and making people smile through food. After the internships I got my first full time job with a local boutique PR firm. It was a great experience and foot in the door, but I knew I wanted to be on the other side of these pitches so I networked my tail end off and landed my full time job with Modern Luxury magazine where I have been for the past 2 ½ years.
I love when I see women taking ownership of their careers and starting their own business. Your business is so unique, and I know you mention that your idea came from watching your Mom be a host for gatherings in your home…but can you speak of the moment and timeline when you finally decided “This is it…I’m starting this business” ? I always knew I wanted to start my own business, one that involved being creative, making people smile and cooking. It was a little over 3 years ago that I came up with the idea of “dress” like aprons. At the time I didn’t want to tell anyone because it was just an idea so I told only my mom and she helped me try to bring my vision to life by glamming up a canvas apron we picked up at the store. We added a necklace to the neckline and replaced the ties with pretty satin ribbon. It was pretty but definitely not the look I was going for so I sat on the idea for about a year thinking maybe it was just an idea. It was about 2 years ago that I had a “I’ll never know if I don’t try moment” and thought “why not?”. I had met a local dress designer in the city through my day job so I reached out to grab coffee and told her my vision. She taught me pretty much everything I know about fabrics, care for fabrics, designing and all the little details you would never think of about your clothes. From there, I worked with an old intern of mine to create all my branding and logo, a local seamstress to create a few patterns (I say few, because it wasn’t until the 3rd try that I knew it was the winner!) and a local manufacturer to start producing while I created my website and worked on all the business details.
What kind of support did you have as you made that decision? What kind of support did you potentially lack? My boyfriend (now fiancé) was my biggest supporter. He supported me from my when I glammed up an old canvas apron to when I dropped a pretty penny on my first pattern sample and said “it wasn’t quite right”.
What kind of response did you get from those around you when you told them about starting this business? Once I knew the direction I wanted to take I started telling a few people who were close to me and received lots of mixed feedback. Some thought it was a great idea and others thought it was silly but were kind enough to still offer their support. I even met with a Chicago-based business owner who has made quite a footprint in the clothing industry and he gave me the feedback all designers don’t want but need at the end of the day. After this meeting, I went back to the drawing board and got to work. I knew at the end of the day these aprons were something I was passionate about so I was going to give it a shot and if I failed, at least I could say I tried.
What inspires you? When there’s tough, exhausting days, what’s the thing in your life that makes you say, “This is why I do what I do”. Between a full time job that can be anywhere from an 8 hour to 12 hour day, a blog and now a business, I feel as if those days come more frequently then I would like, but with that being said it’s the feedback from my customers and response I get on social media that keep me going. I know that I have a long way to go and so much to still learn but when I have someone tell me they wore it for their Thanksgiving dinner and everyone asked where it was from, those are the moments that remind why I pull all-nighters or spend my weekends at the fabric store waiting for my fabrics to be cut.
I’m so inspired when I hear stories about women supporting women. Can you speak of moments in your life and career where this has happened? So many times! I owe it to all of them; my mom who inspired and supported me to chase my dreams, the woman who taught me everything I know about design, the woman who taught me the ins and outs of starting a clothing line, the woman who lent me her space for my website photo shoot when I had already gone through all my startup savings and many other women who supported and gave me advice along the way. I have all of them to thank for helping get me to where I am todayJ
What’s been your biggest triumph and potential challenge with this business? Any learning curves? My biggest triumph was landing press coverage within the week I launched (stay tuned for it to be released next month!). My biggest challenge has been doing everything myself. From funding to picking up the fabrics to running the website and hand packaging each box, I have learned many of things that work, don’t work and can be very unpredictable. My first week of launching, I got a call from my fabric supplier that one of my fabrics was on back order for 3 weeks. I figured out a solution and have since received my fabric, but now know moving forward even if you do do everything yourself, you still will hit bumps in the road that are out of your hands but it’s how you move forward that matters.
To young girls and to women changing/starting their careers, what advice would you give? Go for it! You only have one life to live and you never know what the outcome will be so why not try? If you fail, pick yourself up and start again because it’s the ones who prevail from failure that succeed in the end.
Final thoughts, advice, words? Live in the moment and remember everything happens for a reason.
As Seen on TODAY
Shop her stunning aprons here!