Meg (owner of DarceyStrangeways) is actually from my hometown and a mutual friend of mine, in fact she used to work at the same place as my best friend, so we actually didn’t meet online. However, she is fabulous and super talented… so of course I wanted her to feature on ‘a chat with’. She has an Instagram page sharing her artwork and she also runs potentially the cutest yellow shop I have ever seen (although more on the later) and I am so excited to ask her so many questions about her work from a fellow small business owner!
What made you start Darceystrangeways- was it planned or more of a spontaneous decision one day?
So I never actually set out to “start” DarceyStrangeways. The name was originally found on a bench in Peasolm Park in Scarborough, a man called Darcy Charles Swainston Strangways, and from this I took DarceyStrangeways and made it my Instagram username where n I joined the platform in 2013. I posted a lot of my art as I was doing my Illustration degree at the time, and the two sort of became synonymous and people started asking for commissions and DarceyStrangeways became my brand name through association with my art work, so the birth of it was a very organic process.
What is your favourite and least favourite thing about running your own business?
Favourite thing – having a physical shop where I can meet and interact with people I wouldn’t necessarily meet online, Young and budding artists are my absolute favourite because they walk in and their faces just light up, I can sometimes see a lot of myself in them at the same age so it’s wonderful and something really real and special to be part of their inspiration and creative sponge brains.
The least favourite – everything’s expensive man! taxes and admin fees, printer ink, IPO trademark, shop rent and Insurance, fineliners and paints, like the list goes on. I have a budget and I stick to it (fearing imminent bankruptcy if I don’t) but managing finances and numbers has never been my strong point, and an annoyingly large amount of owning and running an any business involves numbers. Get an accountant basically.
Did you always want to start an actual shop as opposed to being solely online? I would love to start a shop in the future after building up Indigo Rosee Beauty online, and I am super inspired by you!
Cutie thank you so much, it always warms me if someone says they find me inspiring. Honestly, I’d never even thought about having a physical premesis until December 2017. We were walking along Dean Road and my partner spotted the shop premesis in the GLS property shop window, and said “You can finance that, you should go for it” and I said “Don’t be ridiculous that’s silly, I can’t just open a shop”. So the shop opened in April after I got the keys in March, and here we are a year and half later. Just got to carpe the diem, as they say.
If you could give a small business owner one piece of advice, what would it be?
One piece of advice I would give to a new business owner is – if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a town to raise a shop. You will not be able to do it all by yourself as much as you inevitably pressure yourself and think you have to, and you will be endlessly pleasantly surprised by how much people will be willing to do for you, especially when you tell them you’re just starting out. You need only ask around. (And also be thrifty. The desk in my shop is someone’s old dining room table cut in half and mounted on the wall lol)
How was your university experience? I like asking people this because everyone has a different experience!
Uft university was hard man. I loved the course itself and the work involved and made good friends on it, but me and my course tutor did not get on at all, and one of my good friends passed away in our halls during the freshers week of our second year. Both of which caused a deep sadness and a kind of anger that I’d been robbed of this “find yourself party experience” that everyone told me uni would be. I am also lucky enough to have a loving partner and a tight knit family at home and being away from them while all this turmoil was going on sucked. Having said that, it did teach me a lot about personal growth, broadened my skill set and friendship groups, how a strong work ethic is developed and maintained and is a coping mechanism in itself. I went to therapy after uni to unpack a lot of emotions I’d not let myself deal with while there, because I’d had this “eyes on the prize” mentality, and even though it was a fight the last two years, I graduated with a First Class BA and also won the special award for my department. Uni also taught me that your work and portfolio is what people ask to see in creative interviews, not your degree certificate.
Are you happy that you went to university?
I’m happy I went but only because I can’t undo it and had to make peace with the fact that I did go and it did happen, and I don’t want to carry regret around for the rest of my life. That sounds really brutal haha but it was tough, really tough. Just got to remember that getting through it got me to where I am now, and right now I am very happy and that makes me grateful for everything whether it was good or bad.
What has been your favourite day of 2019 so far?
Favourite day of 2019 was going to get the keys to mine and Rainers first house, which we bought together and he carried me into the door in the least graceful way ever but it was really funny and cute and knowing this is where we get to live now was just so nice. Cos we moved 9 times over the last few years and knowing I don’t have to move again is amaaaaazing!
What can we expect to see from ‘Darceystrangeways’ in the future?
In the near future I want to get some apparel on the go with DarceyStrangeways, and I’m also currently working on the formative stages of some environmental art projects with local beach cleaning and eco campaigners, to do something with the plastic they remove from the beaches other than send it to the rubbish or recycling. Long term I have idle daydreams of a starting an independent art school to teach art and the skills to transfer that into a career, Strangeways School of Art, how good does that sound?!
As I talk a lot about beauty on my blog, we will have the last question as something beauty related. What is your holy grail product?
My beauty holy grail is my 10hr wear perfection foundation from Sephora, it says “second skin technology” on the bottle and it actually is so good and light, I can just bob it on and get out of the house, which is perfect for a busy girl!
So that is the post! I hope you love Meg as much as I do and if you want to go check out her work then click below to be redirected to her DarceyStrangeways social media.