WATCH: Philly Entrepreneurs on How They Created Their Dream Jobs
Some of us could clearly name from a young age how we wanted to spend our working lives—as a teacher, doctor or lawyer. For others, particularly those in the creative fields, the dream job doesn’t always exist—it has to be created.
That certainly rings true for fashion illustrator Dallas Shaw and DIY guru Monica Mangin. We recently got to follow along as they met up to talk about their creative journeys (watch above!), and soaked up some pearls of wisdom about forging your own path.
Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone.
Monica started her career as a high school teacher. It seemed perfect for obvious reasons—she’s bubbly, high-energy, and loves to educate—but she felt like something was missing. That eventually led her to turn her hobby, a DIY blog, into the full-blown production company it is today: East Coast Creative.
“What I do now is actually still teaching,” Monica says. “But it’s teaching homeowners, it’s teaching people to not be afraid of their creativity. It’s teaching people to take risks and try things in their homes.”
Dallas was hitting career highs, working for clients such as Disney and Chanel, when she decided to also launch her own brand, FAERIE. Selling art prints, jewelry, accessories and paper goods, FAERIE is a full expression of Dallas’ creative vision.
“I change my job all the time now, and I feel like that’s totally normal,” Dallas says. “Everyone has a lot of opinions, and that will affect my confidence a little bit at times. But a few days later, I’m back on the horse.”
Find your voice—and then embrace it.
“I think I see things really, really differently,” says Dallas. “I’m always looking very closely at color and the story behind something, and want to bring those things to life more magically, I think, than other people are inclined to.”
Dallas credits her parents with encouraging her art ever since she started drawing as a toddler. She later aspired to work in the fashion industry, and her unique way of imagining fashion—which she calls those “long, leggy girls you see in fashion ads”—proved to be her in.
Know your worth.
Monica decided early on to monetize her DIY blog.
“We had like 30 page views a month, and I was telling sponsors that we are going to become a really big thing and they should pay $100 a month to have an ad on our sidebar, and people did!” she says. “It was because we were confident.”
That confidence paid off. After hosting her own design series for ABC for two years, Monica is now the home expert for Live! With Kelly and has created home-design series for brands such as Lowe’s and Pinterest.
“Only do the things that you love,” Monica says. “There may be something that could become super big and popular, but if I don’t love doing it and it isn’t something I feel passionate about, I’m probably not going to stick with it.”
Behind the Scenes With Dallas and Monica
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