Megan GONZALEZ – Creative Director & Stylist

 
 
 
 

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I N  C O N V E R S A T I O N  W I T H  M E G A N  G O N Z A L E Z

For this issue of Treefort Magazine, we teamed up with a local creative director & stylist from Minneapolis, Megan Gonzalez. Megan Gonzalez’s creative talents range from graphic design, photo styling, interior design, and consulting. Over the years she has utilized her strengths and talents to the best of her ability to help find her niche audience, develop tools, and find a creative process all to build a structured company. Her passions circle through storytelling to supporting, and styling to inspiring. She is someone whose drive and creative mind is an inspiration and something you desire. As a team who is constantly looking for new inspiration and freedom of expression, Megan would be the perfect individual to interview. We all have our own creative process but we wanted to know what Megan does in order to create her magic. 

“There’s a big part of making something beautiful that has a lot of unbeautiful, unartistic portions of it”
— Megan Gonzalez

Megan Gonzalez’s creative talents range from graphic design, photo styling, interior design, and consulting. Over the years she has utilized her strengths and talents to the best of her ability to help find her niche audience, develop tools, and find a creative process all to build a structured company. Her passions circle through storytelling to supporting, and styling to inspiring. She is someone whose drive and creative mind is an inspiration and something you desire. As a team who is constantly looking for new inspiration and freedom of expression, Megan would be the perfect individual to interview. We all have our own creative process but we wanted to know what Megan does in order to create her magic.

Why the name MaeMae & Co.?

My family growing up always called me MaeMae and it means little sister in chinese, spelt different. So when I started my business in college it was a stationery company and the easiest part of starting my business was coming up with the name. So, my first company name was MaeMae Paperie.  

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When did you realize this (MaeMae & Co.) is what you wanted to do?

It was kind of like I was out in the middle of the ocean and to live I kind of just had to keep swimming and try to find land or someone to save me. The hardest thing actually was about two years ago in 2015, making the decision to possibly quit MaeMae. That process of thinking about what is this company about, what am I about, what’s different between Megan and MaeMae and is it worth continuing to do MaeMae. Have I lost who Megan is, do I have any control over my life. So the toughest thing was choosing to investigate if I should keep doing it. The beautiful thing was after investigating and going through a time of refinement and exploring other options, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I was supposed to keep doing MaeMae. So then it wasn’t hard to keep doing it because I was sure I was supposed to. What was really relieving about that, I was able to separate myself a lot better from my business and I was able to be comfortable with the idea that maybe I won't do MaeMae forever, right now I have no plans of stopping. But maybe there's something bigger in store for who I am as a creative and it doesn't have to be so closely tied to my own personal business, maybe it will take on a new form in the future.  

How do you begin your creative process? How long does it typically take you from start to finish?

So my journey of coming up with my creative process was a little painful. At the start, especially in school, I just wanted to jump right into a project and I didn't like prepping. I've always hated practice and in school we were always told to make sketches and make plans and then we would present them in class before we would start. I would normally just start the project and then work backwards and make those plans and sketches based off of what I had already made just so I could fulfill the requirement. I didn't understand the beauty and the importance of taking all those steps. A few years into my business where I would hit roadblocks because I didn’t feel inspired but their was a deadline, or during the project I would feel a little lost once I got into it, or another really common thing was creating something I felt like I had already made. For me, my process is so important to be able to get to that end result and to have consistency to fulfill the requirements. I usually start by doing some type of mood board and that comes of course after a conversation with the client. I'm a big believer in finding your visual inspiration before you start the project so you have your own library to go to and you're not, let’s say, working on a beauty project and just looking at beauty inspiration photos because then what you’re going to make is going to be so similar to what everybody else has already done in that space. I like to turn to my own collection of images.

 

I always start with some type of image exploration. I’ve had a lot of friends tell me I spend way too much time on that and why do you invest, sometimes up to 8 hours making this inspiration board, and for me it’s such a whole mind kind of creative spirit process where when I’m selecting the images they may seem, you know they are just two dimensional and they may seem trite but there's something about the way I put them together that I start to in my own head, imagine what I’m going to make. If it’s graphic design I like to understand what font I’m going to use, what my color palette is, what I’m going to do with scale and layout. If it’s for a photoshoot I start to understand what we need to bring onto the shoot, here's what our lighting should be like, who should shoot it based off of the style. There’s something so much more than just that end result of that board. It’s more my thought process and pulling it all together. Then the next step is, you know, starting to prep and there’s a big part of making something beautiful that has a lot of "un-beautiful," unartistic portions of it. My process starts visual and then get’s kind of technical and leaves the visual land to writing down my map of what I’m going to do. What’s cool is once you start making there’s so much freedom because you have a general outline of what you’re going to do. Then you can actually stop using your energy to know where we are going but to just release those creative juices and make interesting things and have fun.

What is your biggest inspiration overall?

That’s such a good question. I don’t know, I feel bummed out to say I don't necessarily have a go-to person or environment or kind of subject or anything like that that is most inspiring to me. I know that I like a variety of things. I like to listen to books and watch films, listen to music. Being in nature is a new thing to me and that's a huge inspiration. I think for me, I do so many different things in the creative world that there's not one specific place I go to. Print has really always been a big inspiration for me. Magazines since I was really young have been very inspiring. There’s something about the mix of photo and type, that I really like. Right now I’m into motion and a dream of mine would be to direct some type of film. I just think there’s something really cool about all the layers in film with sound and the visuals and props and spaces and people.

Why do you create?

I think that it’s just something that’s just built inside of me. And that's why I create. When I went to school I wanted to study art and it seemed to make no sense because I had never done any visual exploration. I had grown up playing violin and swimming but there’s just something that drew me to it. I don’t even know how I knew much about art or that it was something you could study in school, I probably saw it in a movie or something. What was really cool was in my very first class when I was able to change my major to art there was something that I just felt. This is my space, this is where I feel at home. I didn't even understand a lot of the terms that were being used and I felt I didn't know a lot about the world but I felt really comfortable in it. So I just believe I was made to create and so in doing my own business the reason I create is I just feel a drive to it and there's moments where i've been able to create, not specifically for clients, but to make what's in my heart and I think that has attracted a really specific audience and specific client group. There's something they are looking for that I was able to provide. I feel like I’m right in my little sweet spot and doing what I’m supposed to do and filling the need for people who are looking for what I do.

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I didn't even understand a lot of the terms that were being used and I felt I didn't know a lot about the world but I felt really comfortable in it. So I just believe I was made to create and so in doing my own business the reason I create is I just feel a drive to it and there's moments where i've been able to create, not specifically for clients, but to make what's in my heart and I think that has attracted a really specific audience and specific client group. There's something they are looking for that I was able to provide. I feel like I’m right in my little sweet spot and doing what I’m supposed to do and filling the need for people who are looking for what I do.

This is my space, this is where I feel at home. I didn’t even understand a lot of the terms that were being used and I felt I didn’t know a lot about the world but I felt really comfortable in it
— Megan Gonzalez