Talking with Monica Lee

Talking with Monica Lee

Episode #174

Today I talk with Monica Lee from

Listen in and get some insight into starting your own business.

Plus, some new books and apps I love.

Remember to: Get your butt in the chair and keep crafting!

Ben Mason/Easy/Never

Heat Color Set and Fire by Mary Hettmansperger

The Book of Doing Everyday Activities to Unlock Your Creativity and Joy by Allison Arden

OMG Draw Something
SnipSnap Coupon

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Interview transcript

Transcription of Interview with Monica Lee

Well, I came across this site. So, I had to contact my next guest, Monica Lee. Her site is called Don’t we all want to be that? Love to be that? Have to be that? So, I’m fortunate today to talk to the founder of that site. Monica Lee, welcome, and thanks for coming on Craft Cast. It’s fun.

Monica: Oh, thank you, thank you. That’s very nice. I’m so glad you found me. That means I’m doing something right.

Alison: Right? Somehow you got out there, I stumbled across you. All over social media. Now fill us all in including me. I read a bit of your background but how you came to be the founder of

Monica: How I came to be a smart creative woman? [Laughter]

Alison: Yes. Right. How did you become to be that? Was there a class you took somewhere?

Monica: You know what, that was I think a moment of spiritual nirvana. God came out of heaven when I thought of that name and then realized that the URL was free because that’s always.

Alison: Oh yeah. Then that’s always meant to be for you then.

Monica: Well because then when I’m contacting people they are instantly complemented [inaudible] creative women. But my background is I’m an illustrator. I was illustrating, I had started a greeting card company years ago all the while, while I was [inaudible]. And I got out of that fairly early on and took a bit of a hiatus and then got back into illustration and did children illustrations and would select book covers and I kind of realized that I was getting a little bit more work in editorial illustration. And then some licensing deals found me. Because I’m the type that likes to show up at conferences and I show up places and so.

Alison: Tell everyone what that means to get a licensing deal in that arena.

Monica: Well, you know it kind of, I was fairly familiar with that. It’s a little hot saying right now but definitely, when I had the greeting cards, there was also a greeting card rep in gift stores. I knew Mary Engelbreit [inaudible] at the time that you can create a piece of art, get it licensed on to different products. Creating pieces of editorial art, I guess pays more. So that’s it. And licensed products you get a royalty, almost you would get a book royalty. Although I have to say it’s a pretty complicated industry. Which is why some of my most popular [] have been trying to explain it to people because your art is being used to sell something whether it’s a shower curtain to bedding to a coffee cup.

Alison: And hopefully you are getting some part of the sale that each [inaudible] makes.

Monica: Yes. A very small percentage. Something, a little percentage of some different areas and sometimes a small one. It depends and of course I started to jump. I’m really going to jump into this [inaudible]. I always like the gift industry and I jumped into in right in 2008. Yay! Good timing Monica. So that wasn’t good planning at all. But you know since I started for Creative Woman it has taken off so much that I sat down and worked myself to do some paintings. Like [inaudible] because I’ve been jump into the technology. I am having so much more fun if you can say that talking to other creative women.

Alison: Oh, you don’t have to tell me. I know. So now you’ve segued a bit more doing your own art, creative it, sowing it cards and you’ve segued into starting a website and what was, did you have an overall mission statement for that or concept?

Monica: Oh, I really did. You know what? It sounds kind of funny, but I really wanted to encourage women to. What I found myself doing Alison was I saw myself; I would show up at some trade show with something I need a friend to find that type of chick that meets everybody on the [] from the airport. Then I would hear a girl’s story and she would say this is how I use my art to make money whether it was Esty or with PDF downloads or. And from then I would meet another girl that was struggling, and I would say well let me tell you about so and so. And I would find myself repeating this, leading them to somebody’s website to do what she does. That is in go copy for business model exactly but here is somebody who is doing it and is successful doing it. And I just thought that what I’ve, I keep repeating this story. My throat is getting sore. But I really wanted everybody to sort of also hold each other up. I don’t. I am a big person of not liking gossip and any type of starkyness and I think that once a woman meets another woman, all that goes away. When you haven’t actually met, then you almost feel like this person might be your competition. But as soon as you meet, it just falls right away because you are on their side.

Alison: So important.

Monica: Oh you [inaudible]. I think, especially for women. I also like the idea of. I had a March party and I know some of the artist and girlfriends that I have are kind of shy and not shy. So, I wanted to just give a comfortable setting for them to bring your business card, bring your girlfriend and share your business card to learn how to do your elevator pitch with confidence, what’s [inaudible], help them what your talents are. You just want to just pass that fear to kind of create that comfortable environment where everybody was able to come to toot their own horn for lack of a better term.

Alison: Which is very important.

Monica: Well yes. nowadays, it always has been. But I think there was probably a time where you could really hide behind your art, stay at home, send it, a postcard off to other directors somewhere. I don’t think that that’s the case anymore.

Alison: And you have reps. I worked with illustrators for years, being art directors of magazines and you just work with the reps. Occasionally you got to talk to the artist, but it was pretty rare.

Monica: Yes, I don’t think that’s the atmosphere anymore.

Alison: Yes. I don’t think so.

Monica: When you have a rep, the rep expects you to hold your own. And so, it gets to be really important to find your own voice whether it’s online you know. I actually interviewed a gal who is a copywriter, and she helps people discover their own online voice. It’s really interesting. It’s kind of the idea behind Smart Creative Women. it’s not just to bring on two-dimensional artist. There are two jewelry makers coming up and this copywriter because I think she is a creative woman I really believe in broadening the definition of what a creative woman is.

Alison: Oh, you are preaching to the choir here. Believe me, so.

Monica: Oh good.

Alison: I mean I believe that you talk to someone who is in touch with their creativity, I don’t care what medium you are working in. You can gain some knowledge from them and just incorporate it into your own.

Monica: Yes. And then I was [inaudible] with somebody the other day and I said, [inaudible] children navigated the world are the female, you are trying to do anything that is outside of what other people expect of you. You are tapping into some creativity. You know. And I knew I love. Some of these young women really don’t have any real preconceived conceptions of what they should be doing.

Alison: Yes. I agree with you.

Monica: So, I think some of them, that younger woman that have a lot to offer, someone who may be stuck in her own little circle. And not a bad idea too is to bring on sort of that friend that have been around and done it and then also to bring some exciting up and comers. I want to highlight up and comers too.

Alison: Well, my experience has shown that up and comers are the kind that also, they’ve already embraced the new world of technology and social media in a way that someone older just because it was not how they started. They just don’t come from that place. So right there, there’s a lot to learn from. You know, it’s just a whole different.

Monica: Yes. You [inaudible] carefully. The older gals need to learn it. You have to carve it out or you are going to hire it out because it’s very hard to exist without it. But you know even these younger girls not just with the new technology. I was at a conference and I didn’t even have the website up yet. But I was walking around with, oh I did. Maybe I had a landing page or my other site Monica Lee studios had Smart Creative Women. But I had a business card, and I was talking it up and I had a young gal and she’s on the site now. Lexi from [inaudible] and design and she’s out of Vancouver. And she marched right up to me and said I would really like to do an interview. And I was really surprised and a little taken back. Because I thought, wow, there’s not even one up yet. How do you know that I’m not completely crazy? But she, once I [inaudible] with her, talking to her, I said good for you that you had the gumption and the hustle to do that.

Alison: Absolutely. And there is nothing to lose.

Monica: Yes. I actually just started today. I just tweeted it because. I kind of have a love-hate relationship with Twitter but I’m realizing that that’s where a lot of, I have to say, a lot of creative women hang out on Twitter.

Alison: Well, you know why? Because in my opinion. Listen. Between you and me and whoever is listening, I was doing Twitter the week it started just because I’m a techno freako. But now it’s the go-to place. Yes, there is lots for Facebook, for the other social media, Pinterest huge. But Twitter gives you the immediate, the total immediate and you can really connect with other people immediately. Like last night, I’m going to tell you, I was watching that show, Celebrity Apprentice, and what I was watching, even more, was the Twitter feed from all the people who were the stars on there. Clay Aiken, Lisa Lampanelli. What they were saying because it’s immediate so it’s a different feel and a connection with people than other things.

Monica: It’s the same way I see apps. It is. I actually use Twitter as I’m on my way to conferences and I pick that up. And that’s how, like I’ve met people in airports.

Alison: Right. Exactly. Exactly.

Monica: And some of them, I’ve kept around [inaudible] anybody is going when I have lunch.

Alison: Yes. Exactly. It’s how I find my child too. Just you know.

Monica: Oh really, no. [Laughter]. My son [Inaudible] he refuses to do Facebook which I kind of have to admire him for. And you kind of have to pick your poison. I’ve been a blogger for a really long time. And I’ve always liked it because it was visual. And being a visual person, I really started watching vlogs because there were pretty places to go. I’m doing work and I need a visual break. And you know, I understand that that’s what Pinterest has to offer but that’s almost like visual overload for me. And then since I’m a talker, I like a vlog that has some of the author’s input.

Alison: Well, you see, that’s what great is there’s is so many things because you’re right. If you are visual and a scrapbooker, Pinterest is fabulous. Anyone who is not familiar yet, If you want to be a photo in a little text you can be doing Tumblr. I mean it’s great because no matter what your voice is, your personal voice, you can find a way to get it out there.

Monica: Yes.

Alison: And that’s just a really good thing.

Monica: Watch us copulate girls, watch us copulate.

Alison: Well, you know what, that will always be tumbling out. I mean it always has to go through and tumble out again, but it does work its way finally to the top. Like how that will all work. It’s just a problem with the internet. It’s the good, bad, and the ugly. But now let’s talk more about, what do you find is the beginning point for people, starting a business? Is the excitement? What is the biggest exciting part of it? is it the actual thing they are making or wanting to sell? It’s the wanting to connect? Is there something or is it all over the place? What’s the first?

Monica: Well, I kind of think people are kind of all over the map. You know. I think their excitement that they get to do it kind of on their own terms. I think there are so many women that want to work from home, want to be available for their children. I was a flight attendant and I’ve had to show up. My job they just didn’t go without me. It was one of those things, so I think women like the idea of being in control of their own destiny. And it sounds big, but you are when you are doing something on your own, you are kind of in control. I also like [inaudible] probably unionized employee and I knew when my next raise was coming, and I wasn’t even in control of it. We lost [inaudible] with this contract. I am very much driven by the possibility of something.

What people are saying

  • Your classes are just amazing and I have learned sooo much from Cindy Pope’s classes on the Silhouette machines. She breaks it down so any beginner can learn. I didn’t take my Curio out of the box for a year until I watched her class. Now I’m addicted

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