I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with the lovely Megan Aldred of Darling Be Brave and chatted with her about her creative process and life in St. George, Utah. This self-proclaimed wallflower started her business on a whim and has watched in awe as it has flourished over the last 2 years. Check out our interview below...
What is the biggest artistic breakthrough that you’ve had recently?
I would say that my biggest artistic breakthrough I’ve had recently was that I stumbled into making crochet baskets. I got to a point where I had way too many piles of scrap yarn taking over my house that I didn’t quite know what to do with. Then an idea sparked in my head that making a basket would be a perfect way to put all that spare yarn to use. I shared a picture of what I was up to on Instagram and little did I know where that one idea and that one picture would lead me. I’ve since been requested by sweet customers to make baskets ranging in size from my mini version which is a mere 6 inches tall to huge clothing hamper baskets that were nearly 20 inches tall and 20 inches wide (which is a major arm work out by the way but oh so worth it). I’ve shared a pattern for my baskets on my blog, darlingbebrave.com, and it makes me smile each time I get tagged on Instagram, seeing others make their own versions of my baskets. I love how life always surprises you with fun and exciting opportunities when you least expect it.
Are you self-taught or did you study traditionally?
I grew up with a grandmother who was constantly knitting or crocheting and I remember begging her to teach me when I was really little. She was a sweetheart and taught me how to make a basic chain stitch but since I was so young, that’s about as far as the lessons would go. Around age eleven, I thought it would be the neatest idea ever to crochet my mom a blanket for Christmas and my patient grandma helped guide me to be able to complete the project in time. I’m not sure what happened after that though because I didn't pick up a crochet hook again until my early 20’s when my fingers were itching for a craft and out of the blue, I bought myself a couple skeins of yarn and a set of crochet hooks. I haven’t been able to put them down since! Even though my grams showed me the basics when I was little, I am primarily self-taught through the help of tutorials on the internet and lots of youtube videos. I’ve since taught myself to knit as well and I’m constantly seeking more knowledge, trying to learn new stitches and tricks. (I’ll admit it’s probably an addiction but I’m totally fine with that.)
Tell me about where you are from?
I am from St. George, Utah. It’s a beautiful little city, and I absolutely love it here. It’s so diverse. I don’t know many other places where you can see so many different types of landscapes all at the same time. I can stand in certain places and see sites ranging from lava rock to red desert dirt hills to snowy, forest mountains not too far off in the distance. Houses here have landscapes that vary from desert themes of rock and cactus plants to lush dark green grass and huge green trees. It’s even completely common to see palm trees all over town. I love that I’m just a drive from seeing incredible sights of the red rocks at Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon while at the same time I can go fishing up in the mountains, being surrounded by my favorite Quaking Aspen Trees. Yep Southern Utah is pretty dang awesome.
On a side note, it’s perhaps a little silly that I so love to create winter accessories because I am primarily surrounded by the desert. (I currently even have a few prickly cactus plants in my front yard.) It gets up to 110 degrees here during the summer and it’s an exciting miracle if it happens to snow during the winter (and then the sun melts most of the snow before the day is over). I can’t help but love working with chunky yarn though and there’s something so comforting about creating scarves and beanies year round.
Do you prefer to work quietly or with music? If music, what are you listening to?
I absolutely love to listen to music while I work. Just this year, I discovered an odd love for the singer Neil Diamond. Something about his songs just always makes my heart sing and whenever I’m having a rough day, his music always cheers me up. My husband even bought me one of his records for my birthday and I listen to it all the time. Whenever I’m not listening to Neil Diamond, I have a Gene Austin station playing on Pandora Radio, enjoying golden oldies from some of my favorite artists like The Andrews Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra. I’ll be the first to gladly admit that I have an old soul and music from the 40’s - 60’s just peps me up and gets me excited about the day.
If you could give another design advice for success in running your own business what would it be?
My advice for success in running your own business would be to make sure to pursue your passions and follow your dreams no matter how crazy they seem. Life is too short to not love what you do, and I’m pretty dang sure that running an etsy shop requires a lot of passion because, at least from my experience, if you’re doing things solely to make lots of money, it’s going to be a terrible time and the money might not ever come. I think people can tell when you honestly love what you do and they feed off of that, they get excited with you. I mean I never intended for something like my Instagram account to take off like it has. I started a business account just to share my journey because I like taking pictures and thought it would be fun. I absolutely love that through my pursuance of starting an etsy shop and sharing that journey on Instagram, I have had the opportunity to talk to and to create things for people from all around the world. It still is so humbling and blows my mind that at this very moment, someone in Australia, Paris, or Switzerland could be wearing one of my beanies or using one of my baskets. It gives me serious warm fuzzies. I love my job for that fact. I love the people, I love the experience, and I'm sure one day the money will come because of that.
Something else you might want to know about me..
Even though I try so hard not to be, I can be incredibly shy and tend to be an introverted wallflower. I named my shop Darling Be Brave in order to give myself gentle encouragement to pursue my passions in life, to not be afraid to put myself out there, to be brave enough to be myself no matter how different I feel at times and to share my story with the world. It's my hope that when someone comes across my business, they too feel encouraged to be brave and to pursue whatever makes them happy in life.
Thanks for reading! Check back for more creative interviews soon and drop me a line if you would like to share YOUR inspiring story!