Megan Martinez on Her Emerging Brand MegYaLook and Healing Through Art

    July 15 2020

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    “After college, I took on corporate jobs because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. I worked for agencies, and I was just miserable photoshopping tons of billboards. Then, I freelanced for a magazine publishing company. I remember thinking, “This isn’t so bad; maybe I can do this work.” Like many creatives who hope to find balance meshing their artistic purpose with their means of income, Meg’s journey hadn’t quite found its calm. “After the publishing company, I freelanced for a hospital, creating brochures and pamphlets. That’s when I knew this work was not for me; I can’t do this anymore.”

    No matter the pitfalls of corporate, creative work, one thing remained constant: Meg was extremely talented and people took notice. In fact, while working a far from soul-sucking job at Anthropologie, the Austin-native began fielding offers for more engaging freelance opportunities that helped frame the earliest moments of her entrepreneurial journey. 

    “Working at Anthropologie allowed me to freelance and take jobs I was really excited about. I didn’t have to worry about paying my bills because I had a full-time gig. I was able to freelance responsibly and start filtering out the projects that didn’t speak to me. I think that passion translates, and it shows in your work.”

    “A photographer reached out to me and asked me to create wedding stationery for a portfolio piece. That’s when I realized I could literally do anything! Design didn’t have to be so serious and cold. It didn’t have to go against my personality.” 

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    An unrivaled love for graphic design that played out in stores while shopping with her mom as a kid began to take form in Meg’s adult life. She took to sketching portraits of her friend’s pets as a fun project. This distilling, stress-free artistic retreat caused a sea change, illuminating the lifelong connection to Meg’s work and how that work helped her manage her feelings. She started to see how the process of creation centered her thoughts and emotions. It became as clear as the West Palm Beach sky where she spent her formidable years that, for as long as she could remember, her feelings were always connected to her work, which had created space for her to heal.

     

    “I have always been a very sensitive person, always. Sometimes that made me feel like I was just this very sensitive person and that nobody else was. So taking the time to draw would soothe and calm me.”

    MegYaLook, built on honesty, emotion, happiness, and crowd-sourced affirmations from her sizable social media following, creates thoughtful portraits, pins stamped with penetrating captions, and more. The brand not only rejuvenates her spirit but lifts others who may have trouble being vulnerable or properly feeling their feelings.

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    “If Instagram weren’t around, MegYaLook wouldn’t be around. It’s my community who’s been my biggest supporters, cheerleaders, and motivators. They help me check in with myself and keep me accountable. When you’re able to be vulnerable, it creates space for others to open up and be vulnerable with you. That’s when the good stuff comes out.”

    Because such a large majority of Meg’s audience both finds community and products on Instagram, Meg has found PLANOLY’s new digital storefront, sellit, immediately beneficial. “Selling my products online has been one of the most daunting things to figure out as a small business owner. Finding a way to get [my products] to my audience was overwhelming. Which is why I put making my website on the backburner." 

    “But after I set up sellit, I started making sales that same day! I was like, is this even real? Is it that easy? I’ve needed sellit this whole time because it is so simple. Just with the click of a button, my customers are already there and checking out.”

    Meg has also found that partnering sellit with the StoriesEdit design app has also paid dividends. “I noticed I was getting a lot more eyes on my Instagram Story than my grid. So I knew I needed to keep posting to my Story. I really didn’t have enough time to design a Story myself, so I started using StoriesEdit, which took me five minutes to create a beautiful design, especially with all the new template collections. Once I started using that, I saw more engagement, and more people inclined to purchase from me.”

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    Throughout college and her move back to her birthplace of Austin, Meg and her mother remained close while in different states. Like many daughters who so vehemently depend on that relationship for support and understanding, Meg’s mother was her best friend – who lovingly championed her artistic gifts dating back to the moments when she was the most sensitive of her three kids. So when she lost her mother due to an unfortunate accident, the emotional weight was almost too much for Meg to shoulder. 

    “Losing my mom made me feel so isolated and alone. I felt like I didn’t have anyone to turn to, and I didn’t want to burden my close friends or boyfriend with it. This loneliness ultimately led to me to just sit with my emotions.” Stewing in emotional hurt invariably worsens the blow. So, as Meg had done her entire life when needing to heal, she sought refuge in her art. And what she found was a budding sense of ingenuity. 

    “One day, I just started illustrating all the emotions that came to the surface while I was grieving the loss of my mom. Just illustrating something like my grocery tote bag and kind of going through the movement of drawing [the graphics], I was able to process things like an unfulfilled grocery list of my mom’s.”

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    Meg’s mom found food to be her medicine. It was her wholehearted remedy; a cause she shared with her daughter when they would shop together. Meg held onto her mom’s final grocery list in her wallet, often looking to it for strength and to lay eyes on her mom’s very distinct handwriting. And eventually, used that final grocery list to create a tote bag filled with vibrant graphics of the food her mom intended to shop.

    “By making the tote, I wanted someone else to enjoy having this fun grocery bag for its color pairings, or its illustration, or for whatever that totes mean to them, even though that’s not how I felt while drawing it. There are two very different perspectives, but both are beautiful.”

    Perseverance and ingenuity could very accurately describe Meg and her brand. But ultimately, there are no limits to how far MegYaLook can soar, or how she can help others cultivate healthy ways of expressing vulnerability through her creations.

    “I would love to expand into fashion with clothing production, creating patterns that can then turn into funky shirts and stuff like that like what I would wear. Also, I’m excited to feel my confidence and self-expression grow. I hope to encourage others to find their voices as well.”

     
    Megan Martinez 
    Instagram: @MegYaLook 
     
     
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    Learn more about Darren Griffin, on PLANOLY

    Darren Griffin

    Darren Griffin was a contributing Senior Writer at PLANOLY. His expertise includes culture, fashion, and social media marketing.

    More by Darren Griffin

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