Hi beautiful people! Recently I had the opportunity to interview Amelia from Mystic Imprints. Think : Majestic. Magical. Rad. Her brand is a a total vibe! She’s not only an artist but also an entrepreneur and total boss babe! Her brand is intentional and good for the planet! I was SO inspired by her responses and everything she had to share with us! If you’ve been thinking of starting your own brand, this is the perfect interview to give you some motivation and direction!
Tell us a little about yourself:
My name is Amelia and I run my own art and upcycled clothing business called Mystic Imprints! I am from New Jersey and I have recently graduated college with a degree in marine biology. Although I have always had an interest in science, I have also done art and other creative things on the side. My favorite form of art is printmaking, where I carve out my own stamps and print them onto paper and fabric. Through studying marine biology, I have gained a greater appreciation for the environment and our need to protect this planet. I have always wanted to combine my two interests of preserving the environment and making art, and with Mystic Imprints I am able to do that by printing my art onto recycled clothing and fabric. Besides running my own business, I work for the state of New Jersey’s Marine Fisheries as well as teach surfing and skateboarding lessons! In my free time I LOVE hiking, surfing, skateboarding, and anything else that connects me with myself, friends and nature!
Tell us a little about Mystic Imprints. How did it start?
Mystic Imprints is a sustainable printmaking business and clothing brand that uses only non-toxic and ecofriendly ink to print on recycled fabric and upcycled clothing! I started this brand in May of 2017. I had always done printmaking on paper ever since I learned it in art class when I was about 13, but I didn’t get the idea to print on things other than paper until a few years later. It all started when I went to a thrift shop and picked up a few used pillowcases. I took them home and tie-dyed them right away and then decided to print some of my succulent designs onto them. My friends and family thought they were so cute and suggested I try selling them and other things like that on Etsy (I wasn’t yet Mystic Imprints). I then started making tie-dye shirts with my prints on them for friends, and through their support I gained the funds and confidence to start my own real business selling on Etsy and vending at local events! The most exciting step for my business was definitely having my own business cards made, making me feel “official”.
How did you come up with that brand name and what does it mean to you?
I came up with the name Mystic Imprints because I’ve personally always loved the word “mystic”. I love the mystery and whimsical feeling it holds. I feel as though nature is mystical as well as the depths of the ocean and I want to carry the feelings of those with me and my brand. I just think that it’s a beautiful word and I love how it sounds with the word “imprints”. Together I thought they’d roll off the tongue well! I also chose the word imprints because my business is primarily printmaking, so I wanted people to know that prints are the focus. Most of my prints are reminiscent of nature with a hint of spirituality and self, so I want them to make a lasting and meaningful imprint on the people that see and wear them. Printmaking itself is mystical to me because each and every print comes out looking different and unique in its own way. It’s an old-fashioned way of reproducing images and I’d love to keep its spirit alive!
What is the mission behind your brand? How does it incorporate sustainable fashion practices?
The mission behind Mystic Imprints is to make as little of an impact on the planet as possible, while still sharing my art and being a functioning clothing brand. As I mentioned before, the inks I use to print are water-based and ecofriendly. All of the clothing items and fabric I print on are thrifted so that I can reuse clothing and reduce the number of textiles that are entering landfills every year. From studying marine biology, I have learned that most of the microplastics entering the ocean come from brand new clothing being washed and expelling synthetic fibers into waterways and ultimately the ocean. Small animals eat these plastic fibers and die from complications. By wearing and washing previously owned clothing, less of these plastic fibers are being put into the ocean! Also, through shipping most of my items on Etsy, 100% of carbon emissions from shipping are off-set by Etsy investing in the protection of forests that improve air quality and absorb carbon, sponsoring wind and solar farms that generate clean energy and replace fossil fuels, and developing greener methods for producing auto parts. I have also just released a new print that is a wave, where I donate 20% of the profit to Plastic Oceans, which aids in ocean plastic cleanups, water fountain installations to reduce single-use plastic and public outreach operations!
What does ‘living your passion’ mean to you?
To me, “living your passion” means to live in a way where you embody your interests and inner glow, fulfil your dreams, have no regrets and use this way of life to spread joy and happiness to yourself AND others! “Living your passions” has a very light and airy tone to me, where everything is bright and joyful because it’s exactly what you want to be doing with your life. Life is short, so it might as well be spent doing something you love!
When/ if you have creative blocks, what do you do to get inspired again?
When I have a creative block, I try to not push myself too hard to create something new because then it will be something that I’m not too passionate about creating. I kind of just ride with it and accept it, because I know that when the time it right, great new ideas come to me out of nowhere at the most random times. When I have a creative block, I try to just go outside and take a walk, talk with friends or just take a plain mental break from doing business things and focus on other areas of my life I love. Honestly, scrolling through Instagram helps sometimes because I get inspired by other people and brands creating new things! A few days ago, I actually had a creative block and I was looking through my favorite Instagrammer’s page and saw a picture of her skateboarding. I loved the way her body was positioned on the board, so it inspired me to make a little print of a girl skateboarding similar to the position she was standing in.
What did it feel like when you first started sharing your art with the world? Did any type of fear or resistance come up, and how did you/ do you overcome it?
I started out very self-conscious. I made my first Instagram page for Mystic Imprints and I was nervous to start following people I knew because I was scared and embarrassed they’d see my work and think it was silly. I started out only following my friends, which still made me nervous, and then built up the confidence to start following strangers and other brands. I still get a little self-conscious of who may be watching me and what they are thinking, whether it’s in person while vending or on Instagram or Etsy. However, I overcome these feelings by reminding myself of how far I’ve come. I remind myself of all the hard work I have put in to build this business, all of the items I’ve made and all of the kind and supportive people I’ve met to keep me going with this business!
When it comes to time management for work, what’s something you do that helps keep you on track?
I have learned over the past year that owning your own business is a blessing and curse by you being able to control the amount of time you put into it. It’s great that I can work on it and think about creating things whenever I want to, but I also sometimes obsess over it and spend too much time working on it to the point that I don’t have enough time to hang out with friends, eat, sleep or focus on other priorities in my life. I have gotten better with prioritizing my time and my thoughts and I think that part of it is knowing when to put things down, get up and focus on something else. A lot of my work is done on my phone and laptop with advertising, selling on Etsy, creating Instagram posts and editing pictures for listings. I limit the time I spend on my phone each day and shut my laptop when I reach a certain time limit and remind myself that everything doesn’t have to be done in one day!
Holding yourself accountable is important to get our creative projects moving forward. How do you hold yourself accountable to reach your goals?
I think that with starting your own business or creative project and being your own boss, you have to hold yourself accountable in time management, spending and originality in order to make your project happen in the time frame you want it to, become profitable and make it your own without plagiarizing anyone else’s businesses or ideas. You are your own boss in big projects like this, so you really have to keep yourself in check. Especially in the art world where there is sometimes a thin line between being inspired by someone and copying someone, we have to hold ourselves accountable and not just take someone else’s idea and make it our own. It can be tempting but, in the end, it’s really selfish and hurts the original creators. I try to hold myself accountable at all times in order to make my art and business flourish without hurting anyone else’s.
We all experience failures, big and small at some point. What have you learned from failure?
I think that it is really important to pay attention to what fails and what succeeds in business and not get too caught up in the emotional side of it, as hard as it sounds! I’ve learned that I can’t be perfect and please everyone, so if I do have a big failure I try and see what exactly went wrong and how I can improve for next time. Business is tricky in that some days people are really going to like what you have going on, and other days they’ll turn their cheek without explanation. Some days I’ll be ecstatic with how well I am doing, and others I’ll get bummed that something didn’t go the way that I expected it to. I’ve found that it’s important to just accept these feelings and not get so caught up in them, whether they’re positive or negative.
I always talk about investment with creative entrepreneurs, because at the end of the day we are all investing something whether that is money, time or energy. What is an investment you made with your brand and how did it pay off?
When I first started out, I would put hours upon hours of time and energy into making things every day. I always like to remind myself of how many items I have in my inventory and how much I have sold so far. I have shown myself that the time and energy I have spent in the beginning (and still now) has equated to physical things that are all handmade by me. It makes me feel like my time was not wasted and I feel proud that I can produce so much on my own!
And of course, we’d love to know what advice you have to give other girls who’d want to create their own clothing brand?
I would say to definitely find your vibe that you want your brand to be and make it completely and unapologetically YOU! You’re going to want to stick out from all of the other clothing brands that exist. Find a method, a technique, a style, or a mission that sets you apart from the rest and makes people think “wow, that’s really unique!” Your brand represents you, so you might as well make it something that you really feel embodies you and not just based on a fad that will fade out in a few years. When it comes to launching it and starting up an Instagram page and advertising, be relentless and not afraid to really put yourself out there! I find that its really fun and helpful to connect with other local businesses, that way you can promote each other, get advice on marketing and even do collaborations to get each other’s followings interested in what you’re doing! Owning a business/clothing brand has its ups and downs, but in the end its very exciting and extremely rewarding.
Use code Radiating15 for 15% off anything in my Etsy shop!
Where can people find your online store or connect with you ?
My Instagram: @Mystic_Imprints