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From Freelancer to Founder

From Freelancer to Founder

My journey began at the University of Bristol, where I pursued a degree in Illustration with Animation. Armed with creativity and ambition, I was eager to dive into the creative industry upon graduation. However, reality had other plans, and I struggled to find work in my field. Feeling lost and uncertain, I returned home for a few months to regroup and figure out my next steps.

On a whim, I decided to move to London, hoping that the city’s vibrant job market would offer better opportunities. Initially, I found myself in a series of unfulfilling jobs, but my perseverance paid off when a friend mentioned a freelance opportunity at Moonpig, the card company. The job was supposed to last only a week, but my enthusiasm and hard work turned that week into two, then three, and eventually, a permanent position opened up. I was in the right place at the right time, but I also made sure I was ready to seize the opportunity when it came.

Working at Moonpig for four years was a fantastic learning experience. I climbed the design ladder, honed my skills, and appreciated the supportive environment. Concurrently, I started freelancing for a startup that designed beautiful party ware. The company grew rapidly, and I was soon offered the role of lead designer. Leading a team and driving creative projects was thrilling, but it also demanded more hours and shifted my work-life balance.

After four years, feeling the need for change and a break from the intense workload, I decided to quit my job. Without a clear plan, I sought some headspace to recharge and contemplate my next venture. In the spare room of my home, which became my makeshift office, I explored various creative outlets, including illustrating children's books, designing greeting cards, and setting up an Etsy shop with a few items.

Just a few months into this new chapter, the pandemic struck. The world shut down, and design jobs dwindled. The uncertainty was daunting, but it also made my decision feel more definite—I had to make my venture work. To my surprise, some items on my Etsy shop started to sell. Leveraging my experience in product and greeting card design, I focused on growing my Etsy presence. Sales and five star reviews began to pour in, and soon, my husband was roped into helping me pack orders in the evenings.

This humble Etsy shop evolved into Making Meadows, a beautiful premium stationery company specializing in eco-friendly products and hand-painted designs. No longer confined to my spare room, I moved into a studio space that backs onto a tranquil river. As the company grew, so did the size of our printers—now, we print everything in-house with professional equipment.

Today, Making Meadows has a dedicated team that helps pack orders, allowing me to focus on what I love—creating and designing. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come, from those uncertain days to running a successful business. I’m excited to see what the next chapter holds for Making Meadows, and I’m grateful for every step of this incredible journey.

If I have learned anything from these past experience, it’s that every step you take in life teaches you something valuable. Each job, each challenge, and each moment of uncertainty offers tiny pieces of information and skills that contribute to who you become. These experiences shape you, guide you, and help you grow, ultimately leading you to where you are meant to be.

From my time at Moonpig to leading a design team at a rapidly growing startup, and finally taking the leap to start Making Meadows, each experience has been a building block. I've learned that persistence, hard work, and a willingness to learn and adapt are key to overcoming obstacles and achieving success.

Making Meadows is a culmination of all these lessons. It’s a testament to the power of learning from every experience and using that knowledge to create something meaningful and impactful. As I look to the future, I carry these lessons with me, confident that they will continue to guide me and Making Meadows to new heights.

Samantha, Founder of Making Meadows x