Our interview series is all about powerhouse women and men who inspire us through their work, creativity, business and passion. At Papier hq we are all about supporting and uplifting one another. These amazing individuals are here to share some of their expertise. Introducing Megan Hutchison...
This week for our interview series we had the privilege of sitting down with the gorgeous Megan Hutchison. Megan created the beautiful, leading New Zealand wedding blog Forget Me Not Journals (formerly 'She Said Yes') and shortly after designed the best wedding planner book, the little white book (we used it to plan our wedding). She has since gone on to create a further beautiful series of journals for couples and families including made with love pregnancy journal, and gorgeous linen baby books including 'to my son', 'to my daughter' and grandparents journals too.
We caught up with Megan to talk about the journey of She Said Yes and Forget Me Not Journals, the realities of being a businesswoman and the joy of motherhood.
1. What are some of the highlights and challenges of running your own business?
I used to think that running my own business came by accident, but now that I look back, I’m sure it was my subconscious forcing me to create what I really needed, which was the flexibility to slow down, and take a break when necessary.
I found that the demands of being a lawyer (both physically, doing long hours, and mentally, living with a constant level of high stress) were taking a real toll on my well-being. Like Gabby, my husband is a pilot, and I also found it hard to see us having a family with both of us in such tiring and inflexible jobs.
The highlights are the feedback. My business is built the two most memorable and important journeys in most couples' lives - getting married, and starting a family. To hear from my customers how either my advice or my wedding planner has genuinely helped them is worth more than anything. The biggest challenge is doing it on my own. I miss my colleagues - being able to take half an hour to head out for coffee and mentally unload when you’re having a hard day. I think that’s probably one of the reasons my online community is so important to me - you’ll often find me having a somewhat random mental unload (or rant) online. Oh, and now I’m a Mum to 2 under 2, one being a 6 week old - that’s makes it especially challenging to run a business too!
2. What inspired you to start She Said Yes?
It was what I needed at the time! I didn’t feel that our journey was particularly catered to by the big wedding magazines, and I felt pressured by them to have all the "bells and whistles" for our wedding which weren’t important to us. I started a blog about this, writing wedding planning advice with a determination to never make any couple feel like I was trying to persuade them to spend more money, book more vendors or follow more traditions that didn’t speak to them.
Shortly after our wedding, I created the wedding planner book which became the core of the business, and since then, the business has essentially just grown with our lives - I started writing the wedding anniversary diary on our first anniversary, and created the pregnancy journal during my first trimester!
3. What does a typical workday look like for you?
I know everyone says this, but with a newborn, a toddler, and a husband doing shift work, every day is very different - they all start with coffee though! We spend most mornings doing ‘fun’ things with our toddler: walking to the beach, heading to a playground, a cafe, the Museum or other activity, and then I cram in as much work as I possibly can during his afternoon nap. Orders come first, followed by emails and admin, and then I usually have a chat on social media, or upload videos of what we did earlier that day. I have a few international stockists, and I’m always trying to grow those, or work on new projects, such as collaborations with other businesses, or I write an article if something has inspired me!
Right now I’m getting a lot less done than usual work-wise, but the newborn time is so special and not something I want to regret passing me by while I worked.
4. How would you describe your personal style in your home?
I love colour and texture! Though sometimes I wish my home was more neutral, minimalist (and tidy!) for the ‘gram, I actually love all the colour we have throughout our house - a pink wall in the bedroom, a huge blue wall downstairs, and of course, lots of colourful prints. For the next few years at least, our home is also going to be full of colourful children’s toys, and our colourful, eclectic style embraces that.
Over the last few years (during both of my pregnancies, which I don’t recommend!) we renovated our kitchen and bathrooms, and though we went with mostly white and marble as a base, I style them with colourful homewares. I also love what we’ve done with gold accents in our kitchen, and can’t wait to have Papier Hq print some photos for the main wall.
5. Where do you go for style inspiration?
I’ve always been a Pinterest user, and if I’m looking to renovate or style a new space, I’ll head there to see different colours, tiles and painting combinations. I’ve also seen some incredible instagram reels on home-styling though, and see huge space for growth there.
6. Your walls feature our custom framed photos and a few pieces of our art. Could you please tell us your favourite Papier hq pieces?
Absolutely! We have a Papier hq feature wall which encompasses art we’ve picked up around the world, and our fav Papier hq pieces. We had a lot of colour already, but the blue and pink tones seen in the Pink Cacti, Cali Print and Palm Trees tie in perfectly. We don’t have the Basketball print in our home (yet) but that’s one of my favourites of your new art.
7. What advice would you give to a bride to be as their big day gets closer?
Remember what your wedding priorities were to begin with, and try not to be tempted to stray from those as you get wrapped up in the excitement and anticipation of what’s to come. After such a long time planning, towards the end of the ‘countdown’ it’s common to second-guess your choices and go overboard, blowing out your wedding budget.
It’s so easy to compare your own wedding to those you see on social media, and feel like yours may be ‘less than’ if you don’t have X, Y and Z. As with everything else, it’s important to remember that you’re looking at someone else’s highlight reel, and their priorities won’t be the same as yours. Also, what lasts for a few days on an instagram feed will take a lot longer to pay off, I’d never recommend anyone start their marriage with unnecessary debt.
8. Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs?
Yes! I could talk about this for days and days, but I would say “Start now” and “Done is better than perfect”. Building a business is constant - you’ll never be “finished” and it may never be “perfect”, but you’ll never regret starting sooner. I’m glad I started when I did, because now, 6 years on, I’ve got a great foundation upon which to continue to build on.
I’ve only created three journals, there’s so much more I’d like to get done, so many other projects, so much more I could write, post, say, create and do, but at least I’ve made a start. As much as I would never wish away the years of my children being tiny, I do look forward to one day when I may finally have the time to do more. However, if I waited until I had ‘enough time’, I wouldn’t have anything.
Surround yourself with people who inspire you, make friends with other entrepreneurs - in the same field, and who do completely different things. I find that I’m most inspired after talking to other like-minded people, and as I said above, I do miss my colleagues, so being able to talk to others with a similar outlook is massively valuable.
Finally, record your journey! Whether you just take lots of photos, keep a journal or share your progress on social media, you can remind yourself of how far you’ve come by looking back on where you started.