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Rising Stars: Meet Megan Schmitz

Today we’d like to introduce you to Megan Schmitz. 

Hi Megan, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Praxis Design Studio has been in the works for 13 years and has evolved just as much as I have. I started the business as part of my senior project at Minneapolis College of Art & Design with a focus on event stationery design. It continued as a side hustle with a fluctuating workload for almost a decade as I grew my career as an agency Graphic Designer & Creative Director working on all types of brand collateral and advertising. Over the years my daytime job became more demanding and I had little to no time or energy to devote to taking on clients so I started moving into product design and doing pop-up shows. My products were mostly stationery items (greeting cards, gift tags, prints) and hand-painted pieces filled with puns and quirky illustrations. Seeing people interact with my items is always a huge joy and I love product design because it’s all about my own personal aesthetic and has become a way for me to create things on my own time and without pressure. Bonus points that other people love them too! 

After over a decade in the commercial advertising industry, I finally was able to step out and pursue my passion of being self-employed full-time in October 2019. I had little to no idea what I was doing being my own boss but this was my shot and gosh darn it I was going to make it work! Product development was my primary focus when I launched solo, and it was the holidays so that seemed like the perfect time to gain a little bit of momentum heading into the new year. When the pandemic hit, I really had some big doubts if I made the right decision but there was no going back because I already had a taste of what it was like to be self-employed and I have never been happier. 

I took on a few branding projects for some fellow small businesses, something I had largely steered away from because I needed a break from the type of work, I was previously doing at my corporate job. The more opportunities I got to work with fellow small business owners, the more branding and website work became fun to me again, and the more clients started coming to me for it. It was like a relief that I had rediscovered my passion and simultaneously found my niche of people – cue the confetti drop and dance party for that! 

Today I’m largely focused on brand design, websites, and product development for small businesses. My passion is working with other passionate people and helping to propel their business forward through strategically positive designs and systems. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
My corporate job, while great while it lasted, began to take its toll on me both physically and mentally after over a decade in high-pressure, high-performance environments. Undiagnosed depression kept me in a mental ditch for many years and in retrospect can now see how low and unhappy I actually was. I’m beyond lucky to have such an amazing and supportive husband who agreed, just 1 month before we got married too, that the best path for me was to remove myself from that situation. We weren’t really financially prepared for that to happen but he took a leap of faith with me that we’d just figure it out and so far, we have. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Praxis Design Studio was founded on the simple but impactful belief that great design can elevate ideas to make them even more powerful, accessible, and valuable. We work with small businesses to bring their passions to life with cleverly informed aesthetics, unexpected details, and a penchant for problem-solving. Our signature brand of sunshine is shared with passionate brands who want to share their flavor of expertise and positivity with the world. 

Brand design, website development, and product design are the main areas Praxis Design Studio focuses on. I like to say that I ‘meet my clients where they’re at’ because every business is different, so their needs vary and we’re happy to do as much or as little as they need. All of the work we do revolves around the idea of being confidently cohesive, meaning that consistency is key when you’re building a brand so clients can use their collateral out into the world (no matter if they stay with PDS or take a DIY method) feeling sure that their message is coming across loud and clear. 

My background in advertising design and media has provided me with a set of tools that allows me to work on a wide range of print-related projects not just in design but in construction and manufacturing. Having up-close experience with larger retail and service firms have also provided me with an in-depth perspective on what industry brands can expect to run into during growth spurts and we can work together to make sure that what we’re doing now will be sustainable and/or help launch them to that next level. 

I’m most proud of the variety of clients I’ve had the opportunity to serve. My goal for every project is for it to be a true reflection of the people/brand/product that it represents and that it doesn’t just look great but that it functions – putting the FUN in functional if you will. I think I sometimes get more excited than my clients do when we’re talking about a project because we can both see the range of possibilities and ideas ahead of them and it’s a true honor to be a part of their journey to their dreams. 

I’d say I’m best known for colorful, personality-filled designs, a quirky personality, and excessive love of cats and puns. My personal design style is most reflective in the products in my shop and I wouldn’t mind someday being as synonymous with sticker art as Lisa Frank is 🙂 

Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
My heart is made of pipe cleaners, hot glue, sequins, and puff paint! A crafter from the time I could hold a glue stick, there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t draw on, glue together, paint, or make up a story for. Sometimes I would fake being sick to not only miss school but so I could stay with my grandma all day and watch Martha Stewart, Bob Ross, and ‘help’ her on her sewing projects. I come from a family of tradespeople so being able to work and create something with your hands was a high-value skill. My parents instilled a strong work ethic in me from an early age which I feel has been integral in my success as an entrepreneur. 

Comic strips and animated movies were life and my dream was to be an animator at Disney Studios. I was a super shy, introverted child so drawing and creating was the way I expressed myself and became a coping mechanism to help me get through hard times. Sports were never my thing and I always wished there was like a creative track and field day at school so us non-athletic kids could show off our skills. I couldn’t run a mile in any decent amount of time but I could draw a cute sea monster hanging out in a bathrobe – is there an award ribbon for that!? 

My first year of college I traded in my dream of being an Animator and went to school for Illustration. There I was introduced to my first Graphic Design class and something just clicked. It was like the perfect marriage of creativity and functionality and I was hooked! 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Sarajane Herrmann Photography

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