A Cup of Tea with…Megan Claire!

Hello thortful friends and welcome to our brand new weekly feature, ‘A cup of tea with…’!
Each week we’re going to be speaking to one of our talented creators about their career, inspirations, motivations and tips on how to succeed in the business.
Best of all, they’ll be taking over our Instagram account (@thortful) at the weekend to give you a first-hand look at what they’re working on.
Our first creator we’re sitting down with (cuppa included!) is Megan Claire, and we’re thrilled to have her on board. Want to know her tips and tricks? Of course you do, so read on to find out more…
Megan Claire and her mum, Gill who also works full-time with Megan. 
When did you realise you had a talent for designing?
As a child, I’d always been creative, having made Christmas cards for family every year as a tradition. Then as a teenager, I taught myself everything I needed to know about designing in Photoshop and Illustrator.
Have your skills been self-taught or did you study at university to grow your talent?
As much as I wanted to, I never studied art at school due to the subjects on offer (I also loved sport and we could only choose one or the other). I then actually went on to study English Language and Literature at university and continued to develop my design skills in my spare time, completely self-taught.
Having decided graphic design was what I wanted to do, I then did a three-year, part-time Graphic Design HND evening course at a local college whilst still working full time in retail. I got my first job as a graphic designer within the first year of the HND, and continued my studies part time whilst working as a full time graphic designer in the day.
I then left this job after two years to start my own business, which has now been going strong for four years!
Is there a certain subject you enjoy designing more than others? 
I enjoy designing anything contemporary using colour, patterns and words, as the majority of my designs are typography-based rather than detailed and illustrative. My style is simple and clean – ‘less is more’.
What’s the best design tip you ever received?
Give it 24 hours. When a design just isn’t working, get up and do something else or work on something totally different. Come back in the morning and open the document with fresh eyes – I can usually see straightaway what needs changing and improving.
Speaking of tips, if you had to give any advice to any aspiring designers, what would you tell them?
Just do what comes naturally. I’ve made the mistake before of designing something that I knew wasn’t truly ‘me’, and it was a flop. This confirmed that you have to just stick to what you know and go with your gut.
Where do you seek inspiration?
As my designs are contemporary, I look to see what is becoming popular in pattern and colour. I find inspiration from fashion magazines and the catwalk, but also adverts and just about anything that has an interesting form of typography on it! I also look for inspiration through ideas for weddings, fashion and food on Pinterest.
What do you do for down time to relax away from work?
I have a 13-week-old cockapoo puppy who keeps me on my toes, so there’s not much relaxation at the moment!!  She comes to the studio everyday too which is great. When I’m not trying to get a pair of shoes off the puppy, you’ll find me on the hockey pitch every weekend or watching the latest TV series that’s taken over my life!
What’s your favourite app and why?
I love Instagram because it’s a visual app that’s quick to use, so I can capture what I’m working on (or the latest puppy antics!) in a snapshot and share sneak peeks straight away.
Finally, as this feature is called ‘A cup of tea with…’ who would YOU most like to have a cup of tea with?
My late Gran and Grandad. My Grandad passed away a couple of years before I started my business, so I would love sit with him over a cup of tea to tell him all about it. My Gran passed away recently and asked me everyday about how the business was going – which new shops were we stocked in, which trade show were we at next, can she see the latest ranges, etc. It would have to be a big pot of tea instead of a cup I think!