We had the good fortune of connecting with Morgan Sandlin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Morgan, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My thought process behind starting my own business goes back to when I was in college studying graphic design and communication. I knew I wanted to use my creativity and love for design for something more than advertising, I wanted to work with others who had a lot of heart and passion in their own businesses. I was always doing something on my own time that was making money, I had a photography business, I would find ways to sell my art, I always had something I was pursuing and trying to make happen. It really hit me that I wanted to start my own business and be my own boss when I did my first internship. I hated waking up and going to work on someone else’s time. I hated the feeling of not being in charge of my own life, of having to ask permission to take a day or two off, and sitting at a desk doing tasks that didn’t excite me. I knew it wasn’t going to happen right away, and that I would need to spend SOME time working in the industry, trying different things and seeing what I liked and didn’t like. I worked 3 jobs out of college, one was for a huge agency, another for a super small agency, and the other I was designing for a restaurant. None of them sparked anything in me, other than the reassurance that I needed to make my own business happen. So in a way, I did learn from them. I remember seeing the quote that went something like “You either wake up everyday and work hard to create your dream, or you will end up working hard to create someone else’s.” and that really stuck with me. I went full time with my own business a year ago, right when the pandemic changed everything. Things aligned and worked out in a way that motivated me dive into it and take the leap. I’ve never been happier, waking up and making my days exactly what I want them to be, working with amazing clients with big dreams. It has been a series of events that lead me up to the point of finally starting my own business, and with hard work and dedication, I made it happen.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I’ve actually always struggled with figuring out how to explain or describe my art. For a few years of my life I went through a phase of having a very particular style/medium. I used to be really into painting with ink on wood. Like every artist, I’ve definitely grown and tried a lot of different things since then, I would say lately I’ve been experimenting with different styles and directions. Which I’m learning is more than okay, that’s what makes it art. My favorite artist is Jean-Michel Basquiat because of his reasoning and motivation behind his work. Whenever he was asked “what’s the meaning behind this piece” a lot of the time he would respond with something like “because I had the paint and the canvas and I made it just because”. That’s sort of how i’ve always approached my art, and I think that sets me apart artistically. I’ve never tried to force some crazy deep meaning or definition to my work. What I believe sets me apart from others my age and in my industry is my drive and work ethic. I never really expected things to just fall into my lap or be handed to me. I recognized early on that if I wanted to make something of myself and my career, I had to go out there and make it happen. I’m most proud of how far I’ve come, and how I remember not that long ago I was telling people “mark my words, I will have my own business and I will make my own way” and seeing that come to life and growing that into a reality makes me really proud. I’m really excited to see where things go from here, I refuse to let them go anywhere but up. Getting to where I am today professionally definitely hasn’t been easy, I’ve had jobs I’ve hated, done work that didn’t inspire me, and have had moments where I felt like I would never get anywhere with my dreams. There have been plenty of highs and plenty of lows so far, but I think the trick to overcoming challenges is knowing and accepting that there will always be challenges, no matter how far you get in your journey. I’ve learned to take the hard times and understand that there is a lesson in there somewhere, and that I will eventually look back at that difficult moment and it will be behind me. I will have grown from it. It’s not about dreading or fighting the times where you feel like nothing is working out, it’s about welcoming them and having confidence that you will overcome them. They are part of the process, they’re inevitable. I would want the world to know that although I’m really proud of what I have to offer right now, and I’m over the moon about how far I’ve come – I don’t intend to stay right here in this one place, I will keep growing and evolving and changing as life goes on. As a designer, It’s my goal to keep working with others who are building their dreams, I want to help bring their visions to life through my art and my designs. As an artist, I want to keep exploring new ways to express who I am, I want to change when necessary. As a business owner, I want to learn from my mistakes and find new ways to improve and keep climbing. Overall, as a human being, I accept newness and change with open arms, there is so much life left to experience and I’m so ready for it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Ohh I like this question. Living on the outskirts of Denver, and in the foothills of the mountains, there are so many things to choose from! Whenever I have friends come visit, I always plan a camping / adventure kind of trip. So I would say the first day they get here, I would take them to dinner at either Bluegrass or Schoolhouse – both really unique experiences. We would have some drinks and good food and talk about the adventure we are about to go on. The next day we would have all of our camping gear packed up, snacks packed, and a good playlist ready to jam. We would head out for a 2 night stay at Wellington Lake. Once we get there we would set up our tent, lakeside of course. Wellington Lake is the picture perfect place, it’s at the base of a mountain in the middle of a pine tree forest. After a couple of days spent hiking and kayaking, having some drinks around the fire and telling stories, we would head back into town. We would probably venture into Estes Park, eat some local food and do another really cool hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Since that’s only about an hour from where I live, we would spend the day there and then come back to my house, take a day to relax and hang out before attending a concert at Red Rocks. It’s concert day at Red Rocks, so first things first, we would go get all the goods for a tailgate before the show. We head to the show a few hours early, set up our camp stove and cook some food, hang out in the summer air and enjoy the easy going chill time before going in for the concert of a lifetime. Let’s be honest though, every concert at Red Rocks is life changing. I would say that’s about all we could fit into a week long trip, but that’s pretty much what a week visiting me looks like. Those are my favorite places to take people, to give them the full experience and show them the most beautiful scenery.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My parents, my brother, and my husband definitely all deserve recognition in my journey so far. They are my biggest supporters and they’re always cheering me on. I’m an extremely independent person, and they’ve always encouraged me to really run with my dreams and ideas. They give advice when I need it, they hear me out when I want to share my new business ideas, they’ve been there for every art show and event. They show up for me, and they inspire me to be the best I can be. I really couldn’t do it without them, they are my people.
Other: Pinterest: @nativebrushdesign