I first came to admire Danielle Spurge of The Merriweather Council for her mad embroidery skills — she makes initial necklaces and quirky hoops I’d love to display in my home. But then she started sharing the ways she turned her Etsy shop into a success with other aspiring creatives. The Merriweather Council has become an amazing resource for anyone who sells handmade goods. I don’t have an online shop but I am always referring my friends who do to Danielle! She is also the co-conspirator of the inspiring She Percolates podcast with Jen Hatzung, in which they interview creative business owners about what success means to them. I’m so excited Danielle is her today to tell us about how she is living out her dream job! // susannah
1. How would you describe The Merriweather Council?
The Merriweather Council is all about empowering creatives to share their work with confidence. Teaching handmade shop owners to optimize, leverage + prosper. Making, writing and working in pursuit and support of creative lifestyles — supporting yours and living mine!
2. What were you doing beforeThe Merriweather Council? What inspired you to change paths?
Actually, I was in college immediately before starting The Merriweather Council. I graduated,came home, slept for 48 hours and then got to work! I was supposed to go to graduate school but at the last minute I changed my mind. I was supposed to do something else but this is way better.
3. When ideas are scarce, where do you turn for creative inspiration?
I simply love to browse vintage shops, thrift stores or antique markets. I love seeing weird, old, unusual, funky stuff. I always get my best ideas when I am fully involved in something else. So, shopping… I guess. Or traveling!
4. Describe your workspace.
My workspace is pretty simple — I have an office with two desks — one for my computer, one for my crafts. I mostly work from my laptop on the floor though, go figure. I really don’t do well with sitting still but I like my office because it’s a storage facility for all that inspires me and for all the tools and supplies I need to accomplish my creative inspirations.
5. What have been your biggest successes and challenges?
WELL. Challenges are plentiful, but then, so are successes. Even if I have no seen the full results of an effort yet, I consider any progress to be a success. To answer this question more exactly, I will say that I feel most successful when people tell me something I published, created, said or did helped them. If someone needed to hear something I said, or was inspired to take critical action from one of my many ramblings (Periscope, email, long form Instagram post) then I feel awesome, like I made a difference.
6. What are your dreams for The Merriweather Council?
I see the future of Merriweather Council as being community based with a big emphasis on education. I want people to be educated beyond the basics — I think I’ve already shown people, and tough them it’s possible to make a living from your talents, and I have programs in place to help them learn the steps to accomplishing that. But beyond that there is so much more that people need that I would like to evolve to support! The Merriweather Council used to be all about me, but now it’s all about reaching others and supporting them in their creative pursuits.
7. Who do you look up to?
Lady gaga is my Ultimate Non-Relational Person of Idolization. Or UNRPI for short. She is bold, brave, powerful, confident. To me she represents strength, character, compassion and general bad ass-ery I think she’s absolutely fabulous.
8. Where and how do you love to spend your time off?
I love to get back to my native roots by traveling to NY to visit family and friends and be amongst my people. I really am more of a city dweller though I can enjoy an hour or two at the beach. If i must…
9. What three books, websites or resources do you recommend to someone whose dream job is your job?
10. If you weren’t running The Merriweather Council, what would be your dream job?
Well, I suck at cooking but I love the idea of being a chef. To me that is such a creative job and truly an art form.
Check out the other interviews in the Dream Jobs series.
(Photo of Danielle by Amy Sandoval Photography)