Has there ever been a week/month/year where all of us were in need of a little magic more than this one? Who couldn't use a little bit of pixie dust right now? I'm choosing to distract myself with a number of things, and one of my self-care items this week was buying art prints from Be Magical Studio.
Created by a pair of friends, Stephanie and Dee, Be Magical Studio truly lives up to its name. Colorful T-shirts and sweatshirts, adorable pins, art from your fandoms, and more - they've taken some of the happiest bits of Disney and pop culture and made a slew of products you'll want to collect. In a normal year, they'd be items you'd pick out to wear for your next trip to Disneyland or Disneyworld. This year, though, they're an added bit of comfort to help your lounging around the house feel more special. Stephanie talked with me about how she and Dee started the brand, what it's like working with your friend, and what they've both learned along the way. Enjoy!
Q: Let’s start from the beginning. Can you tell me a little bit about the process of starting your business? What made you want to do this and how did you turn your idea into a reality?
A: We have both always loved making things for as long as we can remember! As artists at heart, we knew that we wanted to pursue creativity as a career. I studied design for a little while in college, and Dee majored in illustration. Neither of us wanted to create ‘conventional’ art, but rather create the kind of things that we ourselves loved, and would collect to fill our world with joy. It wasn’t really until we met each other that we felt truly inspired and motivated to turn our art into something tangible, and then into a business. Our first brainstorming session was like a ping pong match of stars shooting all over the room and bouncing off the walls. So, we started Be Magical Studio in 2017 with three enamel pin designs. It didn’t take off like crazy over night, but it was an absolute overwhelming thrill to see that anyone at all seemed to like what we were creating enough to collect and wear it! To me, that is still wild. We still have so much more growing that we want to do, but I’m amazed with how far we have come, having only truly started with nothing else but a wish to create.
Q: Was there a moment when you felt like this was something that was going to take off and become a success for you?
A: Not one moment in particular, but a many of them, sprinkled throughout the past several years. One of those moments was when we did our first big convention, DesignerCon in California. I’d dreamt of visiting California since I was a kid, so it was the first time I’d ever been and it was for our business! Meeting friends and customers that came out, to see us and shop in person, was unbelievable. We’ve also gotten to meet and connect with so many other amazing artists and creators over the years. For me, I absolutely freaked out when Sherri Dupree Bemis (beautiful songstress and one of my personal heroes) DM’ed me asking if I still had any stock of a sold out pin. For Dee, it was meeting one of her art idols Joey Chou (illustrator and character designer) and becoming peers, and friends. This moment right now, doing this interview, is also pretty spectacular!
Q: What were your friends and family’s reactions to you starting this as a career or a business? Were you nervous to share it?
A: Neither of us were nervous or scared to share it with our friends or families, but our parents definitely didn’t understand what “enamel pins” were at first (and tbh I’m still not sure that they do)! Regardless, they definitely supported us and believed in us. Over the years, we definitely had our personal lower points and our situations weren’t always ideal. Just keep believing that the sun always rises, because I actually met my fiance thanks to our business! I came across his instagram, and saw that he made art and pins as well. It was what brought us together, and one of the first things we bonded over. At our first date, I awkwardly gifted him one of my new Spirited Away inspired pins that I was very proud of LOL! I had to flex on him but hey, it worked! Dee also has a super supportive boyfriend who is always there to keep her motivated and believing that she can accomplish anything.
Q: Is this your full-time job? If so, how long did it take you to transition into full-time?
A: It is not our full time job yet, and for that reason we are glad it is a partnership! Being in this together allows us to both take on responsibilities that we wouldn’t be able to handle on our own. We also actually work at the same company together as our full-time job!