I first "met" Angie, creator of Five 15, through Instagram a while ago, and was immediately attracted by her vivid images (now GIFs) + feminist vibe. Soon afterwards, I started to notice that her products are not only inspired by feminism, but also the idea of giving back to help animals.
As a girl who came from a family where women are always strong and where pets are always welcomed, I quickly resonated with what Angie is doing. I also admired that she has a business in branding and visual design. It was just crazy to me that she runs two businesses on her own yet still manages to make time for snuggles and walks (you'll know what I mean if you've seen her Insta stories)!
I'm very honored to have this chance to learn more about her experience as a creativepreneur through this interview, and share it with you!
Hi Angie! Thank you for doing this interview. For those of us meeting you for the first time, tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into what you do.
Angie: I designed my first product a month after we adopted Meatball last July. I wanted to do something to commemorate that AND support rescue dogs. After realizing designing products was something I wanted to continue doing, I made a rule that I would only sell things that fit these two criteria: a) they have to be meaningful to me (and hopefully to others too) and b) I wanted to continue giving back.
Feminism is also very important to me, so it was only natural that I started designing products promoting equality and kindness next. 10 months and 12 pins later (and a few new in the works) I'm beyond grateful that some of the things that resonate with me, resonate with others too, and that I can continue giving back to causes that matter most to me.
嗨Angie！謝謝您接受這次的訪談。對於第一次認識Angie跟Five 15的朋友們，可以告訴我們一些關於您的個人背景及您如何開始Five 15的嗎？
How did you decide to put your belief into action?
Angie: The secret is not a secret. I have an amazing business coach and support system, and that definitely helped me get clarity and put things into action. I also have to admit reading Elizabeth Gilbert's latest book, Big Magic (about living a creative life) was very encouraging too. I started reading it by accident after listening to her podcast Magic Lessons (which I definitely recommend) at the perfect time, when I was debating starting my own business or doing the 'safe' thing for me and go to an office job. I heard something in the podcasts that stuck with me. I am paraphrasing but it went something like this: "We take the leap not because we're hoping the net will appear (it may not, and we may fail). We leap because the pain of standing near the edge is greater than the pain of the fall." I knew I didn't want to spend the rest of my life wondering 'what if'. I am grateful I took the risk and I am grateful every day I get to do this for a living.
You have a branding and design business before you started Five 15. How has working on Five 15 changed your life and how do you balance between the two of them?
Angie: Being able to do something creative for a living is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. That’s definitely changed my life for the better. I feel like I am finally being true to who I really am. Being self-employed has also changed my life, and what I didn’t know at first is how challenging it would be to take time off, especially when I am doing something I love. Balance for me has been learning how to run a business and still prioritize making space to rest and do all the things that fill me up outside of being creative (such as time with my husband, friends, exercise, rest, etc). When I do that, paradoxically, I am much more productive and effective at what I do.
在您創立Five 15之前，原本就有一份專門從事品牌識別(branding)與平面設計的獨立事業。現在有了Five 15您是如何平衡生活的，Five 15又對您有了什麼樣的影響呢？
I see you interact with Meatball and your favorite human on your Instagram story a lot. How has Meatball changed your routine and what does it mean to you to have a husband that’s also a creative?
Angie: Meatball has totally changed our lives too. First off, she gives us so much joy! She is such an amazing dog! We are really lucky. That said, having a dog has definitely changed our routine too. Geoff and I used to spend lots of time in coffee shops, drawing or doing creative things, and now that we have Meatball, we try to spend a lot more time outside. It has been challenging to adapt at first, but she’s definitely been a good influence on us. We really wanted a dog and knew this would happen, so she’s changed our lives in a way that we wanted.
Being married to an artist is so fun! We encourage each other to work on projects and give each other feedback, even though our styles are really different. Watching Geoff make time to create just for the fun of it is really inspiring and a great reminder for me. I definitely feel like my relationship with Geoff has made me a more creative person, 100%
Working exclusively as a creative is still a challenged idea in Taiwan (mostly for family reasons). How has your family played part alongside your path to where you are right now?
Angie: I think in some parts of Mexico* that’s still the same. I have been living in Canada since I was 21, so I’ve been making my own decisions for some decades now. What I know is my family supports whatever makes me happy. I think they’ve always known I am going to do what I want anyway, so they encourage me with whatever I want to do. I don’t know if that would have changed if I had stayed in Mexico. I’d like to think they’d be supportive no matter what. I am so grateful for that.
*Angie was originally from Mexico.
Angie：我想，在墨西哥 [註1] 有些地方跟台灣目前的情況差不多。不過自從我21歲搬到加拿大之後，我就一直都為自己做決定。我知道不論我的決定是什麼，我的家人都會支持我，我想他們應該也知道他們阻止不了我吧，所以與其反對不如鼓勵我。
If you could give one piece of advice to the ones who are looking to start a creative business, what would it be?
Angie: Do it for yourself. Don’t try to please anyone else. With practice, you’ll find your style (I am still finding mine!). Sometimes, what you’ll make will suck. That’s part of the creative process. Don’t let that discourage you/make you think you aren’t talented. Continue to practice and do it for the fun of it. Do it because the pain of not doing it is greater than the pain of doing it.
Angie is fearless, talented, loving, and everything badass. Not everyone has the courage to take the leap, and not everyone has the ability to truly figure things out after the leap.
Seeing Angie being true to herself, showing up everyday, putting herself out there, AND still manages to stay super motivated, is one of the most inspiring things I've ever seen. Sometimes I wish I was her, and I'm not even trying to exaggerate!
I'm really grateful I had this chance to learn more about Angie and her creative business. I hope you enjoyed learning about Angie and Five 15 as well as I enjoyed putting this post together!
*I hand-lettered a quote which Angie inspired me, as a token of gratitude: "Have courage and be badass."