Interview with Lyndsay Rae Meiklem, Small Business Owner and Artist

For weeks, I’ve been excited by the national Mission Small Business contest sponsored by Chase and LivingSocial, which will award up to 12 individual grants of $250,000 to 12 small businesses. The business application calls for a thoughtful essay and community (online) support, and the project with my vote (and hopefully yours! It’s easy!) is Lyndsay Rae Meiklem’s Meiklem Kiln Works / Centerspace Wellness Studio. With just under two weeks left to vote, I sat down with Lyndsay to learn more about her business philosophy and share it with you.

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Jen Bokoff: When you started Meiklem Kiln Works in 2002, did you have any idea that it would be more than just a small pottery studio?

Lyndsay Meiklem: My vision of the studio when we first began in a tiny 700 sq foot building was that we would eventually outgrow the space and need to move into a bigger facility. At that time, I had not envisioned the yoga and wellness studio although I knew I wanted to gather a community of like-minded individuals who could collaborate and help one another to grow their businesses. The business wallet has not been as large as my vision through the years, but still, in 8 years we managed to grow from that original space to a two building, 6000 sq. ft. property housing our entire arts and wellness facility! Now, we’re thriving and that original community I had envisioned has encircled the property; we all embrace one another’s strengths and support one anothers dreams.

JB: Besides your parents, you credit the motto “Conceive, Believe, Achieve” for your success. Can you walk me through what each of those components mean to you?

LM: I’m a fan of motivational speakers like Dr. Wayne Dyer and Carolyn Myss, who speak often about the inner obstacles that can hold us back and prevent us from achieving our dreams. I have always been a visual learner, when I think of an idea, I think of it in pictures in my mind first; this is the conceive part for me. I conceive of what it is that I want to design, create, or set in motion, and then I take a step back and truly stand strong in the faith that it can happen; this is the believe part. You have to have a clear picture of what you are reaching for, and then BELIEVE you can get there. Once those two pieces of the puzzle are in place, there is a certain amount of surrender that needs to happen in order for the universe to create space to provide, which is the achieve part.  

JB: You wear a lot of hats including business owner, instructor, potter, and event planner. What’s your favorite hat?

LM: It’s easy to narrow that list to three things that I love: creating artwork, teaching pottery, teaching yoga. I’m not sure I can honestly pick a favorite among those three, but each one feeds a different part of my soul. 

JB: What’s the toughest challenge you face in running a small, creative business?

LM: Time. There is never enough of it. Every day, I wish the day were 10 hours longer so I actualy have time to create art, teach a class, AND get office work done. Many times, the office work consumes all of the daytime hours and this is a huge challenge. Even though I’m ready to delegate more of the ‘running the business’ work, the business can’t afford to hire full time employees right now. 

JB: If you had a day to do absolutely whatever you wanted (and control the weather and other hindering factors), what would your day look like?

LM: Easy. Wake up and practice yoga with friends. Sit down to the potters wheel and create pots. Take a long lunch and lunchtime hike by a river. Spend some more time creating artwork. Shop for veggies at a local farmers market and make a wonderful vegan dinner for family! Finally, get a good night sleep of 8 hours!

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If you’re inspired and have a spare minute, please add a vote in this contest for Meiklem Kiln Works (just search ‘Meiklem’ and vote; don’t worry, there’s no Facebook spam), and share with your network. I support this because I so admire how Lyndsay had a dream and went for it; isn’t that what we all want? And, it’s difficult to stay above water in a creative field, but it’s immeasurably important to have businesses like these in the community. Paradoxical, yes; doable, absolutely! You can also support the business and do some great yoga or pottery making (or other things, too!) by stopping by!

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