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.
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!
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!