In the studio with felt button bouquet and fashion designer, Megan Hunt.
Hey Megan, can you tell us a bit about Princess Lasertron and what you do?
I make magic! I started my business, Princess Lasertron, in 2005 when I was in college, and I'm the original designer of the felt flower bouquet made with wool felt and vintage buttons. Over the years the momentum just kept growing and now, almost six years later, we work with over 250 brides a year and have grown to a three-person company. At first I designed hairpieces, felt flower bouquets, and accessories and with my wedding and style blog, began to enjoy a cult following in the wedding industry as as purveyor of nontraditional design and project ideas. In the past few years we have grown to reach more mainstream customers with our dress line, accessories, and diy projects. Our mission at Princess Lasertron is to inspire women to be their best selves every day.
How did you got started and have you always been crafty?
I grew up as a very artistic person and I always thought I would have a career in a creative field as I got older. My parents and mentors helped draw that out of me, encouraging me to channel that energy through activities from writing and bookbinding to dancing and acting. I also was gifted with a dash of entrepreneurial magic--the spark I have in me to challenge myself, to try harder, to blow my own mind with the potential of my ideas and really turn them into action.
It must be really great to be involved with people's big days, how did you first get involved with wedding design?
I think what really pushed me into the wedding industry was planning my own wedding. After I got married, the photos from my wedding got reblogged and reposted all over the internet, and were even featured in a few magazines. Everybody was asking, "Who did her dress?" "Who did her bouquet?" I designed both of them and once I saw the place in the wedding market for this kind of handmade aesthetic, I bought a few advertisments on well-trafficked industry blogs and the orders started rolling in. I've been full-time now with Princess Lasertron for four years.
Tell us about some of the more unique bouquets you've made and favourite weddings you've designed for?
I'm always trying to make different kinds of flowers to keep challenging myself. We recently did a hydrangea bouquet that looked so realistic, and it was one of the most popular designs we've even created. It's an honor to be included in any wedding--to play a role in one of the most important days of a couple's life is the best thing about my job. Some of my favorites have been the vintage-inspired weddings...french flea market finds, handmade centerpieces, soft lace and simple silhouettes. I think it matches my own aesthetic well.
What tips would you give for personalising a wedding?
What I advise couples to do is to remove the concept of "wedding" from the pedestal in their mind and approach it from a "party planning" mindset instead. Think about the most fun parties you've ever been to. What did you like about them? Time to talk with friends? Your favorite foods? Silly games? A fun theme? When I got engaged and went to the wedding section of my local bookstore to figure out where to begin, I was completely overwhelmed. Wedding planners? Veils? Place cards? All of these things that had nothing to do with my husband or me. When I left my "wedding planning" anxiety behind and started trying to plan the best party my family and friends had ever attended, the pressure was off and we loved every minute of it.
You've been branching out in to fashion recently, can you tell us a bit about this?
We just dropped our second line of wedding and party dresses this month! Last week, actually, so I'm just in the midst of managing orders and coordinating press and new marketing--it's so fun. Yes. Every year we do a new line of dresses that are designed for the Princess Lasertron girl--sophisticated, witty, bold, a friend to everyone. The life of the party. This year we showed a collection of classic silhouettes and bold colors, made with organic cottons. Of course we can make any of our more non-traditional designs in any fabric or color--we can do anything from an emerald green organic cotton or twill to a champagne silk taffeta. You can learn more about our dress line at dresses.princesslasertron.com.
Where do you look for inspiration when designing new collections?
My muse is the notion of becoming the woman I always wanted to be. It’s the thought of seeing the world the way we did when we were little girls–imaginative people who have never been told what isn’t possible–and rejecting the disappointment of mundane adult life. I have had a vision in my mind throughout the conception and production of this collection of a little girl in a department store for the first time, seeing the rows of carefully arranged racks of clothing and shining glass countertops, and as she leaves the store holding her mother's hand, she turns to see the window display in the storefront. As she looks upon the beautifully arranged window full of balloons, confetti, and party dresses, she thinks "That is who I want to be when I grow up." Later in the process of creating the collection, I realized that that little girl was my daughter--Alice, who is one year old. I design with the spirits of girls like her in mind.
You presented at Omaha Fashion Week. How much work goes in to preparing for your show?
I could never, ever produce a fashion show without the help of Team Lasertron. I have two employees who help full-time and teams of makeup artists, hair stylists, photographers, and others who just make the entire show come into being. We just did our runway show last week and already the orders are pouring in--that's all thanks to my amazing team.
Can you describe the design process for creating one of your dresses?
I try to never go with my first idea--everything can be improved upon. So I begin with a sketch--and I have piles and piles of rejected sketches that I will revisit again someday--and then ask myself what can be added or changed in the construction of the garment I've drawn to make it something new, something better for our customers. Then I work with a patternmaker and sewer to develop the piece, and we do all of the finishing in our studio at Princess Lasertron. Next year we are producing our first completely in-house collection.
Tell us a bit about CAMP, how that got started and what your vision is?
CAMP is a coworking space I founded in North Downtown Omaha, where I live. What I love about coworking is that we tend to work harder when we are surrounded by people who are also on task. There are fewer distractions and we feel motivated by the productive atmosphere. But unlike working at home or in a coffee shop, the downtime is also more productive—side conversations become collaborations, distractions become fun new inside jokes, and getting up to stretch becomes riding a razor scooter down the hallway. A day at the office for us includes relaxing on a comfy couch with a laptop. Good coffee, a muffin from a local bakery, and maybe even a beer. And being motivated and inspired by all of the productivity, fun, and camaraderie surrounding us. A recent Gallup study showed that the happiest people get eight hours of social interaction every day. We have trouble finding time to be social when we are always working, but why can't we mix the two?
Can you explain a typical day in your life?
Oh boy--lately, there is no typical day! There is always something new happening--the launch of our dress line, planning a local conference or event, hosting new workers in my coworking space, traveling to do speaking engagements or teach classes. In the last year or so my routine has been turned completely on its head, but there are a few constants. Every day I wake up with my daughter, Alice, and we have breakfast and get dressed. Then she watches a tv show while I check my email and see if there are any emergencies before we head into work. Alice plays, dances, and runs while I cut out fabric or do interviews or answer e-mail or run errands. She comes with me almost everywhere. After my husband gets off work, he usually comes to my studio and either hangs out, brings us dinner, or takes Alice back home so I can finish whatever I am doing. I work all the time--whenever I am awake. I'm trying to get more moderation in my life, but the truth is that I love my job and I love working hard.
How do you stay organised? Any tips you can share with us?
I have a drawer for receipts that I organize after it gets full, a drawer for legal paperwork and contracts, a file with spaces for each months’ weddings and a file with spaces for invoice receipts from the orders that go out each month. Invitations are immediately put into my planner (I only use a pen-and-paper one). My assistant Shannon is the one who really makes most of it “work.” I have to keep it organized though because the thought of accidentally forgetting a customer haunts me.
What advice would you give to young crafters wanting to start up in business?
The best business advice I've ever received is "planning is just guessing." There is such a thing as a calculated risk, but if you are waiting for the perfect time to take the plunge and start your business, it's never going to come. You just have to do it, react quickly to problems, and surround yourself with a very positive team of mentors and supporters. The best thing I ever did for myself as a business owner is connect with other entrepreneurs in my community. None of them are "crafty" or in my industry at all, but we have so many similar challenges and triumphs, and it's great to get a different perspective on your business as you grow and change.
What's next for Princess Lasertron?
I'm working on a book right now about planning weddings as parties and, following that, a book about simple ways to add beauty to your life every day. I hope to continue to grow the fashion side of my business and do more speaking and teaching around the world!