And so, our GLOSSYBOX Presents Women In Business series continues! You wanted to find out more about incredible female business owners and the companies they run, so we went on the hunt to find some favourites to introduce to you!
Myro Coates is an illustrator, and an incredible good one at that! Based in Manchester, her business Myro Doodles specialises in doodle designs, all created with nothing but pens and paper – oh, and now a few windows and walls too.
We spoke to her to find out more about how she turned the hobby she’s had since a child into her full time job and the ups (and downs) that come alongside…
Hey Myro! Your doodles are so gorgeous, have you always been so creative?
I was always the child doodling on any paper I could find and drawing on paper tablecloths in restaurants. I’m from a Ukranian family though, where everyone has the mindset that drawing is a hobby and not a career. This meant that I never actually studied art at school or at university. Everything I know I’ve learnt myself – I doodled on an almost daily basis growing up and that’s how I’ve gained all the experience I have now.
Looking back, what’s your first memory of drawing? Is there anything that stands out?
I used to go to my grandma’s – my Baba as we say in Ukraine – everyday after school. I remember sitting at her kitchen table, and I’d always be drawing clothes… I think I wanted to be a fashion designer. My Baba’s wall was like a gallery, covered in all the pictures I’d drawn of outfits!
Obviously you strayed away from fashion but the drawing hasn’t gone anywhere! So, how did Myro Doodles begin?
Myro Doodles was built organically, growing over time. In an old job, I was constantly drawing at my desk. Everyone knew I always was, and after a while people began to ask me if they could have something special made to order – weddings invited, greetings cards, those kinds of things.
Eventually, I was doing so many of these that I had to quit my job – and (almost 10 years ago now), Myro Doodles was born. And for six of those 10 years, I’ve been fully self employed! It was, however, when I was working a few hours a week in a shop nearer the beginning that I was asked if, because I was ‘crafty’, I could draw on the windows. That was my first window, and now that’s what I’m most known for!
The big projects sound so much fun. What’s been your favourite one that you’ve got to work on?
My favourite project to work on so far has to be my first job in a hospital – a labour ward in a hospital in North Manchester. I really got to know the nurses and midwives who worked there, and it changed my views on a lot of things around giving birth. A hospital is a daunting place, a place of both life and death, and I’m only doodling murals and affirmations on walls… But I got such a great response from my work here.
I then went on to have my own baby on that ward, and I got to take a picture with him when he was first born in front of my doodles. It made me think of how many other babies had been brought into the world in rooms in which I’d pretty created art on the walls of. It was so lovely and I feel so privileged to be a part of that experience for someone, even in such a small way.
That sounds so lovely! Would you say being a part of something like that is one of the most rewarding parts of Myro Doodles?
I love that what I do can really make a difference. Doodles and drawings can take a business from being unknown to really putting them on the map!
I love that I can also help people fall in love with venues again – whether it’s their own or one they visit frequently. Especially after lockdown, with people that work in hospitality, leisure and beauty for example, I love that I can get them excited about getting back into their buildings.
What does a typical day at work involve for you? Are there always big projects to work on or can you have quieter days too?
If I’ve got a project in the pipeline, my day may involve going to see a space or meet the client to find out more about what they want. Most jobs are done in one day, so time is of the essence and knowing what they’re after in advance can really help.
Other days I will actually be working on big projects – sometimes it’s very sociable, some days it’s just me cracking on. I’ll take little time outs throughout the day whilst working on a project, to check over my social media and answer any emails I’ve received too. And, at the end of the day, i’ll also do a final check in with the client to see if they’re happy! Finally i’ll take photos and videos of the finished work, for both future reference and for my social media channels.
In the evenings, at 7pm, I often run workshops as well. I do these from my kitchen and they focus on learning to draw. They’re good fun. I’m a naturally busy person and I find I really thrive from being on the go!
It must be pretty exciting to get up and go to work each morning. Are you good at motivating yourself day to day?
One thing that really motivates me is knowing that I am the only one that has the power to make this business a success. The only person in control is me. I find that really liberating! My business feels like my child and it’s so rewarding knowing that people trust me with theirs. When they love what I do, it’s such a great feeling. It’s really all worth it for the big final reveal!
Have you had any more difficult elements that come hand in hand with running your own business that you’ve had to deal with?
If you’re good at what you do and you enjoy doing it, it’s fun. But taking drawing from a hobby, to a side hustle, to full on business was challenging. There was a lot of trial and error, but I’m glad it happened like that, because if it didnt I definitely wouldn’t know everything that I do now. I’ve also had to learn to be okay with the fact that not everyone will love my work. I’m so proud of it personally, but it’s not for everyone. That can be tough to hear sometimes, but i’m getting better at dealing with it.
There is also always stuff you have to do that you don’t like doing – for me it’s things like finances, admin and promoting myself. Thankfully a lot of my work today comes from people approaching me, after seeing my work on social media or in other venues first.
Finally, if someone is reading this who has a hobby they want to turn into their dream business – just like you did – what advice would you give them?
Know your worth! It’s so important. You’ll likely feel as if you need to work for free to begin with, to get experience and build your portfolio, but don’t undervalue yourself or dismiss your hard work.It’s essential to set boundaries early on with your business, and to charge people properly for your work. It’s not being big headed or vain. It’s about having confidence in yourself, what you can do and what you can offer others – and also having the talent and hard work to show to back it up!
More From GLOSSYBOX Presents Women In Business
Loved yet another Women In Business interview? We still have many more women in business lined up over the coming weeks! Keep an eye on the GLOSSYBOX blog and our social channels for more!
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