We’re endlessly curious about how our favorite local creatives, designers and makers do their thing, which is why we’ll be celebrating them at store parties across the country. Wanting to get an even closer look, we toured a few nearby studios and talked to the Hometown Heroes behind them. Say hello to Apprvl founder Megan, an expert at Japanese shibori indigo dyeing who makes all of her one-of-a-kind designs in Brooklyn.
First things first, can you tell us the story behind Apprvl?
It all started when I was working at a fashion brand dyeing yardage for showroom samples. I was creating these really rich colors with synthetic dyes and started to research the health risks and effects they would have on my body if I continued to use them. I learned that natural dyes were easily available and it seemed almost necessary to learn how to use them. People who are interested in natural dyes usually turn to indigo first since it’s the most well-known. It helps that I have an obsession with the color blue. So Apprvl was born organically—both from curiosity and necessity.
Okay now tell us about your inner inspiration board.
I’m inspired by real life experiences and being out of my comfort zone. If I’m in a creative slump, I like to explore something new in the city that I haven’t seen before. I also try to frequent museums like MoMA and the Brooklyn Museum. I travel a lot with my business now and I always try to explore a new park or neighborhood wherever I go to make sure I’m soaking up as much as I can.
So what are some must-haves to keep on hand when you’re creating? (Tools, materials, mood music, etc.?)
When I’m working on a new product, I need to get myself in the zone with a good podcast, or I turn on my favorite Spotify channel “Babes Abroad”—a mix of ’70s funk, Motown and some classics. I also have a notepad and calendar handy.
While I’m creating, I give myself timelines for making something and launching it since I don’t roll out new pieces by the seasons. There’s a huge stack of dye pots in my studio that are essential for creating color, and there’s always something cooking in the studio.
Can you share what a typical day in the studio is like?
I usually head over to the studio around 9am with my dog. We grab a coffee on the way and I eat breakfast while looking at my to-do list. If I haven’t packed up shipments the night before, I try to do that first thing since I ship orders almost daily and want to catch the mail person on their route.
I have to be strategic about how I plan my work because if I need to dye that day, I’ll save that for last so that I don’t get my dye-covered hands all over things that are clean or need to be packaged. When I’m dyeing I get a lot of time to think about what’s next since my hands are wet and I can’t distract myself with the internet. This also forces me to do my Instagramming and emailing at specific times since I don’t work on a computer most days.
Do you have advice for other creatives looking to start their own business?
Stay true to your vision! Don’t try to put yourself into a box that you don’t fit in, regardless of what trends are happening. Say yes to new experiences but also know when to say no. Just because you’re putting yourself out there and getting the word out doesn’t mean you need to do everything for everyone.
Thanks for showing us around, Megan. Want to hang with Hometown Heroes in your own neighborhood? Check out all the upcoming pop-ups and RSVP here. Plus, learn more about our Hometown Heroes program here.