This Mother's Day week, we are highlighting a few incredible Mom Makers that inspire us. Today's highlight features Cathy Heck (mom of 3) and her daughter Julianna Heck Larsen (a recently new mom of 1), the co-founders of Mej Mej, our go-to spot for children's and nursery illustration. For nearly the past 7 years, the Mej Mej family of artists has created new designs every day for children all over the world.
Q. What is you favorite product you are making right now?
A (Cathy): We create repositionable fabric wall decals for children’s spaces. One of my favorites is the Evergreen collection, created by Julianna. It’s a muted green and gray group with a Scandinavian vibe. (Her new toddler is half-Danish!) During the holidays, I loved placing the Christmas Add-on Kit to the little forest houses with our first grandson.
Q. How do you balance MOM-ing and MAKING?
A. (Julianna) Because I am a new mom, I'm not sure I am super qualified to answer this yet. But from my limited experience, I would have to say that you need to always have realistic expectations. Somedays you are going to absolutely crush it and feel like you should be awarded with a small trophy for what you have accomplished and other days ... well ... if you make it through the day by answering one email and brushing your teeth ... that can also be equally as epic for a completely different reason.
Q. How would your kiddo(s) describe what you do?
A. (Cathy) They would say “my mom makes art every day and she hums a lot.”
Q. Who is your maker fairy godmother? Mentor?
A. (Julianna) I am inspired daily by Brittany Jepsen from The House That Lars Built. Her creativity knows no bounds. Her Instagram is a joyful collage of color and cleverness. (And we both have a love of Denmark.)
Q. Any advice would you give to budding lil’ makers?
A. (Cathy) My advice would actually be for moms of budding lil’ makers. Keep a drawer of art supplies handy …ours was in the kitchen right next to the silverware drawer, so during every small in-between moment, there were lots of opportunities for little masterpieces. (Plus the spoons and forks were handy for emergency paint and potion mixing.)
Q. What’s your favorite thing someone told you about your work?
A. (Julianna) Because our art often finds its way in front of a very young audience we receive the cutest messages from moms describing the way their children interact with our decals. One of my favorites was from a mom who had installed our Feather collection in her daughter's room. The collection has all sorts of birds and every single morning at the changing table, her daughter would say "Hello Robin" to the robin that was placed above her. Moments like that make me feel so warm and cozy.
Q. Is it a family affair? Do your kiddos help you with your business?
A. (Cathy) YES! I have been licensing art for over 30 years. And during that time, my husband and I raised three daughters. Little did we know we were creating our own work force! Each one worked from a little table in the studio from age 2 on. And as teens, college kids and young adults, each daughter worked in the “family business,” and we still love to collaborate when we are all together. About 10 years ago, Julianna decided to make “the family business” a full time career, and she has been a collection-making machine ever since. We LOVE that we now live in the same town and can bounce ideas around all the time.
Check out Cathy and Julianna's art at https://mejmej.com/