Exploring how they have built their businesses, overcome challenges and navigated the shifts and changes throughout their creative journeys.
Macy Stewart is a fashion and portrait photographer based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. After a year with Mastered (London) for fashion photography in 2018, Macy has built up an impressive client list. She has shot with the likes of Lifestyle sports, Dazed & Confused, Lady Gunn, Lucy’s magazine, Irish Country Magazine as well as many Irish designers. Her work has been described as (able to) “vibrate with a kinetic, emotional energy” by Dazed writer, Anna Cafolla.
We are so excited to kick off this video podcast series ‘Our Time is Now’ with an interview with Macy Stewart Fashion and Portrait Photographer.
Macy was the first creative we interviewed for Our Time Is Now. Macy has always been creative, right through school until she dropped out at the age of 17 when unfortunately her father passed away. Macy found herself consumed by grief. With all her friends still at school, she felt she was falling behind and had no confidence and nothing going for her. However she had a camera her Nanny had bought her for school and she started taking photos for instagram just for fun and to be creative. It was a real passion and a way for her to process her grief. She never thought photography would be a career and become her full-time job, but her passion, commitment and talent paved the way for her success and naturally over time it has evolved to become her career.
Macy’s story is one of resilience, strength, passion and creativity and is so inspirational.
In this clip, Macy shares with us how she dropped out of school at 17 because her father passed away.
She shares how she was dealing with her grief and how photography was a positive a way for her to process what she was going through.
She shares how she was just following her passion for photography but never thought it would turn into a career.
Macy has such a powerful story of resilience, inspiration and being a strong person.
This is an important thing to work on when you are building a creative business. So often we can find ourselves seeking validation from others, or simply placing our self worth in others hands.
In this clip, Macy talks about the early stages of her career and how she had to learn to believe in herself and find herself worthy.
In this clip Macy shares how the film & photography industry is very male dominated and how she has experienced a lot of disrespect on sets.
She shares the challenges she has faced, the confidence she is building and how hard it can be to thrive in a male dominated space.
It’s a really interesting thing to highlight because women do have to work twice as hard and can’t afford to have a “bad day” or an ego. There is a lot of unspoken pressure and it’s great to hear Macy speak out about it.
In this clip, Macy shares that 5 years later she was finally getting the work that she dreamed of, getting to a place of being established only to constantly find herself feeling burnt out.
When you are building a creative brand, it’s very easy to fall into feeling like you’re constantly behind and the workload can feel endless.
What’s beautiful to hear is that Macy pushed through that phase and now is in a place of finding that work life balance that we all hope to have.
Linzi Rooney is the founder of Born & Bred, a Belfast City Centre store and e-commerce site specialising in Belfast and Irish themed gifts and homeware. Born & Bred exists to help artists thrive. Founded in 2014 by Linzi, Born & Bred sells beautiful, locally-made gifts in their shop.
Born & Bred has impacted over 300 local makers and provides a space (both online and offline) where artists can come together to learn, share and sell.
Born & Bred has received an array of accolades including Top place to shop for art by Lonely Planet, Top 10 places to shop in Belfast by the The New York Times and Top 50 independent shops in the UK by The Guardian.
We are delighted to share our second full hour long ‘Our Time is Now’ interview with inspirational Belfast creative Linzi Rooney. Linzi is the founder of Born & Bred a Belfast City Centre store and e-commerce site specialising in Belfast and Irish themed gifts and homeware. Linzi gives a fantastic interview all about building a successful business and living life on your own terms. There is so much wisdom and inspiration to be found in Linzi’s story
Linzi talks about how she first started out on her creative journey by being a freelance photographer. Through different jobs, she realised very early on that she wanted to work for herself and build something of her own.
In this clip, Linzi talks about her experience of going to university and being told that in order to be successful you need to specialise in one thing.
Linzi shares the importance of having a diverse range of skills in different areas, especially when it comes to running your own business.
Running a business is hard.
One positive thing that comes out of it is – you learn how to be an adaptable and resilient person.
We are excited to share this next clip where Linzi talks about how she is passionate about growing the female industry and nurturing female talent.
Linzi touches on how women may not have the confidence in what they can achieve and maybe feel like they have to be more in the home rather than taking the plunge to follow their dreams.
When it comes to building a business and also creating a family, a lot of pressure is put on the woman to balance everything.
Lizni talks about how it’s a sensitive topic at the minute and it’s very difficult to say the “right thing”.
Do you struggle with social media?
Have you ever felt under pressure when it comes to social media for your business?
Maybe you feel overwhelmed or not knowing what platform to be on as a business?
Or maybe you feel stuck in knowing what content to be creating and post?
In this clip, Linzi talks about the pressure that she felt on social media last year and how it really impacted her.
You are constantly questioning yourself on what’s the right thing to do and how to grow your brand.
Linzi shares that you have to stick to your values and not just chase high engagement.
Create good content, showcase your product and be consistent with posting.
Mel is an illustrator and designer and the founder and director of Usfolk Illustration agency. Usfolk is a Belfast based illustration agency, hosting 30+ illustrators from all corners of the globe. As well as running multiple projects in the design studio and managing a steady flow of illustration commissions, the in house team are all freelance illustrators. Clients include LUSH Cosmetics, The Washington Post, Mars Confectionary, Jameson Irish Whiskey, National Museums NI, The Merchant Hotel, Belfast City Council and Queen’s University.
Mel Carroll was the third Belfast creative we interviewed for ‘Our Time is Now’ and we are delighted that his full hour long interview is now available to watch or listen to in full online. Mel is an illustrator, designer and founder and director of UsFolk a Belfast-based illustration agency, hosting 30+ illustrators from all around the globe.
In his interview, we heard about how Mel had a huge passion for art and design from very early in his life. He tells us that he knew he was gay from a very young age and used art as a means to escape and develop skills that gave him confidence and validation.
He beautifully shares that his “creativity came from his queerness” Mel shares with us his journey with grief, his mental health and how his mother passed away when he was a teenager.
Mel then shares the journey of his creative career which led to him starting his own business and building a global business.
Mel has a passion for supporting other illustrators and wants to continue to encourage people to follow their passions and start their own journey early.
Have you ever used your art and creativity as an escape?
In this clip, we get to hear how Mel had a huge passion for art and design from very early in his life. He tells us that he knew he was gay from a very young age and used art as a means to escape as well as to develop skills that gave him confidence and validation. Being good at drawing meant he wasn’t seen or didn’t feel like just that ‘queer kid’. He beautifully shares that his “creativity came from his queerness”.
Have you ever struggled with your mental health?
In this clip, Mel shares with us his journey with grief, his mental health and how his mother passed away when he was a teenager.
He shared that he had to be taken out of university after having a mental break down and then came back a year later, only to find himself more in love with what he was doing.
It’s so refreshing to hear these types of stories because we can always assume that everyone’s journey is linear and straight forward.
It’s beautiful to hear the rawness and openness on how Mel navigated all of this at such a young age.
Do you think it’s important to put yourself out there?
In this clip, Mel shares his journey of how he got his first job creating logos. He shares that he didn’t have the skillset or didn’t feel like he was qualified for the job, but pushed himself to get better at his craft.
This then led to him building an amazing skill set within branding.
He shares that it’s important for creatives to put themselves out and build their portfolios to get the type of work they want.
What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
This is a question that we always ask at the end of each interview. It’s always so beautiful to acknowledge your journey on how far you’ve come and what it has taken for you to get to where you are now.
In this clip, Mel shares that he wishes that he followed his passion more instead of being so worried about getting an adult job.
He shares his passion for fine art painting and to lean more into what brings you joy.
Tanice is an Irish-Jamaican, Belfast based content creator who focuses on aesthetics, fashion, beauty and lifestyle. Tanice offers content creation, social posting and events services.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a fashion content creator and influencer?
Tanice is a content creator and influencer and the 4th creative we have interviewed for ‘Our Time is Now’ video podcast series which focuses on telling the stories of creatives from Belfast.
In her interview we hear about Tanice’s creative journey from getting pregnant at 18, through studying and working in Law for 10 years and how through using Instagram to express her creativity through fashion and makeup and her style overtime she was approached by brands and became a professional content creator and influencer.
Tanice dives into what being a content creator is like, how she navigates her job and gives us a peek into the fashion world.
Tanice’s story is a story of determination and resilience. She talks about how important it is to be yourself if you want people to connect with you online.
We hope you enjoy this conversation and are inspired to follow your creative dreams.
We dive into her story of how she got pregnant at 18 and was determined to prove everyone wrong and finish school and go to university to study law.
She shares that she pushed herself because she wanted to create an amazing life for herself and her son and that was the motivation she needed.
What an inspiring story!
In this clip, Tanice shares her journey of working as a lawyer for 10 years and gives us an insight of what the corporate world looks like.
She shares that in the corporate world, it’s very focused on climbing the ladder and how many men would rise through the ranks.
She shares that it wasn’t a place for her to express her fullself and wasn’t able to express her creativity.
It’s so incredible to have heard so many stories of resilience within this project so far. How people have lost their loved ones and overcome grief, which lead them to really expressing themselves creatively.
In this clip, Tanice shares how she lost her dad a few years ago and how that impacted her mentally and physically. She shares how she felt so lost and didn’t know what to do with herself.
When she took some extended time off from work, she started documenting her life, sharing the things that she loved. From there, her husband said that she should post the photographs she was taking on Instagram and that became the start of her creating her brand. Creativity was the thing that got her through the hardest time in her life. How incredible.
In this clip, Tanice shares how she became a professional content creator and influencer. She talks about how it gradually went from a hobby to regular work until she felt confident to hand in her notice and become full-time self-employed.
She shares how she always remained true to herself, her values and only working with brands that she aligned with.
There is such a thrill when you pursue your creative path full time. The road is scary because you don’t have a consistent income.
However you push yourself to go get your dream and make it a reality.
What an inspiring story so far and we hope you’ve taken a lot of inspiration from Tanice.
Tony is a learning design and founder of People Playbook a global learning and development consultancy that crafts and facilitates learning experiences which are fresh, engaging and interactive.
We are so excited to share with you our last interview of this podcast series. Over the last 5 weeks, you have heard from such a range and diverse group of people who live and thrive in Belfast.
This week we are excited to share Tony’s story. Tony McGaharan is a learning design and founder of People Playbook a global learning and development consultancy that crafts and facilitates learning experiences which are fresh, engaging and interactive. Tony is our 5th and final interviewee for this series of ‘Our Time is Now’ and we are delighted to be sharing his interview with you this week.
In this clip to start the week Tony dives into how he struggled with confidence as a kid, but developed his confidence through living in a different country when he was young. He shares how by living in America, it inspired him to think about his life differently. Tony talks about how he always knew he wanted to work with young people so started coaching basketball at a young age. This was the building blocks of his life and the lessons he learnt during that period run through his entire life until now.
In this clip, Tony shares a beautiful story illustrating how he built his confidence in his early 20’s.
Tony moved to Sweden when he was 21/22 to take an Erasmus year and ended up staying for a full year acting as a coach for a female basketball team. He shares a moment when he was doubting himself and didn’t feel like he was qualified, but overcame that doubt by believing he could learn what he needed to.
He really believed that he could do it and anything that he lacked in skills or experience, he could make up for by his passion to learn.
This is a great story about putting yourself out there and taking the risks you need to move forward towards the dreams that you have.
Our Time is Now is a video podcast series produced by Creating A Space with graphics by Me, Him and Her
Project supported by Belfast City Council
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