YAY! I got to interview a fellow Seattle-ite!
Sara does a lot. Business owner and operator. Mom. Designer. Wife. Hosts workshops. Sounders fan. And she even speaks in front of large audiences like at this Seattle Creative Mornings event.
But she still found time to answer a few questions for me and I’m so glad she did.
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Sara McNally and I own the letterpress stationery company and gift shop, Constellation & Co. My husband Brad and I are in the process of adopting our son who is 9 months old.
How did you get started doing design and letterpress work?
I went to the Ringling College of Art & Design and studied graphic design. I fell in love with the idea of letterpress during Graphic Design History, and fell in love with the hands-on practice of letterpress once I got to Seattle 6 years ago. I took a class at SVC, apprenticed for a year with a local printer, bought my own press and haven’t stopped printing since.
What inspired you to open your own letterpress studio and workshop?
I didn’t get a job out of college. It forced me to look at what I really wanted out of my career, and pursue my “someday” dreams right away. I had a lot of ideas for things I wanted to make, and printing was a way to do that.
How do you juggle your time between your family and Constellation & Co.?
Juggle is great way to put that. I work from home a ton more now that I ever have before. This year we grew our team to 5 part time employees (plus me and other family members), which really helps get the in-shop stuff done. I’ve been able to focus on being a mom while also designing new products, stocking the brick & mortar shop, ramping up our marketing and leading our team.
Outside of work, what other ways do you use your creativity?
What I love about my job is that I get to funnel my creative impulses into something practical. I get to write, draw, design, paint signs, do wood engraving and linoleum cuts, etc. Between all that and being a mom, there’s not a lot of time left. Most of my extra energy goes to supporting Seattle Sounders FC.
Follow up to yesterday’s process series. Today we gotta print the back of those beautiful business cards. Here’s what it looks like in action. #letterpressprocess #letterpress A video posted by Sara McNally (@constellationco) on
In what way(s) do you think being a founder helps you be a better parent?
I’ve learned from being a founder that I can’t control everything. That things will go wrong no matter how hard I try or how well I plan. I don’t stress about things the way I did when I started out. I think it’s kept me from being a super intense parent. I can see the value in letting him be independent and make his own mistakes in a way I wouldn’t have otherwise.
How has being a parent changed your perspective on what you do?
Being a parent has forced me to delegate and let my team do their thing. It’s encouraged me to cut back on my working hours and really focus my energy on the things that only I can be doing. I feel like I get the same amount of work done in much less time. It’s kind of magical. I was a bit of a workaholic, and now I have a sweet little boy in my life who needs my love and attention more than than my business does. The business has grown a lot this year, and I think it’s because I’ve focused on what’s truly important and said no to everything else.
Any funny, embarrassing stories, or learning experiences while running Constellation & Co.?
I mess up all the time. I’ve sent stupid e-mails, said yes to the wrong things, and been too scared to do the right things. But thankfully I’ve learned from each of those experiences, and I’m a better person for those lessons.
Are there any new products coming up or anything else you would like to promote?
We just released a bunch of new products to the public on November 1st. You can buy them online right now!
(Pssssst I also noticed Sara also runs letterpress workshops about once a week for small groups.)