We had the good fortune of connecting with Margaret Ying and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Margaret, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Prior to running my own business, I worked in the visual effects industry where overtime was a norm. It was something I enjoyed so I thought of it as combining work with hobby time. I would work 12-13 hour days and sometimes weekends too. After a while, I realized it wasn’t sustainable if I wanted to start a family in the future. With that in mind, I took a leap of faith and decided to start my own business. Now, I run my own business but I have to admit – I work almost waking hour of the day. What I didn’t realize was that when you discover your dream and you get to do what you love, it is incredibly difficult to stop. I would be so entranced in my work that I would forget to eat, drink, or even think about sleep. I was just so excited to do what I love. For over 4 years, my entire life was all about work, and then I hit a breaking point. My mental and physical health suffered big time. I took a big step back and put my business on hiatus for a few months. As much as I loved what I was doing, I knew I needed to refocus. Now, I have a newborn baby and that has forced me to adjust my time management even more. From diving in head first and having zero work life balance, I now have to be much more conscious about my time. Many days I still feel the thrill of working and designing to my heart’s content, but I know that isn’t sustainable or healthy long-term. It is a struggle for me to achieve balance especially since I love my work so much but it is something I will keep trying to attain.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My hand-drawn artwork is very simplistic. I wanted to focus on the raw emotions and dynamic lines instead of detail so I developed simple little characters called ‘munchkins’. Luckily, this part came naturally to me because I had been doodling ‘munchkins’ for as long as I can remember and it felt so satisfying to see them become something meaningful in my business. I think the simplicity of my art is also what sets me apart from others. Being emotion-based, anyone can pick up my stickers to express themselves in their daily lives. And despite the artwork looking very basic, it took many, many years for me to get here. My professional development began as soon as I could pick up a pencil. I continued drawing and art classes throughout my adolescent years, and once I finished university, I decided to pursue art more seriously in the form of studying visual effects. I completed another degree in visual effects and that was where I picked up my skills for digital design. While the artwork was never hard for me, the process of letting go of my traditional expectations and choosing art as my career was the challenge I had to overcome. I hope my artwork inspires others to to have the courage to do what makes them happy as well.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Being an introvert and general homebody, this question is hard to answer! But Vancouver is a great place for food and sightseeing. We have so many amazing cuisines here that are done authentically. I’d probably start off with brunch at Marililu cafe before heading to the Stanley Park for a breezy bike ride along the seawall. We can pick up some Japadogs downtown and visit Pacific Center for some shopping fun then end the day with dinner at one of the restaurants in historic Gastown. For the outdoor fans, I would recommend a stroll around Queen Elizabeth park, or a hike of the Eagles Bluff trail for great views of the city, or a quick day trip to Whistler to enjoy its cozy atmosphere. Other iconic places to visit in Vancouver are Grandville Island and Steveston Village where we can find fresh seafood and delicious frozen yogurt! Finally, my favourite place is the RAPS cat sanctuary in Richmond where you can visit over 700 cats!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
All that I’ve been able to accomplish is thanks to my incredible parents and sisters. There are many others whose support I absolutely cherish, but my family are the ones who built up my confidence every day of my life. My parents helped me believe in myself, and my sisters constantly challenged me along the way. Without them, I wouldn’t have the courage to run my own business.