PE Interview Series Vol.2 - Carol from Meow Illustration

PE Interview Series Vol.2 - Carol from Meow Illustration

[Editor's Note: Meow Illustration stands out as a beloved stationery brand among our Pinky Elephant community. We had the privilege of interviewing Carol, the creative force behind the brand, delving into her artwork, inspirations, life beyond art, and her aspirations for the brand. Carol's sincere and detailed responses were truly surprising and deeply appreciated. To me, Carol is more than a vendor or a super talented illustrator, she is a good friend who would lend me a hand when needed, and would patiently listen to all my small biz crazy stories. I hope you'll find as much joy in reading our interview as I did in conducting it.  - RJ]

Q1: How did the story begin with Meow Illustration? What’s your background in art and illustrations?

Carol: Hi, I am Carol, and everyone also loves to call me Meow.

Actually, my major is IT and project management.

After graduating with a Master's degree from the Australian National University (ANU), I initially had a stable job with the Singapore government in Land Transport Authority as a Project Manager. While the work was sometimes tedious, there were also shining moments when I presented projects to the Singapore Prime Minister.

However, with an adventurous heart that couldn't settle down, in 2015, I decided to resign and embarked on travel around the world with my partner, using all the savings from three years of work. After visiting 85 cities in many different countries, I realised that life can be lived in a much different way, so I decided to switch careers from IT.

I'm off to pursue art!

I've always loved painting and drawing since I was young. I've always had a passion for nature and plants. Hence, the birth of Meow Illustration by me. :)


Q2: What’s a typical day for you look like?

Carol: As a mother of two, family is now my top priority. I strive to balance my time between my family and work everyday.

I'm grateful for the flexibility this job offers, allowing me to spend quality time with my children, focus on painting, and dedicate myself to creating stationery. Time management is key, and I always make sure it's used wisely. 

My mornings are typically busy with getting my kids ready for school - helping them with their morning routines, preparing breakfast, and then tidying up the house. Once they're off to school, I have my personal time back, which I cherish and want to utilise fully.

Given the multiple roles I play, my workdays vary but always start by addressing all customer orders and responding to emails. The rest of the day is planned according to different work schedules - drawing, working on designs, photo shoots for products, planning new product releases, and exhibition planning, etc. Then, it's time to pick up the kids again and spend time with them. :)

Occasionally, I dedicate a whole day to myself, indulging in ceramics, which I find very therapeutic. Taking good care of myself is also part of my job, keeping me in the best physical and mental health.


Q3: What are your inspirations? I know you love gardening and painting. Are these flowers are inspired by your garden mostly?

Carol: I live in Canberra, Australia, a place that perfectly preserves its natural beauty. When I go to Costco for groceries every weekend, we will drive through beautiful landscapes of mountains, green fields, and leisurely grazing cattle and sheep. All of my inspiration comes from my life, my adorable little garden, the places where my children and I often take walks, or beautiful places me and my family travels. These are all the moments when inspiration strikes me. I hope to share these lovely inspirations and creative ideas through my stationery products with everyone. It’s such a private way of sharing my little thoughts with the people holding our products in hand.


Q4: What’s the hardest part in making the product?

Carol: My current biggest challenge is controlling product costs at the moment. I am passionate about every aspect of our products, from the design to the texture to the details. I aim to achieve perfection in every small element and want to express various small ideas in each product as much as possible. However, this sometimes makes the production of the product an impossible task or drives the cost sky-high. There are times when I'm so committed to the idea of creating a product that I don't mind if it doesn't turn profitable, but there's also the reality to consider. Finding a balance between these aspects is something I'm still learning.

Q5: What’s your biggest setback ever? How did you manage to overcome it finally?

Carol: The biggest setback we faced was during the COVID period, when we couldn't interact with our customers face-to-face, and there were very few opportunities for exhibitions, slowing down everything considerably. However, we still love to share our daily lives and the little joys we could find within crafting or painting or making products with everyone on social media, helping us all get through that incredibly tough period together. Now, as exhibitions have gradually started up again and I’m so happy seeing familiar faces once again!


Q6: We know you have two cute boys. Do they love stationery or painting? During the product design and release, what’s hardest thing in life while raising the two young kids?

Carol: My two little ones are now 4 years old and they absolutely love drawing like me! Sometimes, looking at their artwork gives me new inspirations too, it's just so adorable!

Although the kids are incredibly cute, they do take up a lot of my time and energy. Finding moments to work on my own things while being with them is always challenging, and I often have to end up sacrificing sleep to get things done.


Q7: Who is your favorite artist or stationery illustrator?

Carol: Fion Stewart, a beautiful artist who always strives to make life as beautiful as a painting. (You can view her instagram here. -RJ) 


Q8: What’s your current favorite thing to do?

Carol: Ceramic! Playing with mud is truly a joyful experience, almost like a therapeutic journey for my soul. It's a form of happiness that doesn't require anyone else's appreciation, it's the joy I give to myself.


Q9: How do you see Meow illustration as a brand in 5 years, or even 10 years? 

Carol: Meow Illustration was started out of passion and love with stationery and art. However we have pretty big ideas about where we want to go in the next 10 years.

We would like to brighten not just your stationery but also your lifestyle!

We hope you’ll follow along with us as we dream up ideas to make your world a little more colourful.


Q10: Do you have any advice for people who loves arts and wanted to build a brand like you?

Carol: Just like I love pottery, if you love it, just do it! Pick up a brush and paint, whether the result is good or not, it doesn't matter to anyone but yourself. Do it to please yourself and find happiness.

If you truly want to pursue it seriously as a career, dare to dream. Take small baby steps towards achieving those dreams. We're only here in this world for a few decades, so do what you want to do with our time here. Follow your passions and make your dreams come true!


Q11: Do you have anything more to tell Pinky Elephant’s community?

Carol: Thank you so much to the Pinky Elephant’s community for the love towards Meow Illustration. I'll continue to create interesting works!

I also hope that everyone can find little moments of happiness in their lives. Use stationery, notebooks, use pens, stickers, wash-tape, use stamp and drawings to record them, turning them into memories that won't fade away.


❤️Thank you so much, Carol!

You can find Carol at Instagram at @carolmeoww

You can also find our Meow Illustration offerings at Pinky Elephant here

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.