The Wickedly Talented Ladies of Macabre Merch: Six Questions for the Beauty and Brains Behind the Killer Shop, Mouth of Madness
If you love enamel pins like I do, you absolutely must check out the wonderfully talented and wickedly cool horror artist and pin maker who runs Mouth of Madness, an online and Etsy store specializing in Horror-inspired pins. I’ve ordered several pins from this amazing shop, and they are so stunning in person…exceptionally well designed and beautifully packaged. Run by a truly kind and passionate member of the Horror community, as well as a strong supporter of other small businesses, this is one of those shops where you can feel good spending your hard earned money.
1. What was the inspiration for starting your own business and how did you get started?
It was one of those things born out of frustration. I had (have) a pretty decent job, but it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing. I wasn’t sure how to change careers and was doing a lot of soul-searching, trying to think of a way to enjoy my work life more. My husband kept encouraging me to do something related to horror, since I love it so much. I collected horror pins and thought I could bring something a little different to the market.
I also have a need to always be doing something creative. All that came together in my decision to start creating my own pins. I saved enough money to fund my first pin, a Metropol ticket from Demons, and I was off and running. I haven’t stopped since.
2. When and how did you fall in love with horror?
That is hard to say! I feel like I’ve loved horror for as long as I can remember. There are certain times I can think of, however, that escalated my fanaticism for the genre. The first horror movie I saw in the theater was Poltergeist. I was really pretty young and it terrified me …but I also found that I really liked that feeling. I wanted to see more!
Not too long after that, I talked my parents into letting me see The Exorcist. I couldn’t finish watching that one until years later, but I thought about it all the time.
The film that turned me into the full-blown obsessive horror fanatic though, would have to be A Nightmare on Elm Street. I loved Freddy. LOVED Freddy. The chase and kill scenes were so creepy and imaginative. I was hooked.
3. Where does inspiration for your products come from? What is your creative process like?
My biggest inspiration comes from the horror films that I love. To me, they are like small tributes to these movies that have come to mean so much to me.
As for my process, I tend to have moments where all of a sudden an idea pops into my head. Some designs are planned long in advance, but I think my favorite ones come from an idea that seems to suddenly come out of nowhere. I tend to have creative bursts where I’ll have a flood of ideas that pop up all at once. From these ideas, I start designing and planning. Some designs are made into pins pretty quickly, while others get filed away to come back to later.
4. What’s the best part about running your own business, and what’s the hardest part?
I love the freedom that comes with owing my own business. It’s great to be in charge of all the decisions, both creatively and on the business side. The more difficult parts are things like dealing with manufacturing issues, not having help when things get super busy, and having to sometimes be your own cheerleader when sales are slow.
5. Tell me why you think it’s important for people to support small business? Is it especially important for people to support female-owned business (if so, why)?
As someone who has worked for a few big companies, I think it’s extremely important to support small business. Small businesses are usually started as someone’s labor of love. They tend to offer art and goods that would not be available otherwise. It’s the American dream to be able to start and grow a business.
Big companies seem to keep getting bigger and with that, we lose the human side of business. I think supporting small business is essentially supporting people, versus supporting corporate monopolies. There are some very good larger companies, but they are often the ones that really began as a small business driven by someone’s passion.
It is indeed especially important for people to support female-owned businesses. Historically, women have had to work much harder than men to be seen as worthy and equal. I think it’s still harder for female-owned businesses to get the same attention. Women especially should seek to give support to other women so we can continue a move towards greater equality and opportunity.
I think the horror community is wonderful. I see a lot more open mindedness and less prejudice compared to other areas in life. Still, every now and then, misogynistic attitudes show themselves. I think that’s something that we will have to keep working against, and again why it’s important to support women in business.
I do want to add that some of the people that have helped me the absolute most in my business have been men. I never felt they supported me because I was a woman. I believe they supported me based on my work. I appreciate and adore each of them for this. I hope they know who they are!
6. How can people follow/interact with you on social and purchase your products? And is there anything else you’d like to add or promote?
My pins can be purchased at mouthofmadness.bigcartel.com. I also have a shop on Etsy, MouthOfMadnessShop. We are pretty active on Instagram at @mouth_of_madness_shop , and love to hear from our supporters there! On Facebook, we can be found at MouthofMadnessShop.