202 episodes

Windowsill Chats is a podcast for artists and creatives who are curious about what it's like to live, work & walk a creative path. You'll find honest stories, refreshing tips, artistic business advice and real conversations with global artists & makers just like you. Host Margo Tantau, a 30+ year Creative Director, Product Designer & maker, is a cheerleader for your success. Come grab a cuppa & join her in her sunny windowsill.

Windowsill Chats Margo Tantau

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 295 Ratings

Windowsill Chats is a podcast for artists and creatives who are curious about what it's like to live, work & walk a creative path. You'll find honest stories, refreshing tips, artistic business advice and real conversations with global artists & makers just like you. Host Margo Tantau, a 30+ year Creative Director, Product Designer & maker, is a cheerleader for your success. Come grab a cuppa & join her in her sunny windowsill.

    Finding Beauty in Everyday Life: The Power of Creative Practice and the Art of Noticing with Mary Jo Hoffman

    Finding Beauty in Everyday Life: The Power of Creative Practice and the Art of Noticing with Mary Jo Hoffman

    Margo is joined by artist, photographer and author Mary Jo Hoffman. In her previous life, Mary was an aerospace engineer until one day she decided to take up a daily practice of photographing something in nature. This daily practice turned into STILL Blog, profound revelations about the connectedness of all things, the importance of place, and her own life. Her new book, STILL: The Art of Noticing, features 275 of the most stunning photographs Mary Jo has accumulated over thousands of consecutive days of daily shooting accompanied by perceptive, deeply felt, and oftentimes humorous essays illuminating the insights gained through this daily creative practice. Mary Jo has enlisted the help of her husband, Steve, and their two children on this creative endeavor. What started out as a way to practice for retirement, has turned into a second career! Mary Jo's photos will have you looking at your own backyard in a different way and noticing much more than you ever did before.
     
    Margo and Mary Jo discuss:
    Her creative path and how she went from aerospace engineer to photographer and author
    The importance of continuing the creative process despite life events
    Creating a memory grid
    The concept of 72 microseasons and how it impacts her creativity and photography
    Benefits and challenges of committing to long-term creative projects
    Licensing Deals, her experiences in working with Target and West Elm
    Maintaining a creative life while raising a family and the impactful legacy that can leave for children
    The intricacies of finding beauty in everyday life,
    Her new book, Still: The Art of Noticing
     
    Connect with Mary Jo Hoffman:
    https://www.instagram.com/maryjohoffman/
    STILL: The Art of Noticing
    http://eepurl.com/bTvh4n (Newsletter)
     
    Connect with Margo:
    www.windowsillchats.com
    www.instagram.com/windowsillchats
    www.patreon.com/inthewindowsill
     

    • 1 hr 18 min
    Creative Current Events: Non-Competes, AI, and Burnout with Abby Campbell

    Creative Current Events: Non-Competes, AI, and Burnout with Abby Campbell

    Trying something new this week with a new little episode format! In this episode, Margo is joined for a short conversation with fellow creative and friend of the Windowsill, Abby Campbell. They explore a few recent articles and subject matter that they’ve been chewing on such as the recent FTC ruling banning non-compete agreements, a Harvard Business Review article on combating burnout, and a fascinating tech piece on Nightshade—a new tool designed to protect artists' works from AI exploitation.
     
    Have a topic or article you want to hear about in a creative current events episode? Send us a DM on Instagram! 
     
    Connect with Abby:
    https://www.abbyjcampbell.com/
    https://www.instagram.com/ajcampkc/
    https://www.pinterest.com/ajcampbell/
     
    Connect with Margo:
    www.windowsillchats.com
    www.instagram.com/windowsillchats
    www.patreon.com/inthewindowsill
     

    • 19 min
    ​​Pivot, Profit, and Purpose: Emily McDowell on Reclaiming Joy in the Creative Journey

    ​​Pivot, Profit, and Purpose: Emily McDowell on Reclaiming Joy in the Creative Journey

    Margo is joined by friend of the Windowsill, Emily McDowell. As an advisor, thought partner, and coach, Emily McDowell helps save creative entrepreneurs’ time, money, and sanity, and helps product-based brands succeed. As founder of the stationery brand Em & Friends, she created Empathy Cards, a more honest and supportive alternative to traditional sympathy cards, which drew organic coverage by hundreds of major media outlets in 22 countries and inspired a sea change to the industry. As a writer and illustrator, her work has gone viral countless times, and for over a decade, she’s been known for creating products that make people wonder if she’s been reading their diaries. Emily is also the co-author and illustrator of There Is No Good Card for This: What to Say and Do When Life Gets Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love, and offers unsolicited advice, cautionary tales, and missives from the great adventure of midlife in her Substack newsletter, Unqualified.
     
    Margo and Emily discuss:
    Her experiences in going viral unexpectedly
    the mental shift from creating for joy to creating for profit and how it affects the process and output
    The transition from owning a stationary company to creative coaching
    Challenges and revelations in manufacturing
    Keeping creativity alive amidst business endeavors
    Inclusivity and diversity in creative communities
    The psychological and creative benefits of engaging in non-monetizable creative activities
    Her experience in exiting/selling a business and having a non-compete agreement
    Licensing creative work
     
    Connect with Emily:
    www.withemilymcdowell.com
    www.thegreatergoodsalliance.com
    www.emilymcdowell.substack.com
     
    Connect with Margo:
    www.windowsillchats.com
    www.instagram.com/windowsillchats
    www.patreon.com/inthewindowsill
     

    • 1 hr 10 min
    The Artist's Path to Financial Stability: IRA Insights, Maximizing Benefits, and Reaching Full Creative Potential with Hannah Cole

    The Artist's Path to Financial Stability: IRA Insights, Maximizing Benefits, and Reaching Full Creative Potential with Hannah Cole

    Margo is joined again by tax expert for creatives, Hannah Cole. Hannah specializes in working with creative businesses and mission-driven solopreneurs. A long-time working artist herself, she’s helped tens of thousands of self-employed people skill up with accessible tax and money education, through her Money Bootcamp program, speaking engagements, and through her podcast. Margo and Hannah unpack the complex world of finances, exploring the impactful financial habits that can safeguard your future, the emotional hurdles around financial literacy, and how shifts in mindset can lead to financial empowerment. They also dive into the importance of IRA contributions and the significant tax advantages they offer, the impact of non-compete laws on wages and even some antitrust law news.
     
    Margo and Hannah discuss:
    Why understanding and managing finances can feel particularly hard for creative businesses
    Some of the mental shifts necessary for artists to tackle financial understanding and planning effectively
    Non-compete agreements 
    Antitrust laws and how small businesses are currently being impacted
    Understanding state business licensing and quarterly taxes for freelancers
    Daily investment tips to potentially reach a million-dollar retirement fund
    Hannah’s advocacy for basic, proven investment methods over complex strategies
    Why you should focus on minimizing fees and long-term wealth building
     
    Sign up for Money Bootcamp with Hannah and receive $100 off by using code WINDOWSILL at checkout!
     
    Connect with Hannah:
    https://www.sunlighttax.com/
    https://www.sunlighttax.com/podcast
    https://www.sunlighttax.com/deductionsguide
    Free class on-demand: go.sunlighttax.com/register
     
    Connect with Margo:
    www.windowsillchats.com
    www.instagram.com/windowsillchats
    www.patreon.com/inthewindowsill
     

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Building a Business that Resonates and Rewards with Leigh Standley of Curly Girl Design

    Building a Business that Resonates and Rewards with Leigh Standley of Curly Girl Design

    Margo is joined by the incredibly talented Leigh Standley, founder of Curly Girl Design. Lee has been making waves in the greeting card industry since 2003, creating beautifully crafted cards that resonate deeply. In this episode, Leigh opens up about the evolution of her business through the seismic shifts in technology and consumer behaviors over the past two decades. From the early days of e-commerce to dealing with the challenges brought on by the pandemic that forced a business model shift from wholesale to direct sales, Leigh shares her journey of adaptability, passion, and persistence. She also shares her thoughtful approach to business, emphasizing personal values, the importance of meaningful connections, and why she remains committed to crafting products that genuinely speak to the heart.
     
    Margo and Leigh discuss:
    The history of Curly Girl Design since its inception in 2003
    How her personal values have influenced the decision-making process in her business
    Why she pivoted from wholesale to direct sales and challenges that arose during the shift
    Advice for creative entrepreneurs and the importance to think beyond the “just start” phase
    The evergreen business model
    Selling meaningful, consumable items that you’re proud of as a creative
    The importance of interacting directly with your customers
    Business success beyond the financial aspect
    Her new mystery box product offering
    And more!
     
    Connect with Leigh:
    https://www.curlygirldesign.com/
    https://www.instagram.com/curlygirldesign
    https://www.instagram.com/leigh.standley/
     
    Connect with Margo:
    www.windowsillchats.com
    www.instagram.com/windowsillchats
    www.patreon.com/inthewindowsill
     

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Pattern Pulse: Fostering Creative Communities and Advocacy in the Australian Design Scene with Rachael King

    Pattern Pulse: Fostering Creative Communities and Advocacy in the Australian Design Scene with Rachael King

    Margo is joined by Aussie Surface Pattern Designer Rachael King. Obsessed with pattern from an early age, Rachael King grew up watching her talented mother making clothes not only for her and her siblings but for bridal and formal events too. While working in her mom's fabric shop, she mused over how the pattern repeated over the fabric and wondered how fabric was printed and wouldn't it be wonderful to design fabric too? It took another 23 years before Rachael was able to start a diploma in graphic design that would then lead into her dream of becoming a surface pattern designer. Represented by Nerida Hansen at Surtex in 2017 led to her first licensed collection with Spotlight stores and since then she has worked with fashion, homewares and greeting card companies, been a part owner in a print-on-demand fabric business, self-published two books, and is now teaching and mentoring in her much-loved industry. Rachael adores the connection she makes with fellow designers through her various touchpoints and feels very privileged to be able to inspire and nurture emerging surface designers.
     
    Margo and Rachael discuss:
    Rachael’s creative path and how her mom instilled a love for creativity in her
    Self-publishing her book, Pattern Pulse, after initial rejection
    Elizabeth Gilbert's book, Big Magic, and how it catalyzed her creative endeavors
    Tribulations and triumphs of women in the creative business landscape: asserting value, advocating for fair compensation, and having a network of peers and mentors
    The importance of physical art in a digital age
    Why individuality and authenticity are crucial to the art industry
    How artists can stay true to their unique style while also being commercially viable
    Challenges of building a creative community in Australia
    The influence and support that often comes from maternal figures in fostering creativity
    Thoughts and tips for artists facing low payment offers
     
    Connect with Rachael:
    www.rachaelking.com.au
    www.patternpulse.com.au
    www.instagram.com/rachaeldoesdesign
    www.instagram.com/australiansurfacedesigners
    www.facebook.com/rachaelkingdesignsbrisbane
     
    Connect with Margo:
    www.windowsillchats.com
    www.instagram.com/windowsillchats
    www.patreon.com/inthewindowsill
     

    • 1 hr 13 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
295 Ratings

295 Ratings

ShinahChang ,

Love this podcast!

Genuine and helpful conversations with creatives - as a creative business owner, I find this show really nourishing 😊💕

Sylvia Hall ,

In love

I love the intro music and I love the guests and I love the topics. I’m in love!! Thank you for this show!

Funny Francine ,

A Window of JOY!

Thank you Margo for sharing such a wonderful glimpse into creativity and the many paths it can take. I am not a visual artist, but hearing all the twists and turns each artist’s path takes fuels me to continue on my own unique and wild path, even when it doesn’t look like every one else’s. I never want the episodes to end! Thank you so much❤️

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