They're creative and they're babes. (^^^^I mean, c'mon)
Megan Leigh Barnard (left) and Hilary Buchanan (right) are the co-founders of Creative Babes, a community of women who gather to collaborate with and inspire each other, do good within the community, and just radiate authenticity, creativity, and kick-a$s-ness. How to become a creative babe? They'd be sure to tell you you're already one! How to become a babe member? $10 monthly or $100 annually gives you access to deals to women owned + co-owned businesses, membership pricing on all Babe Events, inclusion in and access to their Creative Babes Directory and, in the words of Hilary and Megan, "more dope shit!"
The Reference Club: What is Creative Babe’s and how did it become what it is today?
Creative Babes: Well, we don’t have much of an elevator speech to be honest! But Creative Babes is a community of women. We always say, “if you wanna be a babe, you’re a babe.” It’s about women building each other up, doing cool shit together, making meaning out of our lives. We throw workshops, markets, happy hours, we make coloring books (that we donate to kids in need that are in the hospital, are refugees, are in counseling). We get creative! And nope, you don’t need to be in the traditional “creative” industry to be a Creative Babe. We have one babe who recently told us that she tells others that Creative Babes is synonymous with Curious Women, and we LOVE that.
TRC: Ok, I just subscribed to receive Babe Mail (actually!). Hilary, you’re an Art Director at Pixel Park, a motion graphics studio in Grandview, Ohio and Megan, you’re a freelance photographer. How do you balance your separate careers and being co-founders of Creative Babes?
Hil: Hah, I’m still working on this for sure! I’m a little bit of a workaholic, but not necessarily proud of that. I’m learning to work smarter, not necessarily longer hours. It’s a journey, and I’m not quite where I want to be yet. But isn’t that life? For now, I do the best I can with the task in front of me.
MLB: Ohhh buddy, that’s a good question. It’s definitely a work in progress. Systems that I have in place, to help create balance, might work awesome one month and then bomb the next. One thing that’s been consistent for us this year is having “babe practice” (kind like band practice) every Tuesday at one of our houses where we get together to work on babes stuff and dream up what we’r going to do for that week/month.
TRC: What three emojis best describe Creative Babes?
🔥 💞 👊
TRC: Hilary, would you rather network over coffee or happy hour drinks?
Hil: Truthfully, I don’t have a preference as long as I’m talking one-on-one with someone. That’s where I live. I love to have really meaningful, intentional conversations with people. I want to leave a conversation feeling like I really know and understand someone. Preferably the coffee will be black and bourbon neat.
TRC: Megan, succulents or flowers?
MLB: Flowers! I love succulents but my apartment doesn’t get enough direct sunlight to keep them alive. There is also something really beautiful about a flower's life cycle.
TRC: When was the last time someone inspired each of you and what did they do or say?
Hil : I was recently tremendously inspired by a Ted Talk given by Caroline Myss (recommended to me by fellow babe Jenna Long.) The talk is titled, “Choices that Can Change your Life.” It struck a chord with me in a million ways - but what I loved most was her idea that when faced with suffering we have 2 choices - wisdom or woe. It made me want to dust myself off, get up and get moving. It made me want to stop feeling sorry for myself. I can either let myself become a victim of life’s cruelty, or I can learn from it and share that wisdom with others. It has really shifted my mindset. She’s also super badass and doesn’t play games. Hell yeah, Caroline!
MLB: My therapist changed my life when she taught me about Mindfulness. This last year I started having panic attacks on the regular. I started seeing a therapist to help me figure out what the hell was going on with me. She told me that I cannot control the fact that anxiety, pain and discomfort are part of life. What I can control is how I interact with that anxiety, pain and discomfort. I of course was like “Ummm… no, I would just like you to fix me, thanks!” Haha Once I got around to accepting that fact, I was able to stop fearing panic attacks, work hard on arming myself with breathing techniques and mindfulness + meditation practices. What started as the hardest year of my life, ended up leading me down a path to living a more intentional life.
TRC: I like you two. Thank you for sharing that. Do you think Columbus is an inviting and encouraging city for female entrepreneurs and career women in general?
Creative Babes: Yes, absolutely. We’ve seen our community flourish and have witnessed really fantastic relationships form among “competitors.” It’s been pretty incredible. That’s somewhat of an individual choice, if not completely - and we think it proves we have incredible individuals living in this city. We’re supportive, smart, and intentional. It’s good stuff.
TRC: Has your original goal or plan for Creative Babes evolved over time? If so, how?
Creative Babes: This always makes us laugh, because Creative Babes was pretty much an accident! Or fate, however you want to look at it. It’s an idea we had over drinks one night and threw together an event that very same evening. We had no idea that 3 years later we’d still be throwing events and looking into making it a career. We are constantly challenged, excited, and blown away by what it has become. We couldn’t be more grateful for the ways that we’ve been able to flex our own creativity and grow. Owning your own business is kinda nuts, and yeah, we’re a business! We’re toying with some bigger ideas, so we’ll see where it all heads.
TRC: I'll use your story the next time my gal pals turn down happy hour. If you find yourselves in situations that aren’t going the way you want them to, what do you do?
Creative Babes: You mean, like all the time? Hah. No, but really. Throwing events and working with people means there will always be friction, failure, and surprises. We’ve always tried to roll with the punches. When we have fewer people show up to events than anticipated, we always say, “whoever was supposed to be there, was there.” Life’s too short to get caught up in too much stress or bullshit. We’re here for the fun, for the meaning and for the growth.
TRC: (You guys, who's going to the next event with me??!) Speaking of babes, what are the most valuable lessons you’ve received from your moms?
Hil: I am very thankful to have a great relationship with my mom. And I look just like her!! I think the most valuable lesson I’ve learned from my mom is that it means so much to show up. I was an every-season athlete growing up, and my mom never missed a game or competition. Not a. Single. One. There’s no way she will ever know how much that means to me and how that made me feel. I feel that I’m a very healthy individual because of that. I’ve always felt completely supported and cherished. So I guess in a way my mom has taught me that there is no substitute for action. Love you, mom!
MLB: Awww, I love my Momma! A fun thing about being in my thirties is that I find myself telling her “you were right!” a lot. Anyone who knows me knows my love for nature, especially trees. That comes from her. When we would walk through a park, she would stop and stare at a big tree and ponder how old it was and what kind of wisdom it had gained from its long life. She could sense the life running through. She taught me to look at nature with respect and awe and how to feel connected and present in my surroundings. I would be lost without that connection. She also encouraged me to express myself however I wanted to when it came to fashion. All those wild outfits and hair colors helped me to feel confident in who I was. Oh and I can’t forget, she’s the one that got me into photography and taught me the importance of documenting your memories. I’m proud to be her daughter!