Today we are honored to have Melanie Royals of Royal Design Studio and Modello Designs here with us. Well, of course, she is not actually here with us, but she did so graciously agree to take a few moments from her busy schedule for this little interview.
Melanie is a self taught artist and one busy entrepreneur. Many of you reading this blog have probably purchased her stencils, modellos, books, videos or taken a class taught by Melanie. Her reputation precedes her at decorative painting conventions and her classes are always among the first to sell out.
The art of stenciling has been elevated to new heights with her creative interpretations of designs, the introduction of modellos, and her innovative use of combining stenciled elements with a variety of product lines.
As a professional stenciler and decorative painter, I know her designs have only helped to increase my`skill level and bottom line when it comes to creating finishes for my clients. While I find myself using modellos more and more, I still also use the many stencils I have purchased from the Royal Design Studio line over the years. These classic designs have stood the test of time and have proved to be wise investments.
A long time admirer, I had a zillion questions for Melanie, but knew she was one busy woman, so spared her by editing my long list first!
Painter Girl: You seem to be the most organized and energized woman I know! How do you manage to get so much accomplished? What does a typical day’s To Do List look like for you?
Melanie: Ha! Energized-almost always. Organized-not so much! I don’t really even have a To Do list. I’m not a linear thinker OR worker. Everything is continually swirling around in my head and my life and what gets done today is usually what HAS TO get done today. I can say that I have some very good employees who DO make lists and try to keep me focused. My theory is that if you just keep moving forward on things they will eventually get “done”.
Painter Girl: What designs/themes/cultures are influencing you now?
Melanie: While I always love and appreciate classic ornament, I am really strongly drawn lately to Art Deco and strong geometric forms. I am really happy to see “modern” style decorating taking on a softer, more livable (live with it) look with the addition of a lot of pattern and texture. I think it opens up a lot more opportunities for incorporating decorative finishes and patterned finishes. I’m seeing a lot of Ancient/Modern and Vintage/Modern looks and they are very appealing!
Painter Girl: The industry has lost and continues to lose so many large and small stencil companies. How has this impacted your stencil and modello lines?
Melanie: Well, I think that stenciling as a resurgent art form really peaked around the turn and early part of this century and a lot of people rode that wave. As it is a fashion cycle, that type of decoration is really not at the forefront now. It’s not the latest “big thing”, but it HAS become a decorating staple that will remain and I think that the opportunity is there to reintroduce it to a new generation. It just has to be packaged and presented a bit differently. That’s something I am working on with my own stencil line.
One of the main reasons that I introduced the Modello Decorative Masking Patterns 5 years ago was that I had the sense that the stencil market as we knew it had peaked and people would be looking for something that could allow them to do more, explore more, create more. I always try to look ahead and look beyond “what’s now” to “what’s next”.
Painter Girl: As a professional, I find myself using modellos more and more, but still definitely see a strong use/case for stencils. Will you keep expanding the stencil line or will your focus shift strongly toward the modellos?
Melanie: Stenciling will always have a place. It’s the most useful tool for repeating pattern that has ever been invented! I’ve discovered that my main love is not necessarily designing patterns, but rather designing looks and finishes WITH patterns. I have a lot of ideas for how to integrate the two mediums together, whether it be for grand ceiling treatments or fun allover wall finishes. Both mediums have aspects that make them highly useful for some things and not practical for others. I want to offer the best of both worlds.
Painter Girl: What is your favorite part of running this business?
Melanie: Being completely in control of my own destiny-global financial meltdowns notwithstanding. I couldn’t tolerate not being able to act on my ideas or being told “no, you can’t do that”. Also, being able to think creatively and put those thoughts into action and into ideas and products that people need, want and benefit from. I love it when people make a point to tell me that things that they’ve learned from me or have been inspired by have helped them reach farther in their careers and helped them fulfill their dreams.
Painter Girl: What is your least favorite?
Melanie: It’s hard for me to find any balance because I am either at something 100% or 0%. Right now, and for the last 15 years, it’s been all-consuming-by choice! It might be nice to engage in another “hobby” someday!
Thanks for being such a good sport and answering all of my questions, Melanie!