Meet Grace Manuel
Hi, nice to meet you! Tell us about yourself and what you create.
Hi there! My name is Grace Manuel and I am a maker and industrial designer currently living in Minneapolis. I live with my wonderful husband (who is also a designer) and two trouble-making huskies.
What was your AHA moment?
After finishing school getting my Master’s I started working in an agency, and while I got to design wonderful things, I also spent most of my day at a computer looking at a screen. I have always loved making things for other people, and although it was not as spontaneous as one singular moment, over time I realized I need to get back to that!
Where do you draw your energy and inspiration from?
I am around a lot of creative and inspiring people, so I am constantly inspired by my family, friends and co-workers who are trailblazing different creative paths. I also find it really refreshing to get out of design and travel or be immersed in nature. Something about being around things created by the universe puts my mind at ease.
What are you go-to’s as far as podcasts, books or blogs?
I love all of those things! My favorite podcasts are Flash Forward (when I’m in the mood for some sci-fi), Call Your Girlfriend (when I miss my best friends), and This American Life (for all other times). Blog-wise, I have been a long-time follower of Cup of Jo (motherhood around the world, week of outfits, conversations with four year olds, the list goes on and on), Faux Martha is my minimalist muse, and swissmiss is great for some creative motivation and inspiration.
What is the most challenging part of running your business?
Cozy Creature is a new business, so I have to focus on building it up and also having the patience to let things happen at their own pace. I am not a patient person, so this is a huge challenge for me.
What is your favorite part of running your business?
This may be cheesy, but I love every part! I am a strange type of person who enjoys the balance of the mundane bill keeping and the creative product development! While you are doing one, the other can work itself out in the back of your brain.
What is the best advice that has been given to you?
One of my creative mentors told me two things that I try to remind myself of: “you can’t make the wrong decision” and “no choice is the wrong choice”. I am a constant worrier and planner so these things help ground me.
What is your favorite thing about the handmade community?
Having the experience of working in an agency and a corporate environment, I find that the handmade community is a refreshing group that is full of people trying to build each other up! It seems to me like competitiveness is replaced by community and collaboration. If one of us succeeds, we all do!
Who are some people you admire or look up to in this community?
This is a hard one. I have so many! My mom taught me everything I know about being a seamstress and is a maker herself. My husband is a maker and designer who encourages me and pushes me creatively everyday! Minneapolis has been a great place grow and my list will fill up quickly with friends, makers and creative mentors: Meenal Patel, Jessie Schneider, Chris Crammer, Dave Currie, Jill Hooten, Iglika Petrova. Outside of my local circle would be Melanie Abrantes, Polkadot Club, Monroe Workshop.
If you could work on that one dream project, what would it be?
I really don’t believe I have one dream project! I think my creative mind always has me thinking ten steps ahead about where Cozy Creature can go next and what I can build it into.