We had the good fortune of connecting with Meilani Welbeck and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Meilani, career-wise, where do you want to be in the end?
To be honest, the end goal isn’t really an end goal. I pray that my hands never retire from design. I absolutely LOVE what I do and cannot imagine myself living a life where I’m no longer doing it! lol I will say that, I eventually want to get to a point where my design firm runs itself and I am able to employ black and hispanic designers to run it while I focus on building and growing Shameless Magazine full time. I see myself designing full time and curating the magazine, traveling, exploring the world and implementing my inspiration into every single issue.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve been designing for almost 10 years now. It’s funny because, although I’ve been a graphic designer for that long, I’ve always drawn and sketched and painted and created things. I have always loved the freedom of creating and bringing to life all the “what-ifs” in my head. To this day, my greatest accomplishment in my design career was the one that carried the most impact for a client of mine. She’s no longer a live, but through rebranding her catering company we managed to pull her out of homelessness and depression and rebuild her clientele. I love when my designs change people’s lives for the better. I’ve spent years and hours upon hours upon hours designing. When I didn’t have clients, I used to wake up early every single morning and take myself to Starbucks and create work for pretend clients. I’ve really worked very hard on my craft, learning my tools and understanding my craft from so many different angles. I KNOW what I’m doing and it took a lot of hard work and years to be able to design the way I do it, how I do it. What sets me apart from other designers is that I have the ability to see vision and bring it to life. I can design an entire campaign on little to no direction and hit the nail on the head every single time. I see vision. Some lessons I’ve learned along the way are that one: Never marry your own ideas. Always be willing and able to adapt and be flexible with what you’re doing. and two: Never attach yourself to your client’s vision. Do your best to protect the integrity of the project and speak up when needed, however, ultimately, you are in the chair as the consultant, not the founder. I’d love the world to know that my business was birthed through a time of necessity. I was pregnant in high school and needed the money, yet I stumbled into my purpose in the process. My business saved me from a lot of situations that could have really affected my life, and now I dedicate my business to be a blessing for others.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh man! Okay, so first of all I’m taking her on a friendship hike at Griffith park, or a jog in the park. Then, we’re going to Tea Pop while we discuss purpose/ideas. Then, I’d take her to downtown LA for some shopping and exploring. Then we would visit one of my favorite restaurants, Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurant. Since we’ll already be in the area we would hit up the Gourmet popcorn place, Popcornopolis in Studio City. I think at least two times that week we’ll go to the Republic of Pie and listen to some live music while we sip our dirty chai tea lattes. We would also go to Venice beach once, and Docweiler beach to have an amazing bonfire. We’d visit the Walk of Fame and check out the Museum of Selfies. We would also make our way to some other live shows that may be in the area: poetry shows, singing, etc. Lastly, I’d have to let her check out Comfort LA, one of my favorite places to eat.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Absolutely! I credit a lot of my success to my mom, who silently gained success as a single mother of 5 while I watched. I also have to credit God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The trinity is where my faith, support, hope and strength come from, and without them, I would have literally died years ago.
Linkedin: Meilani Welbeck
Felisha Carrasco, Darius Carter, Leah Raye