Sarah Mecke’s favorite saying is, “Be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons.”
Mecke, a junior child development major, said she loves this quote because she interprets it as being unafraid and unapologetic for whom you want to be.
“Don’t let the ‘pigeons’ take away from your hopes and aspirations or make you feel bad for being unique and different,” she said.
In the last two months, Mecke has followed her own advice developing her own multi-faceted online business called “Serendipity Fine Lines.”
The first component is her online business run through Etsy. The second includes wedding calligraphy that she offers through “Ivy and Twine,” a wedding photography business. Thirdly, she employs her graphic design skills through constructing graphic designs for anyone who wants them and for a few charities in Fort Worth.
Mecke developed her business plan after the idea emerged from a visit with her mother to Michael’s Arts and Crafts store. They came across a woman who was selling her products and who told Mecke that she started by selling her items on a website called Etsy.
“I saw that and I thought to myself, ‘Oh that’s really cool, I think I could do something thing that,’” Mecke said.
She said she has always wanted to be an entrepreneur and that she already had a name picked out for such a business.
Mecke said she wanted the title of her business to branch off of her name (Sarah-ndipity). But she also chose the name because of what it stands for.
“Serendipity means finding something good without looking for it,” she said. “That is one word I would definitely use to describe my life.”
Products she sells through her business include handmade wall prints, stationary, custom designs, watercolor calligraphy, and traditional calligraphy designs.
Ashlyn Williams, owner and photographer for Ivy and Twine Wedding Photography, said that in the times she has worked with Mecke, customers have always reported loving the creativity and elegance behind her designs.
While the online business is still in it’s beginning stages, Mecke said she has already filled 12 personal orders through the Etsy account, had thousands of views on her website, as well as having “a ton” of favorites and pins through Pinterest.
At the same time, she is always tweaking and working with the website to bring people in while learning as she goes. For example, when she first added some “instant download” products onto her Etsy account, she had them priced at $15, the same price as a hard print. She said, however, that after looking around at similar accounts she decided to lower the price to five dollars to make it more affordable.
“It’s a huge learning process. I’ve never done anything like this before,” she said. “I throw something out there and see how people react and then I modify it to make it more affordable and user friendly.”
In addition to items for sale, Serendipity Fine Lines also offers a blog posted by Mecke.
“It’s a way for me to promote my work and talk about things that I think are fun, creative, and interesting that I think could inspire other people to implement them into their lives.”
One of Mecke’s recent blog posts included an instruction for a “Do It Yourself” lipstick print design to use as decoration.
“I hope people see things like that and think it looks like fun and something they could use to implement some sparkle in their lives,” she said. “Making your house more colorful and spirited can uplift your mood enormously.”
And although Mecke has only recently started selling her art designs, she’s been in the business of art for much longer than that.
“I’ve been sketching and drawing since I was in kindergarten. It’s been a huge part of me and my identity since I can remember,” she said.
When Mecke was a senior in high school, she even had her own installation exhibited at the art gallery Artspace 111 in downtown Fort Worth.
“I had created this giant tree that was made up of a bunch of recycled junk all sewn together with twine and beeswax that was melted into the cardboard,” she said. “It was really cool to have my art put out there so others could appreciate it.”
The calligraphy aspect of Mecke’s talent didn’t develop until her sophomore year of college, when she bought a calligraphy pen and began to emulate things that she saw on Pinterest until she formed her own style.
Mecke’s mother, Sherri Mecke, said that she’s been watching her daughter’s artistic talent form since she was a baby when Mecke used to break the well-known rule of “don’t play with your food” in order to create her art. Still in a boster seat, she would create horses out of her bologna, her mother said.
“She would say, ‘Look mommy a horsey,’” Sherri said. “I’d laugh and then I would look at it and think, ‘Oh my goodness that piece of bologna really does look like a horse.’”
Sherri Mecke said that was just the beginning for her daughter’s artistic talent.
“As soon as she could get a crayon in her hand she has always been ready to sit down and quietly draw,” she said.
The talent for art and fulfillment she got from it helped developer her motivation to transform it into a business.
“You see your own things and you think it’s okay. You are your own worst critic,” Mecke said. “But then seeing somebody get really excited about your work is the biggest reason why I keep doing it.”
Mecke hopes to inspire others through her art as well as her work ethic and ambition.
“If someone wanted to open their own Etsy shop doing whatever they are passionate about, I hope they would see that I’m taking a leap of faith and be inspired to do that themselves,” she said.
Sherri said that her daughter has always been internally, self-motivated like this.
“When she feels like she’s done something she’s proud of it makes her want to do more things like that,” she said. “She loves when other people appreciate her work and it perpetuates her wanting to do more things that way.”
Mecke’s best friend Adrienne Gamez, a junior corporate communications major at the University of Texas who has known Mecke since they were in kindergarten said Mecke has always chased after her passions.
“I am so proud of her for working so hard and figuring out a way to get paid for something that she really loves,” Gamez said. “Her business is a complete reflection of the person she is: unbelievably talented, a chaser of her dreams, a lover of anything pink, gold, and sparkly.”
It is these traits that Gamez said sums up what both Serendipity Fine Lines and Mecke are at their core.
It is not just her talent that plays a role in the motivation behind Serendipity Fine Lines. Mecke said her study abroad experience in Paris this last summer is equally an inspiration.
“That dream being realized and accomplished by going over and studying somewhere I have always dreamed of motivates me and gives me energy to try and accomplish other dreams like having a successful entrepreneurial business,” she said.
It was her experiences abroad that also inspired Mecke to create an entire Paris collection of calligraphy designs for her website.
She said that while she was in Paris she would visit a tiny flower shop after class every day. The owners, whom she had come to visit with frequently, would give her a bouquet of pink peonies every day for free of the ones that they couldn’t sell.
“I would always have my big bunch of peonies sticking out of the vintage Louis Vuitton my mom had gotten me for my birthday, sit down and get a coffee at a café, and try and design things while I was sitting there,” she said. “I just kept thinking this was the pinnacle of my life.”
Sherri said that what Mecke hopes to bring through her products is the same as what she hopes to bring people through her presence.
“I think she tries to be kind to everyone and one of her goals is that she wants to leave people with something good when she interacts with them,” Sherri said. “It’s the same when she sells one of her pieces of work to someone.”
For the future, Mecke hopes her business will flourish so that she can establish herself as an authority in her field.
Her dream is to open her own coffee house. But not just any coffee house. One that is two floors, part florist, part coffee shop, part stationary store, and the upstairs will contain a yoga store.
“I would enjoy having everything I love wrapped up into one and be able to share that with everyone that stops by,” she said.
Mecke puts this love into everything she creates, she said. And her mother said this certainly shows in the products she sells.
“I think in general when you love what you do, it shows in the results,” Sherri said. “That comes through in her work. I’d love to see more people be able to take advantage of her work and of the fact that she really does enjoy this.”