Today we’d like to introduce you to Megan Egan.
Megan, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I got off to a lightning-fast start this past April, 2022. Among other things, I homeschool my kids and do various work from home. My kids are involved in so many activities, but my youngest daughter has been especially excelling in horseback riding. She has a goal to start doing horse shows, and that is a costly endeavor. I was thinking about and praying about ways to fund that dream. I had a dream that night that I was making earrings out of birch bark, and this is the first time this idea had ever been introduced to me. I got up and decided to take on the challenge. That same day, my husband noted that he had seen a mature birch tree had gone down nearby, during a recent wind storm. I got to work and got the business up and running immediately. I designed a logo and ordered materials. Within a week I had made over 57 pairs of earrings. They were then available at my friend’s boutique: Wanderer Gifts & Goods in Forest Lake, MN. Next, the earrings were available for purchase at a friend’s salon in Burnsville, MN. I started to make a few sales on my new Etsy shop and began to build up my social media presence.
I decided on the name, “Pioneer Birchworks,” because the Birch Tree is known as the ‘Pioneer Species.” This is because it is the first to regrow after trauma and tragedy. It is resilient and hardy and grows all over the world. It is both a medicinal tree and a beautiful part of the landscape. It is a symbol of rebirth, growth and new beginnings. And I also chose the name to honor my pioneering ancestors in Minnesota, who had the courage and fortitude to go into the unknown, with love for their neighbors, faithfulness to God and appreciation for nature in their hearts, to build a new life.
That leads me to where you’ve found me today.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been a steep but fast learning curve, like running up a mountain. I have had to encounter problems and quickly problem solve issues with the durability and comfort of the earrings in mind, while also continuing to let creative ideas flow and new designs emerge. The overall product continues to improve and I am focused on always providing a top-notch customer experience. I have had a lot of good feedback and continue to take any negative and positive input and let it shape my earring designs and business flow. I really appreciate all of the friends who have been willing to provide honest and straightforward feedback and criticism. All of this has happened in less than a month; so clearly, I have a long way to go!
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I have a degree in Marketing, Advertising and Business Management. I worked in advertising and digital marketing in the corporate world for 6 years before choosing to stay home with my children as a full-time parent. I have continued to use my advertising, marketing and PR skills as opportunities arise along the way. I have worked on a consulting basis and also have been involved in decades of volunteer work in my Church and Community. Recently I have helped my lifelong best friend and entrepreneur to take her business online, by partnering with her to build and maintain her website and online store.
But what is the place where I find the most inspiration and joy? Nature! I grew up in the country in northern Minnesota. I spent most of my free time in the woods or riding and training my horses. I love herbal medicine and everything about trees and plants. Animals and all growing things have my heart as a nurturer. We have a few chickens and they are a total delight. I love to garden and maximize our short Minnesota growing season.
I have made jewelry for fun ever since the 6th grade, when we had a unit on business development and entrepreneurship. My friend and partner for the project and I made and sold jewelry for this endeavor. All of the students would then host a market and buy and sell each other’s products using pretend money. My partner and I ended up generating the most sales of any group during this unit. We nailed it! I think that is where the seed was first planted. The day that I got started making Pioneer Birchworks earrings, I happened to come across 2 old photos amongst some childhood keepsakes: A picture of the friend I had started the jewelry business with, and another friend with the last name, “Burch.” Funny how that works.
I have decided to consider my creative ideas as seeds and to just plant them and let them grow and flow and embrace what sprouts. I think the earrings really speak for themselves. If you are someone who has a more natural style and you like lightweight jewelry, then these birch bark earrings should be a natural fit!
Any big plans?
As for my plans for the future, I am just waking up every day and choosing to say, ‘Yes!’ to new opportunities. With each opportunity, I am giving it my all, both creatively and with sweat equity. I always say that nothing worthwhile comes to us in life without hard work, persistence and sacrifice. We reap what we sow, literally and figuratively. Next month I am taking the leap to participate in a Vintage and Maker’s Market in Shoreview, MN, put on by Shop Country Club. It’s called a Summer Social. You can find me there on June 25, from 12-5pm. Everyone is welcome! This will give me the chance to see how customers react to the products and the marketing in-person. I can gather their feedback and make changes from there. I’m hopeful for a good outcome.
- My earrings typically range in price from $16 – $25, depending on time and materials.
- Considering the current hardships many people are facing, I keep that in mind and try to keep my earrings affordable.
- Website: www.etsy.com/your/shops/PioneerBirchworks
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/pioneerbirchworks
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/PioneerBirchworks
- Other: www.pinterest.com/mamaegan