Right at the end of March, I received an email that immediately made my heart jump out of my chest. The email was from Elisha, a Virginian-Pilot reporter, and she wanted to talk with me about Merpug. For any readers outside of the area, The Virginian-Pilot is “a Pulitzer-prize-winning metro serving almost 300,000 readers daily” in Southeast Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. And now, a reporter from The Pilot wanted to do a story on Merpug. THIS WAS A HUGE DEAL. I read the email through several times to make sure I was seeing things correctly.
My first thoughts were, “How did this happen? How did she find out about me??” Even though I work very hard at my business in all aspects, I do feel like a small-fry compared to other local businesses. So, how did I make a blip on her radar? The answer was VisitNorfolk! They posted on their Facebook page about Merpug when they first started selling them in the Visitor’s Center gift shop. All of my thanks goes to Barbara of VisitNorfolk, because she put all of this in motion by giving the Merpugs a chance at the gift shop!
We met for the interview in mid-May at VisitNorfolk. I will admit that I have some anxiety problems that I battle with, and I ended up getting an Uber ride to VisitNorfolk because I was so nervous! Right when I got there I felt calmer- it was my first time seeing the gift shop in person. I couldn’t help but smile to see a little “Norfolk Merdogs” section with Merpug plush, artwork, keychains, and necklaces. Barbara and I talked briefly before the photographer, The’, arrived at the shop. The’ was extremely nice and put me at ease. At one point in our conversation he talked about how interesting his job was. He said that he never knows what kind of person he’s going to meet with and take pictures of until he arrives, so he can never truly plan how a shoot is going to go. He told me that with such a goofy, silly design as Merpug, he wondered if I would be quirky or kind of strange, but then he was shocked because I was so normal. That really made me laugh! 🙂
When Elisha arrived, my heart was still flying! I was glad to be sitting, because I was so shaky (I’m laughing right now thinking about it). Elisha was extremely nice and easy to talk with. Elisha, Barbara, The’ and I sat in the gift shop and discussed so many different things related to my business, like doing shows, inspirations for Merpug, my creative process, living in Norfolk, how well the Merpugs have been doing at VisitNorfolk, and more. The interview was very conversational and easy to get through, and I was surprised how quickly it flew by!
First thing this morning I received a text and picture of the newspaper article from my mom. She said she’s going to frame it and also bought multiple copies (I’m laughing again writing this!) I’ve also received numerous texts, messages and Facebook comments today about the article. I am so thankful for the continued support of my husband, parents, family and friends! It is a ridiculous amount of work running a business, and honestly, their love and excitement for my new projects and successes keeps me from getting burned out!
Many thanks to Elisha for considering my story as worthy for The Pilot! I couldn’t stop smiling as I read through the article. And I honestly hope at least 50% of this blog post makes sense, because right now I’m so happy and excited that I cannot think straight!! 🙂
“Merpug”: In a city obsessed with mermaids, could this be a winning Norfolk-inspired toy?