Create – Meet Megan Proctor of Sea+Stone
In this series on The Southern C, readers get to “meet” many of the interesting and creative Southern entrepreneurs we know online through our social network and also in “real life” at The Southern C Summits. These individuals are the CEO’s, founders, creative directors, artists, designers, makers and doers that are shaping our landscape with their vision and ingenuity. Take a peek into their day to day life, find out what they are working on, discover their “a-ha” moment and gain insight into what motivates and inspires their work and lives.
The subjects and their niche may vary but many share the paradoxical traits of creative individuals – they daydream, observe, ask big questions, people watch, seek new experiences, view life as an opportunity for self-expression, take risks and bounce back all while following their true passions. We hope you will be inspired as we spotlight the creativity that abounds in our region. According to Einstein, “Creativity is contagious”, and we are happy at The Southern C to do our part in sharing the creativity!
Megan Proctor creates one-of-a-kind and limited edition fine jewelry using gemstones and precious metal to create a unique and enduring treasure for the modern woman. For her line, aptly named Sea+Stone, these exquisite designs are inspired by a wonder for nature and passion for life.
Growing up in Tallahassee, Florida, Megan spent much of her childhood on a farm just south of the Georgia state line and on a small stretch of quiet beach along the Gulf Coast. It was this lifestyle that developed an insatiable sense of wonder and curiosity for nature at a young age. She found herself creating jewelry as a means of capturing the beauty by which she was surrounded.
Her love of creating led her to first to SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design), where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Metals & Jewelry. After that, she moved to New York City, where Megan worked as a costume jewelry designer for Coach and later as a fine jewelry designer for Alexis Bittar. With many years of experience under her belt, Megan’s love of the South led her back home where she continues to design and be inspired by her surroundings and her sources of wonder… sea and stone.
Describe your brand/business:
Sea+Stone started as a recurring daydream that I had when I was working as a jewelry designer in NYC. You know when you say a word out loud over and over, and eventually it becomes a sound and you can’t remember the meaning? That’s what I was experiencing in New York – living and working on autopilot! I wanted my personal and creative life to be more fulfilling.
I’m a graduate gemologist and wannabe mermaid, so I packed my bags and moved to Charleston, SC, to launch Sea+Stone. Our jewelry designs were inspired by a passion for gemstones and a love for the coastal South. We craft & sell fine and semiprecious jewelry. The fine jewelry is delicate and colorful. I design it using CAD software, and then execute it in 14k gold.
The semi-precious collection is more bold and casual, but we craft it with the same attention to detail and quality that we would apply to our fine jewelry. The jewelry is made with natural gemstones, precious metal (sterling silver or vermeil), and each necklace is hand-knotted on silk thread. As a nod to our Southern roots and love of all things local, we use a lot of regional found objects in Sea+Stone jewelry: fossils, oysters, shells, whitetail antlers.
Describe your typical day as a jewelry designer:
I think one of the things that I love most about my job is that the days aren’t ever ‘typical’. Sea+Stone is just over a year old, and I feel like each day holds something new to tackle, to learn, or to finesse. I’ve always been a compulsive list maker and no matter where I am or what I’m working on, my day always starts by writing a list.
My studio has two huge white boards filled with scribbles that I’m always updating, revising, and (most importantly) checking off. I like to knock out any work that must be done in front of a screen early in the morning: answering emails, planning/scheduling social media updates, and doing supply orders. When I’m in the studio making jewelry, I let the materials be my muse and I simply follow! My studio has great natural light- the windows always help to keep me energized and inspired. When working on something repetitive, like hand knotting a necklace, I love to listen to podcasts or TED Talks. I’m a big fan of This American Life and Serial.
What did you want to be when you grew up and how has your background influenced your work?
I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I think growing up on the Florida Gulf Coast had a large role in that drive. It was such a beautiful place to live- really creatively stimulating!
I enjoyed painting, writing, and photography but focused my attention on jewelry just before high school. I fell in love with it, and have really had a one-track mind about it ever since. There was one college in the South that offered a Bachelor’s degree in Metal & Jewelry, and it was the only school I applied to. My four years at the Savannah College of Art and Design were amazing and really helped pave a way into the industry.
Favorite business tools?
Instagram – I’m a visual person- and I think that IG is the best platform for me to tell our story and to represent Sea+Stone product & culture. It also has allowed me to connect with so many amazing people/boutiques.
Stitch Labs – I use this software to keep my inventory organized and up to date. The best part is that it integrates with Square and my e-commerce platform which saves me a lot of time and work!
Where do you find inspiration?
I, of course, pull a lot of my inspiration from nature – particularly the land and seascapes that I grew up around. I think solitude is really important to the creative part of my work, too. I mentioned earlier that Sea+Stone started as a daydream. Well, I’m an avid daydreamer! I’ve never been particularly good at staying still (physically or mentally) and I love alone time to indulge myself in wandering down whatever rabbit hole my restless mind presents. Often there are some nuggets of inspiration to be found along the way.
The rare day off – what do you do to unwind?
You can find me in or near the water on a day off. I love paddle boarding, scavenging for shells, and strolling the beach with my dog, Curtis.
Best business advice?
Make your small business look big, and it will grow into the space you’ve created.
Book – Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Movie – 500 days of Summer (great soundtrack too!)
Song – Fake Empire by The National
Drink – Cucumber Moscow Mule
Indulgence – Scented candles and cheese
Whitney Wise Long, co-founder of The Southern C and The Southern C Summit, loves to connect with Southern entrepreneurs and learn more about their creative endeavors.
This Q&A series offers her the perfect opportunity to do so!
For more of Whitney’s Southern Creatives Q&A’s click the names below: