Breanna Musgrove is the creative mind behind Scout & Catalogue, a handbag and accessories line inspired by her travels. So when she told us she was packing up to sail on a boat around the coast of British Columbia, Canada for 5 weeks we asked her to take us along for the ride through a beautiful photo journal that is giving us some serious nature #fomo. When she’s not sailing, she’s in her sunlit-filled Vancouver studio, hand-dyeing fabric in her bathtub and listening to the radio. We got a peek inside both of her worlds: land and sea, and learned a few tips on how to kill it as a full time creative.
Hey, you’re on a boat! Tell us about that.
Yes! I am on a boat. My boyfriend grew up sailing with his family and we had the chance to take 5 weeks and sail around the southern BC coast on their boat. It has been an amazing experience, one of my top life adventures so far for sure. The nature in this part of the world, viewed from a small home on the water, is just breathtaking. We’ve had orcas, dolphins, humpbacks, seals, and sea lions all within ten feet of the boat. It’s been a more beautiful and special time than I was expecting.
What is your morning routine?
I get up between 7:00 and 8:00, make coffee, write for about half an hour and then jump on the computer. Mornings are normally spent doing office work, in the afternoons I move to studio work.
What time of day are you most creative?
I find that I am creative in waves, not necessarily linked to a specific time in a day. I’ll spend weeks being really excited and engaged in creative work and then weeks where the idea of creating anything just feels like a chore. I have tried to harness my creativity into something more stable, but it just doesn’t seem to work that way for me.
How does your home decor affect your mood?
I am really impacted visually by my surroundings, so decor is important to me. That being said, I am comfortable with a certain amount of disarray and clutter, just as long as I truly love all the objects around me. Being in bright places is a must, especially living in Vancouver which is in a rainforest and likely to be grey for nine months of the year.
How did you approach decorating your space?
I’ve never really thought about it that much! The pieces I have around me are all linked to my life in some way or another. My table/desk was my dad’s, my coffee table was a trunk made by my grandfather, my couch was previously owned by a friend. I like the idea of my space reflecting me in various ways, to have a certain amount of tactility and for it to not feel too precious or over decorated. I seem to have an issue with “piles”, both with personal items and with work pieces. There always seems to be a pile of dyed fabric stacked somewhere in my line of sight, but I guess that just comes with the job!
What are your best anti-procrastination tips?
Well in this world of social media it is PRETTY HARD to not get distracted. This year I started to practice work accountability and it has helped a lot. When you work for yourself there is no advantage to procrastinating; as your own employer, the more time it takes you to do something the more it is costing you to do it. So each day I sit down and figure out what needs to be done. Once I am done I stop working. This sounds simple but it has changed my life. It means that there is incentive to get things done and it also means that when I am not working I am not constantly thinking about all the tasks waiting for me at work. With a small business you could essentially never stop working and still feel behind, so this has allowed me to both be accountable to my work life and to my personal life. I probably only pull this off 50% of the time, but even that still feels like success.
What are your go-to podcasts/albums when you’re at home working?
I am a CBC loyalist – I listen to CBC radio 1 and/or radio 2 most days.
Where do you look for inspiration when you’re in a creative rut?
I have been trying to give myself space when I feel like I’m in a rut. I will usually go out in nature (since we have so much of it around these parts), bring along Kevin or a friend and turn off my phone. Space away from the constant churning of our world seems to always bring me back to creative inspiration.
Your aesthetic is so on point from cohesive branding to a killer blog to an always fresh collection of new products on the regs, how long did it take for you to really narrow in on your aesthetic?
Thank you! I think that everyone has a personal aesthetic, myself included, and one of the advantages of running a smaller project is you don’t have the resources to create super broad collections. You really have to concentrate on the items that matter to you and push them forward with a clear voice and vision. Scout & Catalogue creates work that reflects one side of my personal tastes which I think works better than if I had deeper pockets and could fund a line that developed all of my various personal impulses.
I also think creating a line becomes a conversation between yourself and your clientele, over the years the response to my work has shaped and guided product and aesthetic choices. I think it took a year or two for the buying response to help to define my choices and it continues to assist me in moving the brand along with each collection.
What’s the best advice on being a creative professional that anyone has ever given you? Did you follow it?
This is the least sexy answer, but the best advice I have received was to save at least 10% of every single paycheck for later in life. If you can save more than that, do it. I think we live in a culture that makes you believe that you need so much to be happy and that everyone else has all-the-things so you should probably buy them too. Saving money means investing in your own freedom. When you live within your means you can make choices from your heart and prioritize projects that mean something to you. Creativity is not always financially rewarded so being able to reward yourself and create your own path is a true opportunity.
What’s the biggest misconception about working from home?
That it is awesome. Working from home is one of my least favourite things about my job, I find it lonely. For me, creativity always flourishes within community and it’s hard to get any separation between my work and my personal life when they both happen in the same space. It is great to be able to wear comfy clothes and choose my work hours but if I had the opportunity to work with people again I would take it in a heartbeat.
How does nature/the natural world affect your creativity?
I find time in nature incredibly inspiring. I’m unsure if it visually translates to my work but the space and time away from everything feels crucial.
How would you describe your personal style?
Comfort based! Studio work is all about working with mess and I dress to be able to dye fabric, carry heavy boxes to the post office, sew samples and all the other fun chores of not working in a conventional office.