Trendsetter to Know: Melissa Balkon

Name: Melissa Balkon

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Age: 39

Title: Founder/Artist at Phoenix Supply Co. and Founder/Design Strategist at Strong Design Studios

Married/Single: Single

Kids: 0

City you live in: Tempe

A typical day in my life includes…

I’m the most creatively productive after lunch so my mornings are packed with phone calls, emails, and other admin tasks in order to keep my afternoons free to work on my clients’ design projects. After lunch, I make a coffee and dive in to my creative work for the day. I typically stop right at 5pm and head to the gym for a Zumba class. From there I come home, make a little dinner while watching some TV then transition to whatever is left for the day—often these evening tasks are either business development tasks or moving the ball forward on Phoenix Supply Co. product development, promotion, and sales.

 I was born…

in Zeeland, Michigan. It’s hard to believe I’ve been in AZ for almost 15 years.

My favorite thing about Arizona…

there’s no way I can pick just one! Our insanely gorgeous sunsets, the magic of cacti blooming in the spring, and our amazing and supportive design and business culture are some of the best parts of AZ.

I’m listening to…

lately a lot of latin dance music! I really love Zumba and lately I’ve been listening to my favorite songs from class. The only drawback is that I keep pausing my work to take random dance breaks… I also love listening to Sia, Phil Collins or piano music while I’m painting, and the Johnjay & Rich On-Demand podcast when I’m designing—there’s something about their conversations that puts me in the zone.

My family…

is amazing. I was blessed to have been raised by two dedicated, loving parents who taught me how to work hard, make wise decisions, and instilled me my faith in God. I also have an awesome brother and sister-in-law who recently gave me the gift of becoming an auntie for the first time. My niece the best thing ever, and she has my whole heart.

If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be…

my niece. I crave as much time with her as I can get!

One thing I cannot live without…

is my computer! Boring answer I know, but it seems like everything I do seems to come back to that trusty machine at some point.

When I was younger, I wanted to be…

a club DJ—I was always in charge of the playlist at my friends’ parties in college.

I’m inspired by…

plants and nature—they’re one of the ways I most clearly and tangibly see the hand of God every day.

The one person who motivates me is…

my mom. She is one of the hardest-working, most determined people I know, yet she always manages to make time to serve the people she loves.

If I could change anything in the world, it would be…

to slow us all down a little bit (myself included), so that we can have a little more time to focus on the things that matter most.

The perfect day would be…

sleeping in until about noon, then spending the day bouncing between reading and creating—whether it’s painting or working on whatever project I’m passionate about at the moment. Then wrapping up the day with a walk around my neighborhood, a box of Kraft mac-and-cheese for dinner (with a slice of cake for dessert!) and binging some 90s or reality TV until bedtime. Super exciting, I know, but SO relaxing.

My first job was…

making sandwiches and scooping ice cream at a local deli in Michigan. Fun fact: my right forearm muscles actually became larger than my left from scooping ice cream! Then my uncle dubbed me “Scoop.”

My favorite escape…

is a late afternoon float in the pool with a cold drink and a good book.

My life…

never has enough hours in it! I’m pretty organized and productive, but it seems like every day there is an excess of things I either need or want to do and people to see. But I’d rather have a life that feels a bit too full than one that is too empty, so I try to be grateful for the abundance!

I’m currently working on…

getting my Winter Collection for Phoenix Supply Co. out into the world and prepping for holiday markets and shows. It is a ton of work pulling everything together for this (especially in addition to running Strong Design full time), but I really love every second of it!

Always…

stay humble (in attitude and lifestyle) and trust your gut.

Never…

speak out of raw anger. Over time, I’ve learned it is always best to stop, cool down, and think before approaching a tough situation. Even 15 minutes or an hour can help avoid saying or doing something you’ll regret.

Favorite Quote…

“Genius is in simplicity and specificity. Success is in consistency.”

Biggest Dream…

is to be able to build an additional branch of my career in art—specifically through Phoenix Supply Co. and licensing my art on products.

My Pet Peeve(s)…

when people lack consideration for those around them—be it in business, a store, a restaurant, while driving, etc.

 

More About Melissa Balkon…

Melissa Balkon is the artist and founder of Phoenix Supply Co.— a line of art and paper goods that celebrate the Southwest. She is head-over-heels in love with the state of Arizona and has a passion to create timeless pieces that enable fellow desert dwellers express their love of the Arizona and the southwest! Follow along on Instagram @phoenixsupplyco, or shop online at http://www.phoenixsupply.co.

Melissa is also the founder and lead designer at Strong Design Studios, a boutique brand and website design studio on a mission to help small businesses and startups harness the power of design for their advantage. In her 17+ years of experience, she’s been blessed to be able to work with clients and projects of all shapes and sizes, but her passion remains for smaller organizations that value professional, one-on-one design strategy. Learn more at https://www.strongdesign.co.



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