We love finding new products, meeting new people and sharing what we learn with our readers!
We recently discovered Wexel Art on our recent trip to Americasmart for the July Market.
Started by Morgan Doherty and Natasha McRee, Wexel Art is a company that has designed single and double panel acrylic frames to allow easy changing of art. One of their products is called the Easy Change Float where the floating acrylic panel has as a set of magnets that holds your art in place and then quick changes can be made easily by removing the magnets and inserting a new piece of art.
Like most entrepreneurs, their story is an interesting and unusual one. They graciously agreed to an interview.
Morgan Doherty and Natasha McRee
Joann: What is your background?
Natasha: I spent my career in branding working for some of the best and brightest. I was fortunate enough to work at GDS&M for almost 10 years where I was able to work on brands like US Olympic Committee, On The Border Grill, The University of Texas before building their business development department.
Morgan: I’ve been a lifelong artist and designer. Even when I’m not getting my hands dirty, I observe the world through a lens of creative analysis. I am a passionate traveler, and adore visiting art museums and galleries everywhere I go.
Joann: Where did you grow up?
Natasha: Houston, Texas, but most of my family was still living in Germany so we spent every Summer hanging out near Dusseldorf with our cousins, brushing up on our German and gummy bear eating contests.
Morgan: Vineland, NJ
Joann: Where did you go to college:
Natasha: LSU- Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Morgan: Rowan University, B.F.A. in Printmaking & Painting, Class of 2004
Joann: What was your career prior to starting this business?
Natasha: I had my own marketing strategy firm. It was a small company that helped clients develop their brand and form strategic partnerships with key partners in their industry. The recession hit in 2008 and marketing is one of the first places that companies immediately cut their budgets so all of sudden I had a lot more time on my hands.
Morgan: I launched my professional career as a muralist for House of Blues (Live Nation), painting concert halls, restaurants and clubs. I even got to contribute to the restoration of the Orangery at Longleat Estate in Bath, England. In between those long term gigs I worked as a picture framer in a high-end custom frame shop.
Joann: How long have you been in business?
Natasha & Morgan: 8 years
Joann: What is your favorite product that you sell?
Natasha: The Single Panel Frame that uses magnets. It always makes me smile when people see how easy it is to change out the art and they say “Genius”. I always performed terribly on standardized tests and being associated with a product that is called “Genius” is always humbling.
Morgan: The Mondrian Display. After years of designing wallscapes with only clear square and rectangles, I grew a little restless. I looked to the artist Piet Mondrian for inspiration. He based his career on the exploration of straight lines and primary colors. Neoplasticism is right up our alley!
Joann: What is your favorite part of owning this company?
Natasha: Entrepreneurship runs in my blood so I love having the autonomy to create. It’s fantastic when you can bring a product to market that customers get excited about. It’s endearing when you walk into a store and see you product on display.
Morgan: I love a creative challenge with the end goal of solving a problem. It’s so satisfying! Constantly keeping eyes open for new ideas and observing the experience of interacting with design in the real world.
Joann: Your not so favorite?
Natasha: I love drinking from a firehose and get restless if I am bored. We have learned so much in the last 7 years that I really can’t think of anything that I don’t enjoy about the business. Ok… well taxes… maybe that would be my least favorite.
Morgan: All the administrative work that comes along with being a business owner. Sometimes it feels like: “you can’t go out and play until you finish your chores”!
Joann: What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a business?
Natasha: Go For it, but makes sure it is an idea that you are really passionate about because it won’t be easy. I always say that the first five years cost us blood, sweat and tears, but now that we are in the black, it becomes a lot more fun and rewarding.
Morgan: Be fearless. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. I had never intended to start this kind of business, but luckily I’m well versed in sleepless nights of brainstorming. Having a support network and stress management plan is just as important as a Linked In network and a business plan.
Joann: What do you see in the future for your business?
Natasha: Wexel means change in German and we created a line of wall decor that lets you change your art as often as you change your mind. In the next few years I see Wexel becoming a lifestyle brand that broadens beyond frames into other home decor and lifestyle products where change is key.
Morgan: At Wexel Art, we are working hard to be known as an innovative leader in wall decor. The brand people look toward when they want functional personalized pieces that let them feel some ownership for the design. There is so much generic junk out there to “decorate” walls. It would be so much more interesting and inspiring to live in a world where homes and work spaces are covered with things people have a personal connection to.
As you can see, they carry all types of acrylic frames. I urge you to check out their website Wexel Art to see their products and gallery. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Have a great week!