Mejan Graphic Design: from paper design to digital success
Janet Watson remembers a time before computers, when she did all her work by hand. Over time, she has continued to evolve her skillset, moving into the digital age, to ensure great work for her clients. Mejan Graphic Design was founded in 1988 when Janet began working as a freelancer through a firm she worked for. Today, she has her own office in the lovely small town of Merrickville, Ontario.
Janet has known what she wanted to do since her high school art class. After graduating from St. Lawrence College in Kingston with a graphic design diploma, Janet dove into freelancing—and she remembers the moment when her career took a big turn.
“When I went to school, there were no computers. I remember being given this opportunity and I went out one weekend and purchased my first Mac computer and printer. It was exciting, but I had to go and take out a bank loan because the first Mac computer that I purchased was $5,000 and the black and white laser printer was $7,000 if you can believe it. Then I had to learn how to use it! What a whirlwind,” said Janet.
Living in the small town of Merrickville gives Janet the opportunity to work frequently with local businesses and artists. Her work has evolved over the years, starting with print-based projects and expanding to everything from signage to websites. Janet enjoys the ability to work within her small community and the variation it provides every day.
“I've got wonderful people that I work with. It's a lovely community and so supportive in anything that we do. Every day is a whole new ballgame on what I get to play with, it's been wonderful.”
Before building her website, Janet knew she needed a domain name. In a time when everyone had a .com, she wanted to stand out and chose a .CA domain to represent herself and her community.
“I just wanted my domain name to be like me: local and organic. Everybody had a .com and I thought oh, what a cool thing that I can have a .CA domain.”
Like many first-time website builders, Janet turned to Google to help her find a registrar and get her .CA domain. When searching, it was important to Janet that the registrar was Canadian, just like her and her business.
“I got my domain name first because I thought if I'm going to do this, I should probably start with that. So of course, I went on the internet and typed in, how do I register a .CA domain? This is how I found Register.ca. They have been amazing to work with because I was so green, I had no idea what I was doing. I was able to phone them and I still call to this day if I ever have a question. Register.ca is great because you feel like they are your next-door neighbour.”
Behind the brand name
Janet had no problem with registering her unique domain name, mejangraphicdesign.ca…but what does it mean? The name was inspired by a classic line from the Disney movie Tarzan.
“The name is from way back in college because we had to do a business course, and it was about starting your own business. I thought to myself that I'm never going to do this, but I came up with a name. I thought me Jan, do graphics for you, just like Tarzan and Jane. So that's where Mejan Graphic Design came from.”
A word of advice
Working as an entrepreneur out of her home for over 35 years, Janet learned that the door never closes on business.
“I would say as an entrepreneur—and it really isn't a bad thing—but the door never closes on business so you must find that balance. We have five kids and I remember in those first few years just trying to balance all the kids' activities with work and trying to maintain that professionalism. You must teach yourself to shut the door at 6:00 PM and not go and work until the next morning.”
For those wondering if they should make the jump and start their own business, Janet says just go for it.
“I say, if you've got an idea, just go and do it and let the chips fall where they may and they usually come up in a pretty good way.”
Celebrating Canada’s domain
As part of our Canada Day series, we wanted to know the best way to celebrate in Merrickville, Ontario.
“Merrickville has a wonderful Canada Day program. We usually have friends over for a barbecue and go down to the fairgrounds after. Everybody gathers and watches the fireworks go off, it's an incredible show that they put on!”
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