Becca Mueller, Mountain Side Designs
Maker's Space: Mountain Side Designs
by maria weidich | photos by renata haidle
When Becca Mueller of Mountain Side Designs was expecting her first child, she was so sick she had to quit her day job. “But then I got bored when I was at home,” she laughed. “So, I just started drawing and making arts and crafts.” Growing up in Southern California, Becca was no stranger to art. Her mother was a professional calligrapher and grandmother a skilled painter. “And I doodled all over on everything for as long as I remember,” Becca recalled with a laugh.
Before her daughter was born (and after a nudge from an artist friend) Becca brought some art to a local craft show in Billings. “People were so kind!” she laughed, remembering those first sales. “I was 38 weeks pregnant; maybe that’s why the pieces sold.” Though she’s still a bit embarrassed by the rudimentary art that she sold, it was validating and encouraging.
A few years later, and with a second little one in tow, Becca expressed her artistic pursuits were still a very casual endeavor. “And really, they still are. My kids are little, so it is more of an activity to do in between raising them. It’s something to do that’s enjoyable and restful for me.”
“I have a really broad interest in art, and narrowing it down has been the hardest part,” she said of starting Mountain Side Designs. She loves pen drawing, painting, engraving, and wood burning, to name a few of her favorite mediums. “I don’t want to do just one thing all the time.” Once her son was born, Becca realized she couldn’t have a wood burner out! “We’ll just do pen and paper and call it good!”
She busied herself with pen drawings of outdoor-inspired designs and turned the images into stickers. “And it just expanded from there!” Becca now uses Procreate on her iPad to aid in her craft, but her first love will always be a pad and pen. “I’m not a perfectionist, so it is kind of interesting doing art. It’s even hard to actually call myself an artist. I’m a little more free-spirited and easygoing.”
In addition to stickers, Becca designs mugs, t-shirts, note cards, hats, ornaments, earrings, and has even done custom tattoo design work. “I definitely don’t market myself as a designer, but if people ask me to design something, I do enjoy it.” Without a doubt, Becca’s art expresses her love of Montana and the outdoors.
Before they had children, Becca and her husband Johnny were avid rock climbers and frequented the local climbing crags. Now raising their two young children to appreciate and enjoy nature, Becca’s artistic inspiration comes easily. “I think God’s creations are beautiful and I just love being outdoors.”
A lot of her art stems from her childhood memories. “Time spent with my family camping and exploring. Life is short, and looking back, those are the things to smile on.” She hopes other people will smile upon her art, and maybe inspire them to get outside and enjoy nature.
Juggling her two young children and her business is an art. Above all, her husband, Johnny, is very encouraging and incredibly supportive of her craft. She tackles the bigger tasks and the occasional wood-burning project when the kids are napping. But at times, Becca’s 4-year-old will assist with filling sticker orders or removing the bubble wrap from the mugs. “Or she sits and colors with me. She actually figured out Procreate, it’s pretty impressive!”
“It’s just a season,” Becca said of raising a business and her young brood. “I really enjoy my family, and I don’t like missing out on those things.” Becca admitted to once being a yes person. “But if you say yes to everything, you are actually saying no to things, too. I always like keeping that in mind. I occasionally feel the need to have new products to keep relevant but my family is my top priority. I want to make sure I’m always available to be there for my family and friends.”
Becca never planned on owning a business, “I just stumbled across this whole thing and feel so humbled and encouraged by that. I enjoy it and I it’s a huge blessing to be able to enjoy your work. In a way, the overall enjoyment of it all is a feeling of success.”
“It’s all been very organic,” she said of Mountain Side Designs’ growth. “I never had an end goal so it’s hard for me to know where I’m even headed. I haven’t had time to stop and think about it because I’m just enjoying the process.”
Follow Mountain Side Designs on Instagram @mountain.side.designs.