Inspiration Through Collage: Meet Artist-Entrepreneur Merril Seidl

Inspiration Through Collage: Meet Artist-Entrepreneur Merril Seidl
Credit: Merril Seidl.

Merril Seidl is a collage artist and the brilliance behind More the Merrlier. Using tiny scraps of recycled magazines, the artist creates designs for greeting cards, puzzles and prints. Merril also creates original artwork and has written and illustrated two colorful children’s books.

In her interview, Merril details her path from artist to artist-entrepreneur, her inspirations and more. Don’t miss her advice for embarking on a similar journey.

Credit: Merril Seidl.

How did you get started?

I think my first introduction to collage was making a 12 Days of Christmas serving platter for my grandma when I was about seven or eight. From there, the love grew and included decorating the covers of all my notebooks through school, creating ‘you are beautiful’ mirrors for my friend’s birthdays and much more! The hobby then lay dormant through most of college, but eventually surfaced as dorm room wallpaper my senior year. It wasn’t until living alone in Honduras the following year, however, that, with no roommates, internet and, often, power, I took the few magazines I had bought for the plane ride over and got to playing!

When did you realize you could turn your art into a business?

The idea was born from years of positive feedback on my handmade holiday cards coupled with a stressful day job and several podcasts that introduced me to the concept that being a young female solopreneur was a possibility.

Credit: Merril Seidl.

How do you define success for your business?

Success to me is getting to do what I love and having that joy and peace uplift and inspire our collective consciousness! There is also a desire for my success to include the ability to financially support and uplift my family and community. I am still working on the latter, and whenever that gets me stirred up in a negative way, I turn back to the abundance of success I already have for simply being able to pursue this passion right now. Merrily merrily merrily merrily, life is bout a dream.

Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere! It’s trite, but it’s the truth. I never know when an idea will strike. I could be playing with my kids, listening to a song, having a new experience or just at my desk flipping through a magazine.

What’s one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you first started your business?

That there will always be tasks or even seasons that get frustrating. Go back to your why. Ground yourself in the joy and purpose of why you set out on this journey and reset your energy from there. There is always time for a breath.

Credit: Merril Seidl.

What advice would you give someone wanting to begin selling their art or creative product?

If possible, keep your upfront investment low, and don’t be afraid to ask questions! For example, when I first decided to sell my work in person in order to hit the price point I wanted, I ended up printing 50 copies of each design in my first collection of greeting cards. Some sold great, others bombed, and that unsold inventory ate up any profit margin I had made. So the next time I went to print, I asked a few more questions of my printer. Once I understood their printing process, I was able to systematize some upfront InDesign work and lower my upfront risk to six copies per design at the same cost per card! This was huge for my overall profit.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

Well, if it’s a new audience, while I grew up in the ice rinks of Minnesota, I currently spend my days sweating under the Dominican Republic sun with my two young boys and partner. If it’s my tried and true community, I pretty much share it all in my weekly newsletter. However, one thing I never really speak about is how much physical movement means to me. Pre-kids I often woke up with HIIT on my mat and winded down the evening at a yoga studio. Now, in this season where self-care time is harder to come by, I’ve found that twenty minutes is all I need, and it does mountains for my mood and energy.

Credit: Merril Seidl.

As creatives, we can continuously create and refine our art. How do you handle perfectionism?

Ironically, collage has been my healing journey with perfectionism. It, for some reason or other, was the one place I wasn’t afraid to stink, to get it wrong, to get messy, to be mediocre. I was reflecting the other day; in fact, perhaps this is because, outside of elementary school, I was never formally educated in the subject. Who knows. But since I truly turn off my brain when I create, the perfectionism, by nature, is not allowed.

What’s something that surprised you about running a creative business?

That it would be as much a personal development journey as a creative one. The work I have done, and am still doing, on my mindset and confidence. Woof! Also, that if I want to be financially successful, I need to spend more time on my digital backend and marketing than creating—still grappling with this one folks.

Credit: Merril Seidl.

What advice would you give someone about handling the highs and lows of running a business?

To not be too attached to either. As I said before, stay grounded in your why as opposed to the external recognition, or lack thereof, and the sailing will be more smooth.

Has someone ever criticized your work? How did you handle it?

Not to my face, but perhaps my best example of this is being popped up in all my glory at the 50+ craft shows I have done and having people glance in my direction and keep walking. I initially felt dings of doubt and sadness whenever it happened. However, when I started to practice going around the market myself and noticing where I naturally felt drawn (and not drawn), I realized, of course, I’m not for everybody! If I was it would be so boring. Be true to yourself, and the community will find you!

Credit: Merril Seidl.

What’s a cause you are passionate about and why?

I am passionate about water and spent nearly a decade working as an environmental engineer, specifically within the realm of water resources. Whether working abroad in Perú, my former home city of San Francisco, or now living in the Dominican Republic, having clean water takes a lot of planning, maintenance, protection, education. Rather than link to a cause, I would like to say, get to know your local watershed! Where does your water come from? What is naturally in it? How is it treated? Where does it go? What naturally occurring elements are in it? What man-made contaminants? How can you help? Every water situation is different, but the more you know about yours, the more you can be empowered to take action and conserve, protect and celebrate this precious (and vital) resource in your life! As you probably know, all the water that is here today was here billions of years ago. It’s one continuous cycle. Taking care of the water where you live ultimately affects someone downstream, directly or indirectly. We can all support one another with simple daily acts.

Credit: Merril Seidl.

Can you share the name of a supplier or vendor that you use for your business that you just love—one that makes running your business a bit easier?

In 2021 when we made the decision to move from a decade of living in California to Miami, I had to leave my long-time partners, Minuteman Press of Oakland and Berkeley Giclée (shout out if you are in the Bay Area)! I spent several months in Miami looking for a new printer with the same quality, kindness and turnaround. Ultimately, after much frustration, I decided to switch to fulfilling my orders with print-on-demand, specifically with Printful. I have been so pleased! Not only does it allow me to test new products, like puzzles, but when we then decided to move to the Dominican Republic this year (where mailing an envelope costs a mere US$100 – free shipping anyone?), I did not have to sweat! They have been handling all my orders, and I am still getting great reviews! 

What brings you joy?

The obvious, collage. Also, my kids and partner, water in all its forms, the moon, breezes, moving my body, skincare, organizing, painted nails, iced Americanos with chocolate, my inner voice—getting to experience the ups and downs, and ultimate beauty, of life!

Thanks, Merril! You can learn more about the artist’s work at

Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Read more