The Fresh Exchange Blog

This space began from an honest place of desiring to have an opportunity to explore all that it means to be a creative entrepreneur. In late 2009, Mike and I (hey I am Megan by the way) were in a place where Mike was working an agency job he wasn’t fulfilled by, and I was beginning my dream of being a freelance graphic designer. Neither of us felt creatively fulfilled by what we were doing and knew we needed a place to pursue our passions, ideas, and to use as our creative playground. We wanted to catalog what inspired us, the struggles of growing as a creative and the joys, a place to share our travels, and explore the journey of pursuing a beautiful and fulfilling life. On a cold day in November 2009, I penned our first post to The Fresh Exchange. Since that first post we have said the blog would remain a space of passion, honesty, and inspiration. To this day it still remains that. Here at The Fresh Exchange, you can see a deeper side of our journey as a husband and wife who are creative entrepreneurs living, traveling, and pursuing a beautiful and fulfilling life that inspires others to do the same.

As we have grown this space over the years, much has happened in our own journey. In 2013, our career paths came together and we took on the challenge of beginning a business as husband and wife. As designers, tastemakers, photographers, and creative directors we combined our skills and passions to build, Wild Measure, our brand building studio that is focused on creating meaningful brands. We felt called to share our vision and skills with brands we loved and people we believed in.

Together, Mike and I are striving to make this space a place where our readers feel inspired to chase their dreams, live a beautiful and fulfilling life, and find honesty in a world where sometimes we forget to allow it. Being a creative entrepreneur is extremely rewarding but it is a journey. We feel The Fresh Exchange is our space to share our journey and story with the world, while empowering others to find their passions and a life that brings them joy. For us this space is our wild measure. We hope you enjoy!

Profile photos of Mike and Megan are done by Eric Ryan Anderson

Megan Gilger
Mike Gilger

FAQS

We receive a lot of questions in emails about so many things from how we create our content, business advice, how we run our business, how we got started and so on. Because of that we wanted to share some answers to the most frequently asked questions so we can get you at least some answers and to minimize some of our inbox intake. If you don’t see an answer to your questions, we would love to hear from you! Ask away we do love to answer :)

ABOUT THE BLOG:

How do you create your imagery for your blog?
I create everything for the blog in Photoshop and Illustrator. As a designer these programs are used daily and almost more comfortable than anything else I use on a day-to-day basis. Everything I create is just out of how I feel at the moment and expressing that through type and images. Mike takes 90% of the photos you see on the blog see the question below for more on that. From time to time, I will use images that I have taken with my iPhone while we travel, hike and explore to avoid lugging around a larger camera with us. Then when we return home whoever is putting together the content will be in charge of the graphics. We predominately use all hand drawn type. The process varies from drawing them digitally in illustrator to drawing on paper and scanning what we draw. All of this is either done in Illustrator and Photoshop. The process changes almost daily as it all depends on what we want to create within the moment.

What is your camera setup?
For all of the images on The Fresh Exchange, Mike uses a Canon 5D Mark III. All lenses are from Canon as well. Personally we like the 50 mm, and 35 mm. We also use our iPhones a ton! For more info on what Mike suggests check out his post on the Camera Essentials for Bloggers and Creatives. To edit our photos we use Lightroom and VSCO filters with our own adjustments. Our first step is always making sure to capture the light just right before anything else. Our goal is to create images that feel natural, in the moment, and honest.

Where do you get your fonts?
90% of the fonts I use on images are actually my own handwriting that I create. Creating my own type came out of frustration with the endless search to find the right font. It is actually quicker and I am usually happier with it than if I spent money and hours searching. If you do see a font that is not done by me most likely you can find it on typography.com this is my favorite foundry. Worth the money. See the above answer about how we create our content and how I create my own type.

Can I purchase your handlettering anywhere?
Currently you can find some of my hand lettering that you can use within the iPhone app, Over. There you can find a pack of my graphics so check it out! I do work on commission though. Feel free to email me for prices if you feel my lettering will fit your design or branding.

Are some of your posts sponsored?
Yes, we do use affiliate links and partner with brands to create content. We do indicate which posts have been sponsored, but no matter what our opinions are 100% our own. We work hard not to bombard you with side bar ads. We choose brands that naturally fit within our lifestyle without being forced. We say no more than we ever say yes, because we value the content we place here every day and we value each of you. That being said, a blog does have costs as it grows. In order to maintain this space and provide inspiration to you every day we have had to find a way to keep the doors open and lights on. If you ever feel that you find a sponsorship out of alignment we would love to hear from you about why and what felt off to you. We create here first and foremost to offer something to the creative community, to collaborate, to have fun, to share our knowledge as business owners, and more than anything to inspire you to dream bigger, create more, and explore the world. If in anyway you feel we have fallen from that, we would love to hear from you.

How is your blog built?
Our blog runs on the WordPress platform and is a custom designed site that is tailored to our needs and what we love and believe in for the future of blogging. We host our blog on Flywheel currently and love it! If you are looking for a custom designed site I would be more than willing to recommend some great designers to you to get in touch with just shoot us an email.

ABOUT US:

Where do you live?
Mike and I live in Raleigh, NC with our two dogs, Tucker a cavalier king charles and Nellie a golden retriever. When we first began this blog we lived in Traverse City, Michigan in Northern Michigan where I grew up. We lived there for almost 5 years before making the move to Raleigh. You can read about why we moved here. We both went to college in Kentucky which is where we met. Mike is originally from Houston, Texas and I am originally from Harbor Springs, Michigan.

How did you meet and what’s the story?
Mike and I met while in college. I was first his Teacher’s Assistant in a design class that he had transferred into. I knew he had come from a larger university with a better design program, so I was harder when grading him. He was a little stuck-up and I wanted him to see this wasn’t an easy class. I saw his work in action in another class he didn’t know I was in so I knew he was talented. We later became friends and shared a group of mutual friends, but I was dating someone else at the time so we simply remained friends. The Summer between our Junior and Senior year in college Mike and I kept in touch as friends. We went to China together to work the Olympics in different parts of the city. We didn’t see each other much because of schedules but wrote each other and tried to meet up. It wasn’t till we were back in school and had nearly the exact same schedule on accident that we became close. We ended up in a senior level studio course where we were both art directors of the two teams in our course. We were meant to be competing and instead found ourselves helping each other. We would spend late nights in the studio critiquing and teaching each other new things and getting to know each other. I was still in a semi-relationship but it ended soon when I realized it didn’t need to be that way. Our relationship became close the day after I ended things with the other guy and I found myself spilling everything to Mike one morning over coffee in the lab in our department. From there we began attending art showings, spending late nights over coffee and projects, and then at hockey games with friends. Neither of us wanted anything serious, but what resulted was a quick and deep friendship that resulted in love. 2 months from our first “real” date we said I love you and 6 months after that we were engaged. It was fast and quick, but when you know you know. Our lives were shifting and we knew we wanted to make at least one thing in our life solid. We were married in 2010 and will celebrate 5 years this Summer.

How did you buy a house as entrepreneurs?
We recently purchased a home in downtown Raleigh and we totally understand that as entrepreneurs that sounds crazy to be able to purchase a home. In order to be as open as possible about our experience and how we made it happen as entrepreneurs. You can read the full post here. If you have any further questions, feel free to leave a comment for us to respond to. We will respond quicker to that than we will an email. We hope the post helps you make the dream come true for you as well!

Do you have a city guide for Traverse City?
We just began working on this, but you kind find info here. If you want very specific recs feel free to get in touch and I will send you my giant list! Also, if you have a favorite you don’t see on the list, please comment on the post to add suggestions!

What are you doing when you are not blogging?
Mike and I own a brand building studio called Wild Measure. We love meeting brand new companies and existing companies that are ready to take a leap in to a different and emerging market and help set them up for success.

When we aren’t working we are spending time with friends, family, and enjoying the great outdoors. We love hiking, traveling, hanging with our dogs, and going to our favorite places in Raleigh.

Why don’t I see much of your design work?
We have never wanted to be hired for a specific look and style so we have purposefully minimized the amount of projects we show. We feel that our day-to-day life shown here on the blog is the best way for our clients to know if we are the right fit for them. If you do want to see more of our work, we do share some of it on our instagram for Wild Measure from time-to-time.

I still have questions, can I email you?
Yes, we try hard to respond to every email, but many times our clients take priority over personal notes. We love every email and read each one and though it may take us a month we will do our best to get to your email as soon as possible. Know that our delay doesn’t mean we don’t care or haven’t read something you sent. We love hearing from each of you.

Speaking

We have had the privilege of teaching and speaking to many amazing creators, builders and makers. For more information please contact us.

  • Alt Design Summit / 2013
  • Alt Design Summit / 2014
  • Circles Conference / 2013
  • DesignerVaca / 2013
  • Brand Market / 2014