A South Carolina Businesswoman, Penny McPeak and Her Pooch Lucy Lou, being Creative in the Capital City

Penny and I met in Washington, DC one summer when she I were both interning on Capital Hill, for Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02). We quickly found out we were from the same town, Columbia, and we spent the summer perusing the streets of DC.

Penny started her own business called Penny and Lucy Lou two years ago in Columbia, and I take my hat off to any small business or self-employed person. She’s young and she has an entrepreneurial spirit, learning and growing as she uses the artistic skills and talents that God has given her. And she does it right beside her Vice President, Lucy Lou, a drop dead gorgeous red miniature Dachshund.

For anyone in the Midlands of South Carolina, visit Penny’s website here.

Seele Magazine: What's life like in Columbia, South Carolina?

PM: Our past has formed us to be where we are as a City. The City as a whole has been changing in leaps and bounds over the past ten years. The city is moving toward a more community-oriented feel. People are becoming more open to a lot of things. There are areas of town that you used to not ever want to go near that are becoming the hot hangout spots. Honestly, this might be a movement all across the United States, but I'm glad that this change is happening here, too!

SM: What's one thing that visitors to Columbia must do?

PM: I definitely would tell them to come on a weekend when the Soda City Main Street Market, happens every Saturday Morning from 9-1. And because it’s so close they should stop in the Columbia Museum of Art, on the corner of Main and Hampton Streets. There are always great new exhibits to check out.

 Three generations of business women, Penny with her mom and grandmother

Three generations of business women, Penny with her mom and grandmother

SM: There are risks involved in starting a business. What made you start a business at such a young age, and what is your source of strength on the days when you experience challenges?

PM: This is very true; there most definitely are risks and challenges with owning your own business. I've always had an interest in owning my own business and doing my own thing. I started making jewelry at 13 after my grandma gave me a box of starter beads for Christmas, and I had a business with it through high school. I stopped making jewelry when I went to college. When I came home after working at a newspaper in Virginia for two years, I began working for my mom, who also has her own business and has for 30 years. She's an Interior Designer. When I initially came home, I started making jewelry again, and my designs were completely different than from what I had made in high school. After a few months I began thinking about what else I wanted to do as a career and business venture. That's when I starting building my website for my art line, Penny & Lucy Lou Art. Between my mom and my grandma, they are the two that give me strength to work through my challenges. I couldn't have asked for a better team. We all work well together and know each other's strengths and weaknesses, which help me work through the tough moments.

 Penny's artwork

Penny's artwork

SM: What's your favorite art piece that you've made?

PM: My Outdoor/Indoor art is fairly new. The business is only about two years old, but so far my favorite piece is called "Lowcountry Marsh." This particular piece has taken me the most time to create and be satisfied with. It explores my version of the most beautiful Sunset in Charleston, with the marsh almost appearing as if it's hugging the skyline, with the sky reflecting all of the colors surrounding it. In the distance you can see some buildings or homes that tell a story of the residents living near by.

SM: What are 3 important things everyone must know before starting a business?

PM: Don't ever give up! (I've been told this by complete strangers.) When you are down in the dumps about how things are going with your work, don't ever think everyone else who owns their own business hasn't gone through the same thing. Your business is like being in a lifetime relationship. One that you are fully committed to, and you must give it your all to keep the relationship afloat. 

SM: What movie made you cry? What movie made you laugh a lot?

PM: Ohhh, there are a lot of movies that have made me cry, but the one that struck me the most was "The Dead Poets Society." It is one of the best and most truthful movies I've seen to date. It almost made me wonder, after Robin Williams' passing, if he was even acting or just being himself.

The funniest movie I've seen over and over and still bust out laughing every time is "The Nutty Professor" 1 & 2 Eddie Murphy playing his entire family is hysterical every time!

SM: What country or city are you dying to visit?

PM: Anywhere in Europe! At the moment: the UK, Ireland, Iceland and Germany are at the top of my list. Don't have any cities, per se, that I'm dying to visit; really anywhere the plane will take me.

SM: When you hear the name of Jesus what comes to mind?

PM: I first think of salvation quickly followed by Grace. The story of Jesus dying for our sins is the most beautiful love story: giving everything including his life to save all of us from sin. I sometimes tear up in church thinking about it and how blessed I am.