Ontario born, and raised throughout Canada & the U.S. we bring you Mike Payne! He is 1/2 of Fancy – a creative studio based in Calgary & Saskatoon. He loves playing Basketball, watching Football, and any activity or exercise that takes place on mountains or around water.
Let’s start with just a few things about yourself.
Hi Chapel! My name is Michael (Mike) Payne. I’m 27 years old, I was born in Ontario and raised here & there throughout Canada and the US, and just moved to Calgary, Alberta, to marry the woman of my dreams. In 2013 I partnered up with a long-time friend to start Fancy Creative Studio.
I had the privilege of planting C3 Church in Saskatoon with some of my closest friends in 2011, and since moving to Calgary we have transitioned into Experience Church. We’re really excited to put down roots there, and continue investing in what God is doing in and through the church.
What is Fancy?
Fancy is a creative studio that serves startups and small businesses across Canada. We work hard alongside other entrepreneurs to help them develop into notable brands, and create human-centred and meaningful experiences for their customers.
We also work often with a few other great companies as strategic partners, companies like WAVES social (whose founder, Mitzi Figueroa, has been featured by Chapel before and just happens to be my fiancé).
What was one of the biggest challenges about starting your own company?
There have definitely been speed bumps, but I don’t think we’ve ever questioned whether or not it was right. When I say “we”, I’m referring to my partner Taylor and I. I honestly don’t think I would have (or could have) done this without him. If I had to pick one struggle to hone in on, it would probably be cash flow. Every business owner knows that at the end of the day, no matter what you do or what you’re good at, cash is king. In the early days we really discovered how little we could survive on, and we learned what it meant to trust each other completely. I actually think I’m going to be better at marriage because of my experience so far with a business partner
I know that what we do and how we do it is deeply rooted in where God is leading me and how He’s shaping me, both personally and spiritually.
I think we can sometimes get lost in our desire for new words, new vision, new miracles, to the extent that we forget the words and miracles He’s already given to us.
If there have been times you’ve wanted to quit, what has kept you going?
Purpose. Without vision, the people perish.
There have been times of confusion, disagreement, and anxiety, but we have only continued to increase our focus, further define who we are and what value we offer, and re-imagine the big ideas and unconventional strategies that seem to propel us ever-forward. I think one of the scariest things about growing our business has been adding employees, because we know we are responsible for their livelihood and well-being, but our team really is becoming like family. They work hard to contribute to our social and economic impact, and Taylor and I would do anything for them.
What hobbies do you have outside of your professional field?
[Travel!] I’ve been jumping from city to city with my fiancé Mitzi. She lived in Vancouver, and we would visit as much as possible. We’ve both been finding that the ability to breathe different air and connect with people in different environments has been huge not only for creative inspiration, but also our energy levels and motivation. Some big international destinations on our hit-list are Tokyo, Paris, and Barcelona. When I’m not working I find myself interested in a mix of clothing styles, sneakers, Netflix shows, and fantasy football. I play rec. basketball, and Mitzi and I are considering tennis as our next hobby.
What does a normal day at work look like?
Work days have changed quite a bit in the last few months as we’ve been between office spaces in Saskatoon, and stretching into Calgary at the same time. It’s been a lot of home office and café hopping. Most days I wake up around 7.30am, and work at the kitchen, prepare a light breakfast, check in with the team, and knock out some quick priority items. I like to hit the gym, and then work steady from noon to whenever. At that point I’ll either re-group at home, do something fun with Mitzi, or meet up with some friends for a couple of hours. I like to get on my computer again late evening, set my priorities for the next day, and then wind down with Netflix or a good book.
What scares you?
I think one of my greatest fears has been that I might be wrong about God, and in my belief that Jesus died for me. It’s something I’ve juggled a lot in different times of life, but I know that is where faith is most important, and I always come back to the ways God has revealed himself supernaturally, as a loving Father, and as a quiet assurance in my life.
I think that when it comes to eternity and faith in God, the past is just as important as the future, because its what has happened in the past that secures our future.
What are you dreaming up for 2017 both personally and career wise?
I’ve set out some pretty aggressive growth goals with Taylor (work) and Mitzi (personal), and I’m excited to keep tackling those. We’re working hard on being smart and responsible financially, finding some strong personal development channels, investing in healthy relationships, building faith, and intentionally exhorting the people around us. Finally, I cannot wait to get married, get a comfy couch for our new apartment, and get to know our new prairie hometown.
What does success mean to you?
I’ve heard a lot of different opinions and definitions, but what I’ve been contemplating is that “success” could serve us better as a spot on the horizon that we never quite reach (yet influences our direction) vs. a current state of being or grand destination that we’ll eventually grow accustomed to. When I think about success I am concerned that the belief that I’ve arrived will only produce complacency and an inflated ego, but if I view it as a direction I will always be working to serve, accept criticism, improve, reinvent, and work hard at whatever I find along that path.
What is most important to you in life?
In five words: identity, family, compassion, intentionality, and exhortation.
I see identity as relating to who I am in Jesus Christ, and God as the source of my purpose and self worth. Family is who I care about most, and who I would do anything to help or serve (includes some of my friends). Compassion is absolutely imperative to my life as a believer, and I think any of us will fall short of our purpose, regardless of what it is, if our lives lack compassion. People mattered to Jesus, and they matter to me. Intentionality is about doing everything on purpose, for a purpose.
Finally, exhortation is about calling out the good in people, their potential, and giving them the tools to see it through or make it a reality. I want to always work at improving my communication skills so that I can better encourage and build up the people around me.
How does your faith play a role in what you do?
Aside from saving my life, God is my deepest source of vision and creativity. My imagination and drive, my posture towards people, the advice I give, the encouragement I offer to the people around me, all stems from my faith in God. I love that I can sit on the couch in our office with people looking for creative direction, and find ourselves deep in talk about values, failures, hurts, and second chances. It’s an opportunity to not only make social and economic impact, but also spiritual impact at the same time. That’s the good stuff!
If I tell someone I love them, I need to prove it by the way I treat them. If I want to invest in something, I need to manage my money intentionally until I can do so successfully.
What are you most thankful for so far this year?
I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am for my life partner and wife-to-be. Mitzi is both a boss and a queen, she has the greatest and most infectious laugh of all time, she expresses love so clearly in both word and action, she loves family, and is extremely loyal. I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that she chose me. I’ve always hoped and prayed for someone I can do life WITH rather than just AROUND, someone who would be my partner and equal, not just an accessory.
I know I’m gushing, but I also know myself and my past and my nature better than anyone, and I never thought God would find me deserving of the reality I find myself living in today.
What is one song or artist you can’t stop listening to right now?
DJ Khaled cuz he’s got the keys.
“The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield, “Anything You Want” by Derek Sivers, and “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight.