The talented designer and illustrator Mercedes Bazan (Mechi, for short) has suddenly found herself living and working in Ireland full-time at Stripe. Read further as she spills the details on what life is like in Dublin, take a peek at the Stripe’s office space, and check out her cute and colorful apartment—located above a karaoke bar!
Where do you work? Tell us about your space(s).
During the weekdays, I spend most of my time working at the Stripe Dublin office. The office is very nice—it has huge windows, lots of snacks, and of course amazing people working there. On Saturdays and Sundays, I work from home. I moved to Dublin with the idea that it was going to be a short-term stay, but because of a situation with my visa, I ended up staying more than ten months (and still counting).
It was tricky to find a place to live and even though I love my current apartment, it’s very small and I don’t have space for a desk or a dinner table. This makes working from home an activity that sometimes makes my back hurt since I sit on the floor most of the time. I recently bought a better cushion for me to sit on the floor and this changed everything. Now my legs don’t become numb as fast as before! I live right above a karaoke bar so sometimes I work while listening to people singing ABBA or Cher. Also, note that my apartment never looks as pretty and tidy as the picture I took! It usually has mugs, dirty dishes, and clothes all over the place.
What hardware and software do you use to create your designs?
I own an iPad Pro from 2017, in which I create most of my illustration work. I also own a MacBook Pro that I use to get things done for Stripe. Within the iPad Pro, I use Procreate, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop. I like how straight forward these apps are, although I wish they had all the options that the desktop app offer. On my MacBook Pro, I tend to use Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, and Sketch. I used to illustrate a lot in Sketch, then I realized that Adobe Illustrator was way easier. Still, I am not an expert and I learn something new every day.
Tell us about your routine (or lack of one.) How do you structure your days to get things done?
I wake up at 7:30 am and spend some time in bed going through social media and catching up with my family on WhatsApp. After that, I get dressed and pack my stuff in order to head to the office. I commute by bike using the DublinBikes which is a public bicycle rental system. It usually takes me around fifteen minutes to get to the office. I grab breakfast there and then I go through my emails. I plan and set goals for the day and right after that, I start working.
I tend not to have meetings during the morning because my whole team is based in San Francisco, which is great timing to get things done. When I finish all my meetings at 7:00 pm, I am ready to walk home. I don’t bike back home because the bicycles are too heavy and there is a slight hill that makes me run out of breath. I walk home which takes thirty minutes then I take a shower and watch something on Netflix or Crunchyroll. I go to bed around midnight.
Stripe office, Dublin
How do your space, tools, and habits benefit you? What about those things do you think needs improvement?
Spending time working in a healthy, safe, and trustworthy environment is not necessary to create high-quality work in my opinion—but it definitely helps. It’s also nice and helpful to work while being surrounded by talented and kind people. Whenever I’m having a tough day, I can just grab a cup of coffee with a coworker and disconnect for a while.
So far, my whole experience of living in another country has benefited me both personally and professionally. I’ve gotten the chance to meet new people, make new friends, and get to know myself better. What I have realized is that I should be more confident about my work and take more ownership of what I do. I’m very lucky that people have given me so many opportunities that have allowed me to grow a lot. I will always be grateful for that and I wish to provide opportunities to other people in the future. I will keep pushing to improve my lack of confidence and I will keep working to make stuff that I like.