Chad and Meg Gleason met at Iowa State University while pursuing careers in furniture and graphic design, respectively. They fell in love and were married before their last year of college. They spent countless hours scheming about the possibility of working together someday. Sadly, the Great Recession had other plans (the year was 2008). Instead of moving to NYC after graduation as planned, they took the more promising opportunity to join Chad’s family’s farm business in Chad’s hometown—Audubon, Iowa. Chad worked with his father and brother on their grain and livestock farm while Meg started a letterpress stationery business called Moglea in the basement of their farmhouse.
The Moglea name was created during a very memorable car trip around Lake Michigan in 2009. The name is a mix of the GLEA from the Gleason’s last name and the M from Meg’s name. The name represented the letterpress stationery business initially but Meg wanted the name to be very non-specific, making sure that the brand could incorporate any design object that the Gleasons created under the Moglea umbrella.
In 2012, Meg exhibited the first Moglea stationery line at the National Stationery Show. Meg sought to bring paper goods to the wholesale market that used unique production processes that she hadn’t seen other lines using. That first line used hand applied paper collage, brightly colored hand painted neon edges on super thick card stock, and cards dipped in Kool Aid and natural dyes. The line was so successful that a larger studio space outside the home was needed for Moglea. Chad designed and helped build the first Moglea studio on the same property as their farmhouse in 2015. The studio was built adjacent to a river so it was designed with stilts to avoid any possible flooding. Through the design of the studio, Chad’s passion for designing furniture was reignited. He eventually exited the farm business in order to help design and direct Moglea in 2016. Their goal was to create a line of furniture and other home goods under the Moglea name.
A design business is challenging to keep staffed in a small town, so the Gleason’s decided to move Moglea to the much larger city of Des Moines in 2018. Located in the west end of downtown Des Moines, the DSM studio contains all operations of Moglea —design studio, wood prototype shop, pressroom, production studio and fulfillment. Chad and Meg are still creative directors for the line.
Moglea's artful stationery is created by using hand-applied production processes to add one-of-a-kind elements to each product. The production team thoughtfully applies layers of paint to extra thick sheets of paper before cutting them down, yielding completely unique compositions. Each piece is finished on one of their antique presses where it is foil stamped, printed or die cut using traditional letterpress printing processes.
The Moglea line is a joyful exploration of composition, pattern and color. For each new release, Chad and Meg intentionally focus on adding unexpected production processes or visual ideas to the current collection. The result is a product line in which each piece feels like a work of art that is meant to be shared.