Mary Meehan, ’77
To understand Mary Meehan’s ambition, you need to know that MCAD has never offered a theater design degree. Nevertheless, as a student, Meehan petitioned for and won that privilege as independent study, because the college did offer fashion studio courses. For a time, she worked as a stitcher (seamstress) in the costume shops of the Minnesota Dance Theater, the Children's Theatre, and the Guthrie. “Theater is a huge love of mine but a career just wasn't in the cards,” she explains. Following that, Meehan spent 10 years with Dayton Hudson Corporation’s department store division, where she pioneered the New Product Development Department, helping to create a private label program and the Santa Bear Christmas character.
In July 1982, Meehan used her creative nerve to co-found Iconoculture, Inc., a subscription-based company offering its clients insights into consumer behavior and marketing trends. Iconoculture uses anthropological techniques for trend-spotting, studying the values that drive consumers. As Meehan explained in an interview, “It’s constant entertainment trying to figure out what makes people tick.”
Iconoculture is still in operation, but Meehan and her business partner Vickie Abramson sold their interest in February 2010. The partners now operate Panoramix Global, which unravels reveal patterns in the complex system of worldwide consumer trends for strategic marketing.