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How Maisy Leigh built the coziest corner on the internet

Behind the life of a digital creator

Written by Gantri Editorial Team

Feb 21, 2022

Welcome to Community Spotlight where we bring you stories from designers, artists, and creators who inspire us. Here you’ll get a behind the scenes look at the creative lifestyles of some of our favorite people and the ways they’re living at home with Gantri.

Today, we’re chatting with Maisy Leigh, a digital creator and self-proclaimed “cozy” connoisseur. She talks us through her journey as a woman in STEM and how she changed the face of the Youtube “desk setup.”

If there’s any word to describe your world, it’s cozy. Tell us how that became your signature aesthetic.

It’s funny because I didn’t directly set out to make “cozy” my aesthetic. I think it started when we were all transitioning to remote work and I wanted to make a desk setup video like everyone else. A lot of the videos I saw were very masculine, cold and minimal. I decided to make a “warm and cozy” version and it ended up going kind of viral.

In the midst of COVID, I think we were all stressed and struggling with being at home. I decided to focus one of the few things I could control – making my space as cozy as possible and sharing that with others.

You mentioned other desk setups feeling masculine and minimal. We often think of tech this way in general. What has it been like to navigate this space as a female creator?
Coming from a STEM background, I know full well there is not a lot of equality within the field and I’ve often found myself feeling unwelcome. I think I wanted to shine a different light on tech related topics and remind people it doesn’t have to be super black and white. It can be whatever you want and I think I’ve inspired other female creators to not be afraid to step into this world. You can be a female software engineer or play video games or learn how to code and still have your own aesthetic.

If we all were to go super minimal, we would lose so much culture and personality. We can’t lose what makes us special. It’s all about making it your own.

As our coziness expert, what are your favorite cozy essentials?

  • Maple furniture. I have a lot  in my space and I think it creates a really warm ambiance.
  • A really great desktop background. I like having an image that brings me joy to look at.
  • Knickknacks. I love having little pieces around me like my sister’s artwork. They just add so much personality and make me smile.
  • A desk light. I think Gantri lights are ideal for creating that warm, cozy lighting I love.

What is the key to making a desk function?
Anything that makes you feel comfortable and not overwhelmed. Even if you have the most geeked out setup, if it’s too distracting or uncomfortable – you’re not going to be productive. You want your desk to make you feel safe and inspired and refreshed. End of the day, your space has to make you happy.

There’s a healthy mix of self care and productivity in your content. Any tips on how you balance the two?
I feel like in our world today there’s this pressure to hustle nonstop and that can feel really discouraging because when we do take time for ourselves, we end up feeling guilty. Not to get too political but I think this is a root of our capitalist society and the constant pressure to work, work, work can be really damaging. I think it's so important to balance our drive for success with the things that actually make us happy. If you’re pumping out content but it’s not making you happy, it won’t matter if you’re technically successful, you won’t be fulfilled.

Have you fallen into the hustle culture trap yourself?
Definitely. In my former tech jobs I constantly felt like I needed to prove myself as a female in STEM by working super hard at all times. But, I also felt super limited creatively because of the barriers created by this type of work model. I just feel like if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing – there is no balance.

The frustration that I felt in my workplace is what drove me to start creating content and allow myself to be creative with no boundaries holding me back.

You mentioned earlier that Gantri lights are a cozy essential and we’ve seen your Cantilever Table Light become a low key star on your IG. What has it brought to your workspace?
It’s such a warm light. My desk doesn’t get a lot of sun so having it there can make the gloomiest day feel warm and cozy. I love how it's just minimalist enough that I can make it my own and it subtly adds to the ambiance.

I didn’t just want to plop it on my desk because that wouldn’t really do the details justice. On my shelf I have the cord hanging down and you can really see how intentional every piece is.

Here at Gantri, we’ve talked about how your content makes us want to get our lives together. What’s your secret to a clean space?
Honestly, my desk gets really messy really fast. Especially receiving so many boxes as a creator. Trust me, I do not live in a museum. Creating this content inspires me to get my life together and get my desk cleaned up, haha. But I do think giving everything on my desk a home really helps me be able to quickly reset and gives me clarity.

As your followers know, you aren't always at your desk. What drives you outside of your work at home?
I’m a super social person and I strive to do anything that connects me with my loved ones. I always want to bring people together. I actually struggle to do things for myself. I always want a social aspect. This year I’m actually challenging myself to go do more activities alone, it's definitely a goal of mine.

It seems like you really connect with your audience by being so down to earth and real. Is that what you think sets you apart as a creator?
I hope so. Lately I’m trying to focus on the more human aspects of myself in my content. I’ve even been showing my messy desk and how I reset it or making more vlogs talking about mental health. I want my content to embrace the fact that I don’t have everything together and allow myself to be vulnerable with my followers on that level.

When I was just a consumer of content, I found myself feeling insecure a lot and comparing myself to others. “Maybe I should be more like this person” or “I should have my life be more like this.” So that’s what I’m always thinking about when I create content. I never want to have that effect on my audience. I want to be a creator that just feels like another friend on the internet.