Happy Friday, folks!
Okay, I have to set something straight..assuming it’s crooked…which I’m not sure it is…but just in case:
For The September Giveaway, I asked you to leave me a comment telling me which item is your favorite and why. That was just so I could hear from you and get to know you a little more…NOT because you have to choose between the five items.
Because, chicklets, if your name gets drawn out of the cyber-hat, you’re getting everything in the giveaway—the polish, the flowers clips, that amazing clutch—the whole box of cupcakes (I know the phrase is “the whole enchilada,” but we’re girls…so cupcakes it is).
I am now going to go try to change the wording so as not to confuse anybody else, and you are now going to go enter the giveaway with the full understanding that you will get not 1 but 5
cupcakes prizes if you win…right?
And now for Feature Friday.
Today, I’m taking a break from the house tour so that I can introduce you to this pretty lady:
Meet Melissa, my new sponsor and the creative mastermind behind SoChick! Handbags and Embroidery.
I asked Melissa to answer a few questions for me, and she was kind enough to oblige, so I’ll stop blabbering, and let y’all get acquainted.
Take it away, Melissa!
1) Tell us a little about yourself:
I’ve been married to my hubby for 8 1/2 years, we have 2 little chicks, two pups and a fat black cat named Jack Bauer. I grew up with my Dad, who is Army Retired, in Sleepy Hollow, NY. I was very close with my Nan (my Grandmother) and all of my Uncles were sure to look out for me.. which didn’t leave room for much excitement for a girl growing up in a small town, ha!
I moved to NC in 2001 when I went to ECU; I met my husband in 2002 while he was in the USMC. I enjoy watching college football in the fall, though we are huge UGA Bulldogs fans in our house since my husband grew up going to games living near Athens, GA. I also like Major League Baseball… since I grew up in NY, I’ll let you guess who my team is… hint: Blue and White…. don’t judge. 😉
2) What made you decide to go into business for yourself, and why did you choose handbags?
I went into business for myself out of a passion for creating and necessity, in a way. I made my first diaper bag in early 2008 when I found out we were expecting our second child. I was hooked and it was a whirlwind from there. In the fall/winter of 2009 I received several orders from friends for bags as Christmas gifts, and made a lot in the way of gifts for my own family … that’s when I really considered making a business out of my hobby. I started the research as far as running a business, etc… it happened that two wonderful babysitters had to move on to other chapters in their lives and with my husband’s support I made the decision to leave my full-time job at a local Animal Hospital, where I had worked for 5 years, to stay home with our girls and start SoChick! on a full-time basis.
3) How did you learn to sew, and how long have you been at it?
My Nan taught me basic hand sewing when I was young and in high school I would re-purpose old pants into small accessory pouches, sewing by hand. When I found out we were expecting our second child in early 2008 I decided to put my Nan’s 1970’s Brother Sewing Machine to use. With the help of several phone calls to my Stepmother and Mother-In-Law, I learned how to thread and use the machine. I then taught myself the basics of bag construction via the internet and several blog tutorials. Even with my first creation, a diaper bag, I was driven to add my own style to it… once I saw the result I was hooked. I have been making bags since then, 2008.
4) How do you balance your home/work life since both of them take place in the same space?
Haha, sometimes I have a really hard time with this and wonder the same thing: “How do I balance?!” I have a home studio, which used to be the nursery; it helps a ton to have a space dedicated to my work. I have to remind myself that the goal of working from home is to be available for my girls. Also, a supportive husband who understands that when I have orders to complete, and my little chicks have had my attention for the better part of the day, the house will more than likely be a disaster when he gets home and I’ll be locked away in my studio once the girls are in bed, but doesn’t hold it against me. *wink*
Oh and lists, calendars, organization… all key factors in running a business from home and keeping a happy balance!!
5) What’s the most rewarding aspect of your work? The most frustrating?
I think the most rewarding can sometimes be the most frustrating. Rewarding: I work from home, I am able to be available for my girls. Both of my girls are now in gymnastics (3 days-a-week!). I wouldn’t have been able to do this if I hadn’t left my ‘other’ job over a year ago. Frustrating: Yes, I work from home… I am busy, I have real work that I do… I run a business, frustrating is when I’m not taken seriously because I don’t have a job outside of the home. I like to think that once one sees the quality in my work, they get over that.
6) What item do you sell that you enjoy making the most (any particular design that sticks in your mind as a favorite)?
I really enjoy making framed clutches, I love the richness of the style paired with everyday simplicity of fun fabrics. I have done a few bridal orders with framed clutches and I can’t tell you how honored I am every time I find out that someone wants me to make an accessory for their big day! The second would be the zipped clutches. Sure, they are fairly quick to sew and inexpensive, but how awesome to pull a pretty little clutch from your tote when checking out at the grocery store? It’s kind of like an “ooh, ahh” moment, haha. I use one every day!
My favorite of Melissa’s framed clutches (by the way, if you ever decide to bring back this style and need someone to “review” it for you…I’m here for you, girl. *nudge, wink*).
7) What advice would you give to those considering starting their own small business?
Just do it… wait, Nike says that… can I say that? Seriously, though, I spent so much time planning to start my business, then “Should I, shouldn’t I?” But you don’t know for sure unless you Just. Do. It. Yes, plan, but don’t make planning an excuse… there is only so much one can do to prepare, some things just happen once you take the leap… the pieces will fall into place.
8) What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? ; )
Hmm… I like Carvel Soft Serve Vanilla. It’s a flavor in its own with its yummy creamy-ness. 🙂
9) What’s your weirdest preference or pet peeve?
When people drive below the speed limit. I think this may come from growing up in NY, don’t judge, but I can’t stand when the sign says “45” and someone is going “35” for no apparent reason… c’mon, its 45! That being said, I love living in the south and understand that life runs at a slower pace, and I am thankful for that.
10) What do you hope for your life and your business 5 (or 10) years from now?
5 years from now my youngest daughter will be in school and I’m hoping that will allow me to open my own fabric/sewing boutique where I can offer classes and such to teach others to embrace sewing as a hobby, and possibly a business.
“I think the most rewarding can be the most frustrating.”
I think every single one of us with children can relate to that statement. Well put, Melissa! Thank you so much for giving us a peak into your busy life.
And no worries about your impatience with us slow-poke Southerners. I was born and raised right here in Texas, and I still get cranky when I get behind folks doing 10 under…especially on the back-roads I drive.
In fact, there was this one time…ahem. I should probably save that story for later.
Have a great (THREE DAY) weekend, everybody!
Don’t do anything that grandma going 30 in a 55 wouldn’t do!