This week I am featuring Nicole from Mia Monroe Boutique and I am so excited that I finally get to work with this hot mama! We have been talking for months, ever since she reached out and asked for bloggers to represent her shop, but we never ended up doing anything together until now. I am so happy to have her on this series and know you will just love her cute family! Now, you must go check out the Frozen and Minnie Mouse themed dresses in her shop, they are too cute!
(All item images courtesy of mia-monroe.com.)
Tell us about what you make/sell in your shop.
I would say I sell a bit of everything! From tutus, birthday outfits, hair accessories, wall decor, paintings, ect. Anything can be customized! And everything is handmade, even my flowers.
How/why did you start making these products and open this shop?
I began the shop by making hair accessories. I just had my daughter and was now obsessed, so began trying to make my own! Then someone introduced me to Etsy, and it's all history from there. I branched out from hair accessories by customers/people on social media asking me to create different types of items. Once I began to add the custom, hand painted wall letters and tutu outfits, the shop blew up! I have even had orders from two members of the cast Jerseylicious (Jackie and Alexa), and one member of Teen Mom 3 (Mckenzie). [So cool!]
How long have you been in business?
My shop just turned 2 years old this June.
What is your background (college/career/etc.)?
I began college at Loyola University of Chicago as a PreMed/Forensic Science major. But, my heart has always been in art. I began to lose interest after about a year and a half and decided to take a break to launch my shop. I was very reluctant at first, but I've been quite successful so far, and I am much happier!
I am also a young mother. I became pregnant at the age of 18, and had my daughter, Mia, at 19 (I am now 22). She was not planned (I was actually on birth control), but thankfully I had wonderful support. Children and marriage was never a plan of mine, but I believe everything happens for a reason. My daughter's father and I have now been happily married for one year and own a beautiful home. All it takes is love and pure dedication, age doesn't matter.
Tell us a little bit about your family and how this shop helps your family.
We own a home in Plainfield, IL. So, all earnings from my shop help pay for household items/maintenance such as bills and groceries, everything a "regular" job would pay for, really! It helps us to be more financially stable. It also helps me to be more confident. I never thought my ideas/creativity was important or could be an inspiration to others. Now I realize it is a gift I have, and I love sharing it!
Did you ever think you'd be doing this? What did you think you'd be doing instead?
Never. My heart has always been with art and being creative, it's like my outlet. But, I never imagined I could make money/a living doing it! So I would always put it on the back burner as a "hobby" and pursued a career in the medical field. I thought it to be more stable. But, after I began my shop as a side job, I loved it too much, and found myself wanting to do more and more! My head wasn't in the medical field anymore, as hard as I tried! So, I finally came to terms with it and decided to take a break from medical to see where dedicating more time to the shop would take me. And, so far, it has taken me quite far! I am much happier creating beautiful items for people and allowing my creativity to flow, rather than counting bones! Hahaha.
Does anyone help you with your shop?
No, I run it all myself. From creating, taking orders, packaging, shipping, advertising, etc.
How do you find time to run your shop and create products?
I take any spare time I can get! With a three year old daughter who LOVES attention, a husband (who, as every wife knows, is like a child themselves) [ha!], a house, and battling health issues, I am up sometimes until 2am working. But, it is all worth it when I see positive feedback and pictures posted on my social media! (I have an autoimmune disease called Graves Disease that affects my body a lot and constantly makes me sick.)
What do you love about this businesses?
Besides being able to create and paint all day, I love seeing satisfaction from my customers. They, literally, make my day by expressing how much they love an item! I put a lot into each and every thing I make, and to see it being appreciated is the best.
What is the most challenging part of this business?
The most challenging part of this business is how time consuming it can be. I hand make everything and it does take time. And not only that, I run everything alone. If I don't advertise and answer emails/questions, my shop won't grow. Computer work is a job in itself! Juggling my time between family and work has been a tough one for me because I feel obligated to get everyone's items out in a timely manner, while still wanting to spend time with my family. It can get a bit stressful at times but I always try to compromise.
Where do you see your shop in the future?
I may want to eventually open an actual shop locally. A small boutique with a bunch of items for everyone where you can also make custom orders! Other than that, I just want to keep expanding and reaching more people around the world.
Tell us your favorite product or your most favorite thing you've created?
I enjoy creating custom, hand painted wall letters the most, I would say. The fact that I can give you something completely different is amazing. You may see the same piece of decor you purchased from a Target or Wal-Mart in your friend's home, but I guarantee you won't see your custom wall letters like mine! Each set is difference and unique, which I love!
Do you have any advice for future mom-entrepreneurs?
If you have a great passion for something (anything!) please don't put it on the back burner - pursue it! Don't be afraid. Yes, everything may not work out, but it just as well may. You never know until you try it. Just because you are a mom, doesn't mean your dreams are over. You can still do anything and everything you love!
What are some of YOUR favorite shops/products, besides your own?
I have come across many shops on social media, now! Some of my favorites are Hello Mess Moccasins, Love Crush Bowtique, and The Glamour Baby.