Boss Lady - Collin McReynolds


Several months ago, ok, maybe a year ago, I was inspired to start a blog series called "Boss Lady". The mission behind Boss Lady is to inspire young women (and men) to follow their instinct/talent/passion and become entrepreneurs. 
My team and I are reaching out to all the woman owned businesses that inspire and amaze us on a daily basis. We will start with a brief background, then dive in to the nitty gritty of running a business, what keeps them inspired, and everything else in between. 



Hi, I'm Collin! I am currently living in North Little Rock, with my amazing partner Rene, little man Braden, and crazy cat Mary. My journey wasn't an easy one, however, I am super thankful for my experiences because it makes me super thankful for where I am today in my life journey.

What I am about to share is not something that I have ever expressed publicly. When I was approached for this, I knew what I wanted to say... but wasn’t quite sure how to put it into words (which is why this was submitted well after the due date). Sorry Ladies!

After I graduated High School my dream was to attend Culinary School. I can remember rolling out dumplings with my great grandmother and getting so much joy out of it. I enjoyed cooking more than anything, and knew early on that I wanted to be in the food industry. I would like to say that I went down the path that I had a HUGE passion for, sadly I did not.  I was involved in an abusive relationship that shaped a large part of my young adult life. Instead of dreaming and jumping head first to make my dreams a reality, I spent most days alone and became a person I did not recognize. At age 21 I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy. I was in an unhealthy relationship, had an unhealthy relationship with food, and did not provide a safe & healthy home for my precious little man. Years went by, and my world became very sad and scary. I lived many days in a constant anxious state fearful of what the day would bring. In an unsuccessful effort to keep peace, I allowed myself to believe what was happening was all in my head. Years go by, and I became even more depressed, isolated, and someone I did not recognize.

In 2013 I made a decision to make a change. I'm not quite sure what was different about that particular day. I did take note of how I felt when my then current spouse was gone for some time and a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I could finally sleep at night and focus on being a good mommy and providing a safe place for my son. It felt AMAZING to sleep peacefully. When I noticed the feeling of the weight lifted, real sleep, and like I could breathe again, I knew what I needed to do to get my life back. At age 24 I finally escaped the craziness. I decided I deserved a healthy life replacing fear with joy & it was my duty to provide this for my little boy. I knew it had to start with me getting myself healthy & surrounding myself with healthy people. With no clue of where to start, I reached out to my local CrossFit. I always saw them doing cool things when I drove by & everyone looked so happy. Not knowing what that was, I knew it's what I wanted. I instantly felt like I had a family of support & the impossible now felt like just a matter of time. I laughed, felt calm & started to find my true self.

Although I knew I had the support I needed, it was far from easy. More challenging than the workouts was the challenge of facing how much I had let myself go. I took one day at a time and quickly realized how I was fueling myself mattered. I decided to demand respect for myself and my boy with what we ate. I jumped into a Paleo Challenge Rene was teaching. The results were clear...not only was I dropping body fat but my skin cleared up, I had energy throughout the day & was even able to get off medications. The only problem was that I'm a true foodie & really missed my hearty foods. One by one I began creating meals with paleo friendly ingredients that I would "crave" so that this new eating style could be sustainable forever. Eventually I had developed a pretty substantial list of Paleo friendly meals I was ready to share with everyone.  I wanted everyone to know they could still enjoy amazing food & flavor and get the results they wanted!!

Today I still deal with a great part of that former life. What I can say is that those years made me stronger. After my divorce, I lived by myself for the first time in my life. It was just Braden and I with a fresh start. I am grateful for the adversity because it shaped me into who I am today. No matter what your story is; you can create a life where dreams become a reality. It takes jumping into the un- known with an optimistic mind. Sure, I could stress over all the craziness that comes with owning my own business (which I do), but at the end of the day I can look at where I am today and know that this is exactly where I am supposed to be.


  1. Give us your elevator pitch.  I create meals that are nutrient dense with quality ingredients designed for those looking to recover from an illness, athletes looking to recover quicker, and busy folks who need convenient healthy food. We use 100% grass fed, grass finished beef, pastured chicken & local produce. Our meals are carefully designed to fuel your body with the nutrient density it deserves leaving feeling satiated and prepared to enjoy life to it's fullest.

  2. What is your business?  Crave Fuel LLC

  3. When did you start your business?  April 2014



  4. What inspired you to make the leap?  I have always wanted to own a café (mainly because I was inspired by Sue's Pie Shop in the Heights & The Victorian Garden). After changing my eating habits and activity level, I lost about 50 pounds. The weight I lost was only a piece of what I gained. I also had mental clarity, my skin changed, my hives I dealt with where less frequent and my sons health issues changed because of the food we were eating. I quickly started learning how powerful nutrition was and it consumed me. I started converting my great-grandmothers recipes to a Paleo friendly version. I spent time educating myself on nutrition to pursue my dream of being in the food industry. I started researching Paleo businesses, traveling to see what was out there, and knew that Little Rock needed a Healthy Meal Service with quality being the number 1 standard.

  5. What helps you get started each morning? Coffee, diet coke, 10 mile jog, meditation??  I go to bed at night thinking of my Coffee. It seriously gets me excited!!! I am pretty picky when it comes to my coffee and struggle to find coffee that doesn’t hurt my stomach. I have found that Leiva's Coffee (local business) does not hurt my tummy and it tastes SO good! My cat and Braden love to wake me up too! The cat literally screams at me as an alarm and my little man will tickle my face... They are the best alarm clocks!

  6. Tell us about a day in the life of running your business.  With Crave, each day of the week is different. I'd have to say Wednesday is my favorite. The day beings reviewing the progress of the previous week and planning for the following week. This is also the day I schedule meetings with future and current clients. I can't even explain how rewarding it is to see someone that came to me with desperation a month ago & now walks in the door feeling great! This is what fuels me more than anything to keep our standards the highest...no amount of money can trump this.



  7. What keeps you motivated?  My clients- seeing them transform, reaching their goals, and fueling their bodies with the nutrition needed to heal & perform their best.

    My Partner, Rene- She is my biggest cheerleader. She motivates me to achieve my goals and dream BIG!

    My Son, Braden- Providing a healthy environment and showing him that anything is possible.

    My Former Life- Constantly bettering myself, growing, and being strong

  8. Describe your dream day.  Wake up without an alarm to the smell of coffee!! Crave is fueling a healthy life for my family and our incredibly caring Crave Team financially while fueling our amazing clients all over Central Arkansas! The success stories continue to pour in. Our clients with autoimmune issues are living better than ever.

  9. What is your greatest strength/super power?  I'm a fighter. Not letting adversity set me back, instead looking to the future and moving towards greatness!



  10. Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat? Facebook & Instagram! I have tried Snapchat, but I need to learn more about that one!

  11. What do you do in your free time? (ha! What is free time?!)  Hahaha! I am working on this one... currently working towards finding free time to discover what I love to do in my free time. I love escaping in a good tv series. I get lost in my favorite books learning about nutrition. I'm currently enjoying The Loving Diet by Jessica Flanigan which is about healing with Self Love.

    I absolutely LOVE going to yard sales and vintage stores. I want to free up my schedule and spend more time doing little things that I love and miss.

  12. If an investor gave you 1 million dollars to use toward your business, how would you spend it?  Crave would open up a store front & expand to offering meals all over! We would offer more hands on cooking opportunities & seminars to educate the public. There's so much more we can do for our health. I have a special passion for helping people heal themselves from terminal illness & autoimmune issues. I would invest in my team & build partnership to take wellness and nutritional healing to a whole new level. At Crave, we are not business people that started healthy business just to make money. We are health people that started a business to offer and have ourselves a high quality life! We aim to live life to the fullest and we believe that starts with what we eat.



  13. What’s the biggest risk you ever took; how did it go?  Creating Crave with only $50; it was one of the best decisions I have made!

  14. Name something you hate doing but have to do for the good of your business. How do you make it tolerable?  Spreadsheets!!! I play Tracy Chapman, start my diffuser and get after it. I can't stay focused on this for long so I plan frequent breaks preferably outside in the sun!

  15. How do you handle discouragement?  If I think I may be discouraged because I'm tired I add some sleep or a nice relaxing bath before bed. I post affirmations, review the progress I've had so far & try to celebrate all the achievements along the way no matter how small. The goals I have for Crave can feel overwhelming at times, however I quickly remember I have such a strong team and supportive clients. I'm not attacking this mountain alone!


  16. Which iconic person inspires you?  Danielle Walker, author of Against All Grain. Last year I went to her book signing and she was so inspiring. Read her story on her website, you are guaranteed to be inspired!

  17. Do you have a favorite, inspiring quote?  "Find out who you are and be that person. That's what your soul was put on this Earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth and everything else will come." -Ellen DeGeneres

  18. If you could choose anyone to pick as a mentor, who would you choose?
    Simon Sinek: His Ted Talk inspired me!!! I need him in my day to day life.
    Dr. Terry Wahls: I want to consume all of her nutrition knowledge!



  19. Who are you in your next life?  My cat! I am SO Freakin Jealous of my cat some days. She naps on a heated blanket whenever she wants, eats Paleo duck cat food (always fresh), uses the restroom on blue self scooping crystals & does what ever she wants! She's a princess.

  20. Any secrets on how you balance the ins and outs of running a small business?  Think with the end in mind and delegate sooner than later. Think big, be clear on your vision & build a great team around that vision.

  21. What’s the best advice you have for other women wanting to be entrepreneurs?  Get a mentor & link up with the great people of ASBTDC (Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center)! They have been a wealth of knowledge, guidance & support. Don’t let anyone or anything discourage you from what makes you happy. 

Find Collin on social media:
Crave Fuel - Instagram - Facebook
Crossfit Align - Instagram - Facebook
Collin McReynolds - Instagram - Facebook
https://www.cravefuel.com/

All Photos By: Saira Khan

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Boss Lady - Stacy MacDonald

Several months ago, ok, maybe a year ago, I was inspired to start a blog series called "Boss Lady". The mission behind Boss Lady is to inspire young women (and men) to follow their instinct/talent/passion and become entrepreneurs. 
My team and I are reaching out to all the woman owned businesses that inspire and amaze us on a daily basis. We will start with a brief background, then dive in to the nitty gritty of running a business, what keeps them inspired, and everything else in between. 

 

My name is Stacy MacDonald and I am the Owner, Designer, Miner and Maker of made. I am married to a pretty fantastic guy, who I actually started dating in the 7th grade, and we will celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary this August! We have three young children and as a family we love to regularly have dance parties, eat waffles and have Friday night- movie nights. I started making jewelry when I was about 17 years old after a few failed attempts to have my ears pierced. Finally resigning myself to clip-ons, I began making ones that suited my style as I headed off to college. I made jewelry off and on for the next ten years, evolving from selling clip-on earrings and necklaces to the girls in my dorm to eventually starting made. in the summer of 2014.

 

  1. Give us your elevator pitch. I make all of my jewelry with Quartz and Quartz crystals that I mine out of the Quartz mines in the Ouachita Mountains. I dig the stones out, clean them each by hand, and then turn them into jewelry that balances their unique, raw, organic characteristics with simple, minimalist lines. Hand mined. Hand made.

  2. What is your business? And how long have you been at it? My business is made. I have been making jewelry off and on since I was a teenager, but I started on this adventure the summer of 2014.

  3. What inspired you to make the leap?  Honestly, my third kiddo was about six months old and I was spiraling into an all too familiar black hole of postpartum depression. Having struggled with anxiety and depression since I was a teenager, I knew that I needed to get my hands to work doing something other than changing diapers. We didn’t have the funds to start up anything, but I had some leftover chain and wire from my last venture with jewelry making a few years prior. I got the thought during church one Sunday morning, “Quartz is a natural resource here. I wonder if I could make anything with it?” I shared my idea with my husband and a few days later we loaded up the kids and went on our first dig. I tell people all the time that as I was mining these stones out of the clay, Jesus was mining my heart. My process became like an object lesson of God’s grace, love and redemption because He pulls us out of the miry clay. He relentlessly pursues us. He cleans us up and admires us even in the clay and muck of life. He sees our potential even when we can't see it ourselves. Slowly but surely, the veil of depression began to lift. And to my surprise, these hands that I had nearly come to believe were worthless were making something that people actually liked! And my heart was being flooded with the love of Christ through it all.

  4. What helps you get started each morning? Coffee, diet coke, 10 mile jog, meditation??  I love this question because it wasn’t until I had baby #3 that I even started drinking coffee! But now, I don’t know how I ever functioned without it!



  5. Tell us about a day in the life of running your business.  My business is run in between making meals and changing loads of laundry. Sometimes it’s during a movie for the littles (let’s just be honest here) and other times it’s with them right next to me with their own strip of wire to bend into shapes and letters. It’s when they’re at school/preschool and after they’ve gone to bed. It’s between morning coffee with my husband at our dining room table and my weekly lunch date with my sister. I value the time I can spend on made. but I very much value my relationships.  

  6. What keeps you motivated?  It is so cool to me that I get to share the love of Christ with people through a piece of jewelry. made. for me is very much my redemption song and to see it resonate with others and encourage others is absolutely what keeps me going.

  7. Describe your dream day.  My dream day would definitely start with sleeping in and then a big yummy brunch (that I did not have to cook) at home with my family. The day would be fun and free of any pressures or timelines and then we’d finish it up with a fire and s’mores in the backyard with all of our friends.



  8. What is your greatest strength/super power?  I like to think I’m witty. Some may call me corny, but I’ll stick with witty.

  9. Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat?  I have actually gone against all small business advice here and decided over a month ago to completely sign off social media! You can read more about that on my farewell post here.

  10. What do you do in your free time? (ha! What is free time?!)  Someday I’ll remember what free time is… multi-tasking is my way of life for now.

  11. If an investor gave you 1 million dollars to use toward your business, how would you spend it?  Oh my! One of the biggest things I look forward to doing with my business is actually an extension of made. called Out of the Clay. I would love to work alongside an organization like Celebrate Recovery or something similar and be able to offer a place with all the tools and supplies for various art and craft forms available to people who are struggling with depression or addiction to come in and be able to make free of charge. If I were a therapist, I’d call it art therapy, but since I’m not we’ll go with “breakthrough crafting”. ;) I would then love to offer those makers the opportunity to sell their work and share their stories at a brick and mortar of made.



  12. What’s the biggest risk you ever took; how did it go?  I feel like life is one big risk after another. The old cliche really is true that if there’s no risk, there’s no reward. I tell my kiddos that sometimes taking a risk can end up hurting, but other times the payoff is so amazing and so exciting that it literally changes your life. We can’t be afraid to take risks for fear of the times it will hurt, because then we’re sure to miss out on some amazing things.

  13. How do you handle discouragement?  Discouragement is tricky. We all experience it and whether you’re pretty good about letting it roll off your back or not, it affects us all one way or another. I am not one of those people that finds it easy to just let things roll off my back. I don’t mean to dwell on discouragement, I just have trouble not taking it to heart. I have to regularly remind myself that I just can’t make everyone happy. Not everyone will be my customer and not everyone will love what I’m doing and that’s okay. *Cue Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”* ;)



  14. Any secrets on how you balance the ins and outs of running a small business?  I think it’s important to keep in mind that an overall balance is probably better and less stressful than focusing on trying to achieve a daily balance. Some days, I’m all mom and absolutely no work gets done. Other days, I have to be in full out work-mode and willing to allow other people to help watch the kids. Some moments of working are all for production and other times the focus is heavily on administrative work. I do a lot, but I can’t do it all all the time. I’ve tried and it just makes me and everyone around me miserable. I sleep when I need to and stay up late when I can. I set goals and work very hard to achieve them, but I also forgive myself when life happens.

  15. What’s the best advice you have for other women wanting to be entrepreneurs?  To me, starting a business is a lot like trying to decide if you’re ready to start having kids. You’re never really and truly ready to start having kids and there’s never a really and truly an excellent time to start a business. We’re all busy and have commitments and throwing a business in the mix is certainly time consuming, to say the least. But why not?! If you have an idea for a product or service or for a business, don't convince yourself that it’s just a romantic notion to pursue it. Don’t listen to that voice that may try to get you to believe that you’re too naive to go after it. Silence that with action! To go after something with passion and dedication is bold and brave and inspiring! To sit on your idea and give into fear or to allow worry to halt you into inactivity robs all of the rest of us of what you have to offer. Go for it.

 

All photos by: Saira Khan 
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