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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Boss Lady - Jill White

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.  

Jill White of Jill White Designs!
Jill and I met in college while we were both pursuing degrees in Interior Design. We've remained friends to this day and I'm often guilty of running design ideas by her to get an outsiders approval. Check out one of her latest projects, The Waters, Hot Springs newest boutique hotel.

I grew up in England, Arkansas... actually outside of England in the middle of a field in a town called Altheimer. My husband always corrects me and makes me say I am from Altheimer.

My paternal family were all in the construction/carpentry business and my maternal family were farmers (hence the fields). I grew up working at my grandfathers hardware store/lumber company (Altheimer Lumber Company), running around, mixing paint, making keys, helping my grandmother with the books, and answering phones (like my grandfather who said every time he answered the phones, "Altheimer Lumber Company, Lovelace speaking"). My maiden name, Lovelace.

I started college at UCA and soon decided that was not the place for me. After a brief stint in Dallas and then back to Little Rock, my high school boyfriend from England High School, Chris White (Market President for Simmons Bank in Central Arkansas), proposed and we were married in 2001. To date we have moved 9 times!!! Salina, Kansas; Hot Springs, AR (twice); England, AR; Fayetteville, AR; and Little Rock, AR. Our longest stay was in Fayetteville from 2005-2012. It was there that I visited the University of Arkansas Fayetteville Interior Design program and knew that was where I was meant to be all along.  

As a non-traditional student, I was more focused and driven. I knew what I wanted to do and was ready to do it, even though I cried a lot and wanted to quit. Getting a Bachelors in Interior Design is not the easiest major! They tried to break us, but I powered through and am SO THANKFUL!!!

After college, I began working for Perkowitz and Ruth Architects, a California architecture firm with a location in Rogers, Ar. Sadly we left Fayetteville in 2012 for Hot Springs. I had a lot of mixed emotions about leaving the town where I finally found myself. Looking back, I see now that it was the best choice for our family, as it brought me to my next job with Taylor Kempkes Architects and our sweet baby girl, Stella.

We left Hot Springs in 2014 for Little Rock, and I swore to my husband I would never move again!!!

    1. Give us your elevator pitch. I am an Interior Designer who specializes in residential and light commercial design, big and small. I am currently doing projects from one room design of a bedroom, to a boutique hotel and an 8,000 square foot home. I thrive myself on listening to my client and making their space reflective of them, their families, and their lifestyle. Form follows function. A phrase I learned in design school and I try to remember in every project.

    2. What inspired you to make the leap to small business owner? After I had my beautiful baby girl, Stella, I couldn't imagine going back to an 8-5 desk job. I wanted time with her, on my on time. So that was it... In April of 2014, I designed a logo, ordered some business cards, started an Instagram page and somehow began my business!



    3. What helps you get started each morning? Coffee, diet coke, 10 mile jog, meditation?? A husband (who wakes up at 4:30 EVERY MORNING.... roll eyes) and a 4 year old who thinks 6:00 is late. Ohhhh &.....COKE. Not the drug, the cola. I mean, it might as well be the drug because I am addicted to them.

    4. Tell us about a day in the life of running your business.  I wish I could say unicorns, rainbows, and sunshine. Some days are, but most days are non-stop, messy desk, running like a crazy person, trying to do 10 things at once and raise a daughter and go to carpool, soccer, still have a life, run a business by myself, keep up with all of my projects, and maintain my sanity.


    5. What keeps you motivated?  I LOVE MY JOB!!!! My clients motivate me. My family motivates me. I motivate myself. I love what I do and do not want it to stop, ever. I can't explain the feeling when a project is completed, the client is happy, and I can see my hard work in real life.

    6. Describe your dream day.  Seriously? Spa, shopping, beach, lots of amazing food and drinks, 2 naps, and a nanny. Yep, I am the typical girl.

    7. What is your greatest strength/super power? Listening. You can ask my clients, but I hope that they feel I am a good listener. Oh, and MIND READER. You have to be to a godo mind reader to be a good designer ;)


    8. Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat?   INSTA!! All day, errrr day!

    9. What do you do in your free time? What. Is. Free. Time. Seriously?  I actually did finally carve out time for myself and started working out again for the first time since before I had Stella. Yep, she is four...

    10. If an investor gave you 1 million dollars to use toward your business, how would you spend it? AN OFFICE BUILDING and an ASSISTANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hands down, drop the mic.



    11. Name something you hate doing but have to do for the good of your business. How do you make it tolerable? Pay taxes. hahahahahahahhahahaaaaaaaaaaaaa. I tolerate it so I don't go to jail.

    12. How do you handle discouragement? It is part of it. In the world of social media in our faces, there will ALWAYS be someone cooler, with better ideas, and doing better than you. I choose to keep my head up, focus on MY clients, MY jobs, and take inspiration from colleagues and others I look up to. I am thankful EVERY SINGLE day for my clients!!


    13. Do you have a favorite, inspiring quote? Dory the fish:" Just keep swimming" Wait... that is Stella's... I am a screenshot, quote, meme, psycho. A few favs...... "You have to be willing to be bad at it in order to get good at it" - "How you make others feel about themselves says a lot about you" - "Prove them wrong" - "You know who is going to give you everything? Yourself." - "Work hard and be nice to people" - I have to stop myself here or I will keep going... 

    14. Who are you in your next life?  A professional surfer on some island. or a rockstar who sings 90s alt/grunge.... just call me Courtney Love. 

    15. Any secrets on how you balance the ins and outs of running a small business?  I will let you know when I figure it out.

    16. What’s the best advice you have for other women wanting to be entrepreneurs?  DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Life is way too short. If you want it, work hard and take the leap. Best thing I ever did.
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