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 - Natalie Freeman

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 Natalie! I live on a small hobby farm with my husband, Luke, in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

I still can’t quite believe this is my story. And of course, my story wouldn’t be what it is without my life partner. I met my husband in a local park the third day of college. We both came to the University of Missouri from Arkansas & quickly became friends. That friendship grew into a lifelong admiration for one another & soon enough, we were hitched! We were 19 & 20 at the time, but we had a lifetime of shared goals & dreams.

Throughout our dating & early years of marriage, I blogged. At first this was just a simple way of sharing my life with family & friends from my hometown of Cabot, Arkansas. Eventually this knack for writing & photographing our life grew into a lifestyle blog, Natalie Creates (natalienoack.blogspot.com/).

Once we graduated from college, we moved back to our home state & quickly found a plot of land we could call home. We lovingly called this place Freckled Hen Farm. With a small savings account, we slowly began renovating our ranch-style house into a cozy farmhouse (#freckledhenfarmhouse).

As we renovated, I shared the process on my blog & Instagram (@nataliecreates). Folks began falling in love with our simple, approachable style & charming farm life. We decided to launch a new business, Freckled Hen Farmhouse, inspired by our life on the farm.

Now we own & operate an online general store (www.freckledhenfarmhouse.com) and full-time brick & mortar shop in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It’s such a gift to wake up each morning & inspire folks to cultivate a richer, more meaningful life within their own homes.

 

  1. Give us your elevator pitch. Freckled Hen Farmhouse is a modern day general store brimming with refined home provisions & quality farm supplies.

  2. What is your business? Freckled Hen Farmhouse

  3. When did you start your business? In 2016, but it’s been a business in the making for many years before that.

  4. What inspired you to make the leap? I knew this was my life’s work. I had always wanted to own a shop that created a sense of community. And that’s what I am now doing.



  5. What helps you get started each morning? I cannot function without coffee & my to-do list.

  6. Tell us about a day in the life of running your business. I do a whole lot of everything. From shipping online orders to scrubbing the bathroom floor at the shop, there’s nothing I do not have my hands in. On my best days, you’ll find me balancing online commitments - creating newsletters, connecting with influencers - & responsibilities at the shop - helping customers & managing our small staff.

  7. What keeps you motivated? I love that there’s always a mistake to learn from & more work to do. While that might sound exhausting, I find it exhilarating. My work doesn’t just pay the bills. It refines me & teaches me daily. I also love the freedom of being my own boss. I’ve learned over time that I lead well.

  8. Describe your dream day. My dream day would always involve a beach.



  9. What is your greatest strength/super power? I can often see the good in just about any situation. My cup is always half full.

  10. Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat? Instagram forever. I’m a very visual person & I love capturing the beauty around me.

  11. What do you do in your free time? I love to travel with my husband. It keeps me inspired & broadens my world. We go on 2-3 large trips a year. We’re headed to Puerto Rico in May!

  12. If an investor gave you 1 million dollars to use toward your business, how would you spend it? I’d hire my husband full-time, start an artisanal bakery & build a barn to house our little general store & bakery duo.



  13. What’s the biggest risk you ever took; how did it go? We took out a small business loan to launch Freckled Hen Farmhouse. For months, I barely slept a wink, worrying that we made the biggest mistake of our lives. Thankfully, I’ve now learned that the risk of not acting on your dreams is far greater than the risk of failing.

  14. Name something you hate doing but have to do for the good of your business. How do you make it tolerable? I am not tech savvy & I would rather die than manage our finances. Thankfully, my husband & I are complete opposites. He loves numbers & is a whiz at problem-solving. He picks up my slack daily.

  15. How do you handle discouragement? Discouragement is just part of it. Keep moving forward, friend.

  16. Which iconic person inspires you? Elizabeth Gilbert. I’ve read every book she’s ever written & I loved her podcast, “Magic Lessons.” She’s brilliant.



  17. Do you have a favorite, inspiring quote? “Everybody needs beauty, as well as bread, places to play in & pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” - John Muir

  18. Who are you in your next life? Lorelai Gilmore. Stars Hollow, sign me up!

  19. Any secrets on how you balance the ins and outs of running a small business? Take time off for you & your family. I am a better boss, business owner & human when I’ve had time to rest & really live outside of my work life.

  20. What’s the best advice you have for other women wanting to be entrepreneurs? Ask lots of questions, don’t ever assume you know everything. Connect yourself with a community of fellow entrepreneurs, don’t go it alone.

 

All photos by Nikki Toth

 

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