I am thrilled to introduce you to Marissa Kellner, a sweet friend of mine who I met on Instagram a year and a half ago while I was still pregnant with Izzy! Marissa is talented on so many levels: she is a home school mama, is a part-time nurse in the NICU/Maternity Unit, and runs her own business (The DellaRose Boutique) making felt wands and felt flower headbands for little girls. A couple of my favorite things about Marissa is her enthusiasm about being a mama maker, and her ability to balance it all. It’s something I admire! Today she is sharing her story about how she started her business, where her inspiration comes from, and how she balances her creative outlet with the many hats she wears.
One thing on your bucket list: “Well I have a ton, but one of them that I plan to do next year is hike a 14er (a.k.a. 14,000 ft. mountain) next year.”
Movie you wish you could live out: “Hands down, Pride and Prejudice! It’s my favorite love story and I’m a total Jane Austen girl. Her novels are my jam – I’ve read them all multiple times. Oh also, The Sound of Music because I just believe in singing randomly and if it was socially acceptable, I would live like I was in a musical.”
Are you a coffee or tea person: “Both! I’m a self-proclaimed coffee snob. I would rather have no coffee than bad coffee. But I also love hot tea on occasion.”
Thank you Marissa for being a part of our Real-Girls: Mothers community! Finding magic in the midst of motherhood + marriage is something we are all doing, together. Motherhood is not easy for every mama, and goodness knows it takes time to adjust into that new role!
PS: Make sure you scroll to the bottom of this post to find out how to enter our GIVEAWAY for a free felt hair bloom of your choice!
“If you look back through my 33 years of life, you will see a lot of creative interests and passions that bubbled underneath the surface. I painted, drew, sewed, and made all kinds of crafts. You will still find some of them floating around in the homes of my relatives. I loved music, singing, and writing songs for as long as I can remember. I always knew I had a passion for these creative interests, but I had no idea what to do with them. It wasn’t until I had my fourth child that an idea started to brew inside of me. You see, I’m a boy mama three times over and when #4 (a little girl!) got thrown into the mix, you can bet I began making all the things for her.
I work as a Neonatal RN, and 2017 was a very slow year for us in the NICU. Good for the babies, but bad for me because it meant that I lost a lot of hours at my job. I wanted to do something to make up for the loss of income, but I knew I couldn’t commit to spending more time away from my kids. Every avenue I went down, God shut the door. In a totally hopeless moment of saying “God what do you want me to do?”, a light bulb went off and the Holy Spirit said “I didn’t give you these creative abilities for nothing. I want you to use them”. Thus, the Boutique was born. I would call starting The Della Rose Boutique 100% God’s timing!
Every step I have taken on this path to starting and running my boutique has been led by the Spirit. I have prayed about every decision because I have no idea what the big picture looks like, but I want to be faithful with the next step. So if I have any success here, I truly give all the glory to God. Sometimes I wonder: why I didn’t figure out how to use my gifts until I was 33 years old?? But I’ve realized that I wouldn’t have been ready to use them before this time. My encouragement to you is to figure out the things you are really passionate about and then pray about it. I firmly believe God will lead you in the direction to use those gifts. There are a lot of things I’m not good at and that’s okay, because there are others out there who are really great at those things. It takes all colors to make a rainbow! So find your thing and then make a plan to set out to do it. You don’t have to see the big picture, just take the next step and all will happen in God’s perfect timing. Because I run a small shop, work a few days a month at the hospital, am a mom to 4 kids, home school, and oh yeah, cook, clean, AND I’m a wife…I’ve learned that in order to wear these many hats well, I need to carve out time to take care of myself. And some days, it’s not easy.
However, I have found a little secret to my ability to balance it all: and that secret is self-care. It might feel like you don’t have time for self-care, but in reality, self-care always gives back and recharges you to do the things you need and want to do.
Here are my tips if you want to start or grow your own business:
Know that the process will be a journey.
Hear me, it will not happen overnight! When I first started my business I was making bows, bibs, and felt flower hair accessories. One day I had the idea to make a felt wand, but I was nervous about it because it didn’t seem like something people would buy. I proceeded to make a few to see how they were received. I had a few girls I had met on Instagram tell me that they loved them and that gave me the confidence to keep making. About 6 months in to my business I jumped in to full-fledged wand making with my first wand release. It was a lot more successful than I anticipated it would be and now my wands are my best sellers. Since that time I have stopped making the bibs and bows and am focusing more on felt blooms and wands. My time is valuable, so I want to spend time making the things that are truly enjoyable for me to make and that people seem to be the most interested in from my shop. Don’t be afraid to step out into something new. Don’t be afraid to go in a different direction than what you had planned.
find one or two things you do well and stick with them.
I was watching a lot of other makers who were making great clothing items. I can sew and I contemplated making clothing items to sell in addition. As I thought and prayed about that, I realized, I don’t really enjoy making clothing and there are a lot of other makers who do it much better than I do. Be careful not to fall into the trap of trying to keep up with what others are doing…Just play, create, and do what you find joy in! This will help you figure out what you are good at and what you enjoy in the creative process, and will help you perfect that craft.
Network with others.
The statement “we rise by lifting others” is really so true! My business would not be what it is today without the help of other makers and friends I’ve met along the way. It starts with YOU though. I have learned that you really won’t grow if you are not seeking out opportunities for growth. It has been way out of my comfort zone, but a good lesson in how you don’t get anywhere by hiding in a shell and expecting things to happen.
Be the one who cheers others on. Be the one who leaves encouraging comments on IG. Be the one to support others in their endeavors. Set that tone and you will find that other people will want to come alongside to encourage you. You will find that friendships will form, collaborations will happen, and people will want to work with you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other brands to collaborate.
I went through a period of time where I was struggling because there are so many felt flower makers and I felt like their work was better than mine. My creations are simple and I equated that to “not as good as other shops”. I don’t use die cuts for my flowers and because of that, my flowers do not look completely perfect like some you see out there. It was a big struggle for me and I considered just getting the die cuts and changing my process. I had a couple of friends I met on IG who encouraged me and let me know they felt that was what made mine special and one of the reasons they loved them. Once I refocused, I realized that it is a quality that makes them unique. It’s super cliché, but I really had to tell myself “don’t worry about the flower next to you (no pun intended!), just bloom”. I still have to tell myself that sometimes!
As a mom who wears so many different hats, I have to manage my time well to get everything done. Meaning, I have to plan self-care in advance. I try to put at least one thing I can do to relax on the schedule for the week and then I don’t skip it. One of the things I love about carving out time to recharge is that I can be more present and more energized to care for my family when I take care of myself. There are times though when the kids didn’t get a bath or the dishes didn’t get cleaned up and in those cases I give myself grace and move on. After all, I am only one person! But the reality is, all of the things are still going to be there whether you make time to care for yourself or not.”
Marissa | Owner and Maker at The Della Rose Boutique
the della rose boutique + the mini apartment giveaway!
It’s no secret that I love dressing Izzy and doing her hair, especially now that she has enough of it for me to do tiny buns and piggies! We decided we wanted to give you a chance to win a felt hair accessory for your own little girl, as well as offer a discount code (code: MINIAPT) for 10% off your purchases until the end of August.
Go to both of our Instagrams (@TheMiniApartmentBlog / @TheDellaRoseBoutique) and find the image below to enter our giveaway! One winner will be chosen to receive a free felt hair accessory of your choice. Giveaway rules and details can be found in the image caption on our Instagram. Giveaway is from August 13 to August 15. The winner will be announced on the 15th in the comments on The Mini Apartment Blog’s Instagram.