I found this mama on Instagram (A fellow East Coaster, Boston to be exact) and her feed was so full of life and happiness, it was hard not to get drawn in! This mama's mission is all about girl power, having fun and showing your best friends how much you care, with her " Bestie Boxes". I hope to grab a coffee or maybe a cocktail with this beautiful mama sometime in the future!
Tell us a Little about yourself, your family and your business.
I am from Boston, MA. Married, and a mother to 2 amazing little boys; Aaden (7) & Avery (3). Happy Soiree is a website that celebrates female friendships. On the site we have; a shop that has some really cool gifts for your girls. We also offer a one of a kind bestie gift box, it's kind of like a mini party in a box that you send your bestie, letting her know she's the best & it's time to set a date to soiree! The box was inspired by my own struggle with making time for my best girl friends. I also collaborate with a certified makeup artist (our beauty blogger) we host makeup lesson parties, that you can book on the site. The blog is more of a lifestyle blog, where we (my friends & I) share all the fun stuff like; Parties, DIY's, Beauty, Style, Fab finds and more!
What did you do before starting Happy Soiree?
I worked full time at Mass General Hospital in the radiology department. In fact I still work there, however now I'm part time so that I can take care of my kids and focus on my dream. Plus I recently went back to school and in the process of getting a degree in Graphic Design.
How did you come up with your company name and why?
I originally wanted to start my own event planning business, because I loved decorating parties for my kids. So I leaned towards something party-ish & fun.
What inspired you to start your own business and how did you start it?
Well as I mentioned, I originally wanted to start a party planning business. So when I first started Happy Soiree, that's what it was. I actually started the idea with my sister, because we both loved throwing our kids parties & she's also really good at party decorating. However, a few months in, we realized it wasn't really working out. She decided to go another path, and I decided to continue on with the idea. As I started moving along I realized that I wanted to bring the site in another direction- an online party/ gift shop. So I dove in and registered my business as an LLC so that I could purchase items at wholesale to resell. The bestie box inspired the shop, the shop inspired the idea behind the girl squad type of blog, and now here we are in a completely different direction. I couldn't be happier!
Is there a specific tool you use that makes managing a business easier?
Ha! Are you ready? I use quite a few different things. Here are my top faves: My bando agenda, it's just so fun it makes planning fun. However, I don't always stick to my planner. I also have my idea notebook, that I jot all my random ideas in. I also use Google docs a lot, to also save ideas in different categories. I share those with the girls, as a communication tool. I am a die hard Canva fan, I use Canva for all my website graphics. I use Instagram A LOT! I just started using Hootsuite to help me with Instagram, and I am loving it so much. I also use Pinterest for inspo and create secret boards, for project ideas. My go to photo editing apps are: VSCO, a color story, Canva (they have an app now, yay!) word swag, snapseed, and finally PicsArt.
What were some of the learning curves of just starting out?
I think the blogging aspect was kind of easy for me this time around because I actually had a blog prior to this business. It was a breastfeeding mom blog, but after 2 years of that I decided I wanted to keep my life with my boys as my own personal thing. So with that blog I had a chance to get past the grainy dark photos phase, and with this blog I was better with my photos. So the hardest part about this business I'd say was the legal stuff. Learning what I needed legally to sell items on my website. Luckily I had a fellow mom blogger, who is now my friend, help guide me with all that stuff.
What's it like being a business owner and mom, how do you schedule both?
It is really hard. Sometimes I step back and look at what I'm trying to achieve: be good wife, a great mom, a business owner, AND a student. Never mind be a good friend! I think to myself, are you insane? It's a lot, and I do suffer a lot from guilt, trying to balance it all. Most of the time I feel like I should give more to my children. When I give more to my family I feel like I'm not putting enough work into my business. Lately, I have been telling myself, balance is not real. That's hard for me to accept. I'm a Libra! haha! But seriously, though, I know I'm a good mother & wife, and I also know that this is my dream. I can't do the office job- it literally makes me want to crawl out of my skin. I have to make this all work out, because me being happy will help me be a better mother and wife. I hope that my children will pursue their dreams when they get older, and not settle.
What has been your greatest lesson in business and motherhood?
That I can't do EVERYTHING myself, and that's okay. It's okay to take breaks and accept help.
Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and mothers?
Based on the journey of my business, this is my advice: Don't give up. Don't settle. It's never too late. I am turning 30 this September, it took me until I was 29 (ahem, which is still young!) to figure out what I really wanted to do with my career. There's nothing wrong with that. What would be wrong is if I just said, oh well I can't compete with these 25 year olds who have it all figured out, and just stayed at my desk job I hated. I decided that I would go back to school and really explore what this thing is that I recently found I love so much. My business took a bunch of turns before it became what it is. I kind of just let it takes it's own course, I followed it and love where it took me. So if it doesn't work out exactly the way you imagined, do not give up! Just go with it! Create that dream job of yours. The greatest thing you can do is inspire your children to go for their dreams. Another thing: just because someone is already doing something you want to do doesn't mean you shouldn't try it. You're not them, you are you. It'll be different and unique. Also, you should always be kind and helpful to others, you'll be amazed how far that will take you.
What does a “normal” day in your home look like?
A normal day in my house (during summer vacation): my kids always wake up before me, I'm not a morning person. They actually entertain themselves for a bit and let me sleep, but I get up once I can hear them- because I'm that nervous mom who thinks of all the different ways they could die if left alone too long. Anyway, I get up we eat breakfast, I drink my coffee. If we don't go out to a park or something we'll usually watch some TV together, then play, color, paint. Their favorite time is when I actually let them play on their tablets, while I try to squeeze in some work. Then the husband comes home and takes over. We have dinner. If he's not exhausted we'll watch our shows together, if not he'll go to bed, and I'll get back on the laptop.
Besides business and your family, do you have any hobbies you love to enjoy (when you have the time)?
I love our little family trips, we haven't flown anywhere yet as a family. But we take little road trips sometimes, those are always fun. I love to get together with my girls and have some drinks and just chit chat. I'm also a hardcore Netflix binger. But I had to cut that down, due to all my work.
I’m a huge coffee lover, and I'm always looking for new types, do you have a particular favorite?
Sorry, I'm that annoying girl who drinks Starbucks iced non-fat caramel macchiatos lol but if I'm home I usually drink a Cafe Bustelo K-cup with some Almond Joy flavored creamer.
Who has been an inspiration to you in your life and why?
I'd have to say, other bloggers. Without following so many different accounts I wouldn't have figured out that I could start my own business doing what I love. One of my favorite bloggers; Joy Cho from Oh Joy! Said in a post: If you don't know what you want to do with your life, start a blog and you will find your passion. I truly believe that. There are a lot of great bloggers that inspire me, like the girls over at A beautiful Mess, Studio DIY, and the Alison show- just to name a few.
If you could travel anywhere or do anything in the world what would that be?
Right now, where I'm at mentally I'd have to say Thailand. I'm really craving a more chill and intention based trip. But I'm also dying to visit LA, Greece, Italy, Paris, and Fiji.
If your children learn one thing from you what would you wish that to be?
Create your own reality. You can do whatever you want, and never let anyone tell you different. Be strong and never let misfortunes in your life hold you back.
Any other comments or advice you would like to share?
There will always be people who just don't get what you do, or just have a different way of thinking than you. Just don't listen to them, don't waste your time trying to explain yourself. Just go off and do it, they'll eventually see it. If they don't, they're not your target market, so who cares. You got this mama! Stay colorful Xoxo, Melinda
Now go check out her Insragram @happysoiree and send your best friend a little love!!
all photos by: LaurenDobishPhotography.com