So, who is Miss Mustard Seed? I was one of those girls who would arrange and rearrange the furniture in my doll house. I liked vacuum marks in the carpet and a smooth bedspread with fluffed pillows when I was only in 6th grade. As an adult I discovered Country Living, Country Home, and Better Homes & Gardens. I would wait eagerly each month for my new issues and joined numerous book clubs to build my decorating library. I came to learn that I loved toile, ironstone, white slipcovers, french country style, and antiques.
One month I received my Better Homes & Gardens magazine and there it was…this beautiful home with hand painted Swedish motifs on the walls in every room. I love the painted welcome in the entrance, the fresh white, creamy yellow, and soft blue.
My point in sharing this is to inspire. I am not a trained artist…OK, I did go to a fine arts college, but I was a musical theatre major and the only painting I did was in my set design class. I am just the kind of person who says, “I love that toile pillow, but it’s $50! Maybe I can make it myself for $10.” Or I see a beautiful piece of hand painted furniture that’s $3000, good night! So, the only way I will have a piece like that is to learn to paint and do it myself.
How did this become a business?
If someone had told me that I would be a professional artist and a business owner a few years ago, I would’ve laughed. I am not a business minded person. And, as I stated earlier, am not a trained artist. No one would buy what I painted and I would mess up my taxes and finances, anyway. I would fail. Necessity (and my mom) pushed me to start this business, not any grand vision or confidence in my own abilities.
My husband is a youth pastor and the ministry is not a field you go in to if you want to make a ton of money. I left my job at a recruiting manager to work with my husband and later became a stay-at-home mom to our two precious boys. We could manage on one income and, although things we tight, we could support our family. Then…the school loan came due. We had to start making payments and had no way to make them. We also had a string of mishaps that left me feeling down and in tears most days.
One day, in my sad state, my mom told me to stop crying and start using my talents to make money. “But what about insurance…what about supplies…what about costs…what about taxes…where will I get clients…what if I fall off a ladder into a paint can?” My mom said she and my dad would be my investors and I should “just do it.” Mustard Seed Creations was officially filed as a business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania the next week. My parents bought me a laptop, painting equipment and supplies, a copier/fax/printer/scanner, a cricut, projector, Quickbooks Pro, marketing materials, a web address, training with an accountant, furniture to get me started…everything. My husband was 100% supportive and offered additional help with the kids and even put together my first advertising flier.
My mom drove me store to store in downtown Gettysburg to market my hand painted ornaments to sell. That day, I met the owner of the shop that sells all of my furniture, accessories, and antiques. I spent over an hour in that store, pricing my ornaments to sell and my mom waited in the car with my boys (a 5 month old and a 2 year old at the time.)
This business has not only become a financial help to our family, but it has given me a creative outlet that I couldn’t have imagined. I love decorating and DIY and now it’s my business. I “have” to go to yard sales and thrift stores and auctions. I often tell my husband as I’m going out the door at 7:00 am on a Saturday that, “It’s my job.” Just one of the perks! It’s been terrifying and rewarding all at the same time.