Q & A With Melissa
1. I can't help but ask, how did you come up with the name MashaDasha? Does it have any special meaning?
My beautiful twin daughters Meredith and Danielle begin their lives as Masha and Dasha in a Russian Orphanage. At 15 months old, and institutionally delayed, we finally brought them home forever. From the moment we met them they have inspired me to to my best, to do what I love and create beautiful things. They are the inspiration behind Masha Dasha Designs. As soon as my daughters came home I started crafting for them and eventually with them. Now that they are in elementary school all day long I have time to craft and create on my own.
2. How and when did you decide that you were 'on to something'?'?
I've always been an artist. I studied art history and fine art in school. I've painted in oils and love working in pastels as well. When I got married I created my own Ketubah, which is a decorative Jewish wedding contract that you hang in your home as a piece of art. I began making custom Ketubahs in my spare time. My art was put on hold while we were starting our family. Once we finally settled in as a family of 4, The first piece I made was a crayon monogram for my daughters preschool teacher. Every teacher gift I made turned into at least one if not more orders from teachers and fellow parents that saw the pieces I made. Then I knew there was a market for my art.
3. Who was your first official client?
My first client was the first preschool teacher I made a monogram for. She loved the piece I made her and ordered a piece for her daughters new apartment. She had just graduated college and I made her a colorful button monogram. Not long after she received the gift from her mom, the daughter called and ordered another one for one of her friends. Word of mouth has been amazing.
4. Have you ever been asked to do any custom monograms as favors, or in bulk?
The only pieces I do in bulk are custom shaped crayons. I can make custom crayons in any color and shape. I have awesome molds in shapes like Lego pieces, hearts, artist pallets, mustaches. They make great party favors and stocking stuffers and can be personalized. At $2.00 to $5.00 each they are very reasonable. I recently started making large fun shaped crayons on Mardi Gras beaded necklaces, they make great party favors as well.
5. Do you ever host workshops? If no, is this something you would consider?
I have not hosted workshops before but am very interested in it. I am a member of a local moms group and have hosted pintrest play dates before where we picked a few crafts we found on pintrest and did them with our children. I have also held a number of children's crafts corners at various craft fairs and markets where I've had a booth. At the Chappaqua farmers market I had a "paint with Vegetables' kids craft table and at the children's book festival I hosted a "make your own monogram' craft where children made monograms using washi and duck tape. Both were very successful and a lot of fun.
6. If there is one lesson you would like your girls to learn as a result of you opening your own business, what would that be?
There are a lot of lessons I've learned and hope to pass on to my daughters. Definitely, Follow you dreams and your passion. If you love something go for it. And something I am still working on is to be organized. I was so grateful to be able to stay home with my kids instead of working full time. I am thrilled to be able to make some money while working from home but I am still trying to figure out the work/life balance. Especially since my art studio is in my house I never really get away from my art.
Thanks for reading!