I am a wife and mom to one human and two dogs. I hold a Bachelor of Business Administration and Wedding and Social Event Planner Certificate. I love Netflix, a good book and a perfectly-made latte. I am stubbornly tenacious and fiercely passionate. I revel in creative freedom and I have mad organization skills. (Seriously. Ask my husband.)
I started Melissa Dawn Designs after my son was born. I developed a deep interest and passion for event design when planning my son’s first birthday (thought I’ve always loved planning parties). Soon after, I found myself planning and styling similar events for friends and their littles. Today, I help clients plan all kinds of events from dinner parties to baby showers and (mostly) everything in between.
I believe the greatest gift you can give is joy. Whether it’s a mom who wants to create a memorable birthday experience for her child or someone who wants to propose to the love of his life, I feel truly honoured to be invited to help people celebrate life’s milestones - and participate in their joy. Melissa Dawn Designs is about giving the gift of joy, no matter the celebration, milestone or event.
What is your proudest moment as an entrepreneur?
Aside from going after my dream and starting my business (yay me!), I think one of my proudest moments comes a little more recently. I was asked to plan a business dinner party for a small business owner that I have been a fan of for a few years now. She is so talented and I was in awe when she reached out to me to help plan this special evening for her and her guests. I am still so honoured and have loved every minute of it!
What habits do you practice to keep yourself organized?
LISTS!! I usually have a few notebooks on the go, each for something different. I prefer to write out my lists the old school way. I also rely on my CRM system to keep all client projects organized. And one final thing - I do my best to time block in order to stay on track and not procrastinate (too much).
How do you keep yourself motivated?
When I’m starting to feel a lack of motivation I have a couple go to’s to try. First is listening to a business related podcast like Goal Diggers by Jenna Kutcher or RISE podcast with Rachel Hollis. Second, I change up the scenery. It’s easy to feel a slump when working from home, so I like to try out new cafes or even the library to get in a productive zone. But at the end of the day, my goals and my family are my biggest motivators. I have plans for this company and no one will chase those dreams for me - you have to put in the work yourself.
Are there any brands/people you look up to? If so who are they and what do you admire about them?
I absolutely admire women like Jenna Kutcher and Rachel Hollis. They put in the work, taught themselves what they didn’t know and chased big dreams for their businesses. Supporting themselves AND their families - talk about goals! There’s a reason I listen to them talk when I need a pick me up.
I really admire the many small business owners that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting throughout the last year since starting my business. Because many of them, I looked up to before I knew them personally. It's pretty cool to look back and see all of the connections and friendships I’ve made since starting my business. I am in very good company in the YYC small business world.
What advice would you give to someone starting their own business?
Just go for it! Decide what you want to do and make a list of how you can achieve that. When I decided to get serious about event planning and turn it into a career, I looked for a course at the University and enrolled myself in the program. I wanted to be armed with the best knowledge and have some relevant education under my belt. However, since then, I look for free or cheaper workshops and online learning programs all the time. Sites like CreativeLive are amazing resources to learn new things that help reach your goals.
We are so lucky to have so many resources out there to help guide us. Take advantage of it!
And be sure to surround yourself with supportive people. This not only includes family and friends (that’s a given), but also other new or established business owners. They really know what you are going through, because they have been there too!f You can join local groups like Ace Class or Rising Tide, who hold monthly meetups where they discuss a different topic with other entrepreneurs. These environments are so welcoming non-judgemental. I highly recommend you give them a try! Good luck, friend.