New to the Site: Artist & Business Directories

New to the Site: Artist & Business Directories

We are excited to announce a new feature of our website, one which has been long requested. We recently finished creating online directories for our artist and small business tenants. These new directories are meant to help connect site visitors with tenants and help increase their online visibility. Site visitors are able to send messages through the listing to the artist or small business they wish to contact. Additionally, directory listings allow for a brief description, which is a chance to give prospective customers or clients an elevator pitch. Logos and links to websites can be included in listings as well.

We have taken the liberty of creating listings for most of our current tenants. When creating the listings, unless told otherwise, the email addresses which tenants have provided the office are used as the means of contact. While not visible to site visitors, the email addresses are required to create the listing. When contacting tenants, visitors complete a brief contact form which is sent to the tenant’s email. We encourage tenants to review their listings to ensure the information is correct (Artist Directory | Business Directory). If you need any listing information changed, want to have your listing removed from the directory, or have any questions, please send us a message through our contact for on our Contact Us page with the subject line “Directory Listing” and a description of what you need or questions you have in the message. Changes may include changing the email address prospective clients use to reach you, as well as adding your logo, web address, phone number, and brief description. We recommend keeping descriptions to 250 characters or less.

Rocky Horror Returns

Rocky Horror Returns

This time last year was a difficult time for live entertainment. No one knows this better than Genna Greene from the Absolute Studio Theater. Last year, Genna had acquired the license to put on a production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, with an outdoor show and smaller indoor show, as well as plans to do a Christmas play and holiday market. Unfortunately, COVID restrictions reduced attendance for the outdoor show, forced her to cancel her indoor show and her Christmas play, and her holiday market had to be done virtually.

This year, with eased restrictions and vaccines being available, Genna is able to have live shows this year. She has two showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show: one on October 23rd at 9:00 PM and the other on October 30th at 11:45PM. Both shows will feature a live band and a variety of numbers beforehand. With this being a shadow cast production, performers will be singing along with the movie. Given Absolute Studio Theater’s intimate setting, this production will provide attendees a classic viewing experience of the cult favorite.

“Purchasing a ticket doesn’t just support the Theater, it also supports the cast and crew who help make these magical experiences happen,” Genna said when asked about the upcoming shows. “We’ve been looking forward to bringing back this show since we were unable to do a full run last year. And there are a lot of fun extras we’re throwing in to make sure everyone has an amazing time!”

Tickets for Absolute Studio Theater’s run of The Rocky Horror Picture Show are $35 a piece and can be purchased online through Eventbrite (see below for URLs). For safety reasons, no outside props will be allowed for either show. Instead, props will be provided and other COVID compliance policies will be enforced.

Oct. 23: The Rocky Horror Picture Show Shadowcast Production

Oct. 30: The Rocky Horror Picture Show Halloween Midnight Special Performance

Classic Melodies Coming to Mellwood

Classic Melodies Coming to Mellwood

Mellwood’s small business and arts community will be expanding soon with the addition of Classic Melodies, a performing arts school set to open September 13th. Their studio here at Mellwood marks the opening of their second location, with the original still operating in Hillview in Bullitt County. In opening a second location, Melodie Stacy, who co-owns Classic Melodies with her husband Bill, hopes to be able to serve more students. She also noted that many students with longer commutes, sometimes as long as an hour or more, do not get the same attention or level of access as those with shorter commutes. She hopes this second location will address that issue as well.

Classic Melodies: Ariel from The Little Mermaid

As an industry-based program, Classic Melodies ensures all students receive the same level of instruction, whether they are hobbyists or training to become professionals. The only difference between the two groups is how many hours of instruction and practice they sign up for. Additionally, Classic Melodies offers classes for all ages, from children to adults. For their students looking to go into the performing arts in college, Classic Melodies helps them prepare for auditions and build their resumes.

Classic Melodies: Little Mermaid cast

When Classic Melodies started 27 years ago, it was a side business run from Bill and Melodie’s home, where she gave private vocal lessons. Her student roster grew exponentially as more people saw the results of her instruction. Eventually, this side business became the full-time focus for Melodie and her husband. It expanded from private vocal lessons to include group lessons, as well as training in dance, drama, and musical instruments. Classic Melodies pulls these disciplines together for their musical theater program, which puts on various musicals and an annual production of the Nutcracker.

Classic Melodies: Top Note kids group performing at Disney

Prior to their opening on September 13th, there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, September 8th at 6:00 PM, with food catered by Danny Mac’s Pizza and other goodies courtesy of I love It candy shop. To learn more about Classic Melodies and all they have to offer, visit their website at classicmelodies.org.

Mellwood’s small business and arts community will be expanding soon with the addition of Classic Melodies, a performing arts school set to open September 13th. Their studio here at Mellwood marks the opening of their second location, with the original still operating in Hillview in Bullitt County. In opening a second location, Melodie Stacy, who co-owns Classic Melodies with her husband Bill, hopes to be able to serve more students. She also noted that many students with longer commutes, sometimes as long as an hour or more, do not get the same attention or level of access as those with shorter commutes. She hopes this second location will address that issue as well.

Melodie and Bill from Classic Melodies
Classic Melodies flyer
Classic Melodies: Top Note kids group performing at Disney

As an industry-based program, Classic Melodies ensures all students receive the same level of instruction, whether they are hobbyists or training to become professionals. The only difference between the two groups is how many hours of instruction and practice they sign up for. Additionally, Classic Melodies offers classes for all ages, from children to adults. For their students looking to go into the performing arts in college, Classic Melodies helps them prepare for auditions and build their resumes.

Classic Melodies: Ariel from The Little Mermaid
Classic Melodies: Little Mermaid cast

When Classic Melodies started 27 years ago, it was a side business run from Bill and Melodie’s home, where she gave private vocal lessons. Her student roster grew exponentially as more people saw the results of her instruction. Eventually, this side business became the full-time focus for Melodie and her husband. It expanded from private vocal lessons to include group lessons, as well as training in dance, drama, and musical instruments. Classic Melodies pulls these disciplines together for their musical theater program, which puts on various musicals and an annual production of the Nutcracker.

Prior to their opening on September 13th, there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, September 8th at 6:00 PM, with food catered by Danny Mac’s Pizza and other goodies courtesy of I love It candy shop. To learn more about Classic Melodies and all they have to offer, visit their website at classicmelodies.org.

Big Buzz from Butchertown Brewing

Big Buzz from Butchertown Brewing

Butchertown Brewing will be opening the doors to their tap room to the public starting Saturday, August 7th. Every Saturday, Butchertown Brewing’s tap room will be open from 4:00 – 9:00 PM. This marks a milestone for our resident brewer. When asked about opening his tap room, Andy Cobb said, “I had always planned on opening the taproom. I wanted to wait until I had built up some inventory and had some help to manage the bar.”

When Butchertown Brewing first opened, all sales were online only and tasting sessions were scheduled in advance; no in-person ordering or walk-ins. In opening the tap room, the public will be able to make to-go purchases in person or swing by the brewery and get a pour from one of their three taps.

Butchertown Brewing and Danny Mac's Pizza collaborate on Danny Mac's IPA

In addition to the opening, Andy has been working closely with other Mellwood tenants on collaborative projects. Fans of Butchertown Brewing and Danny Mac’s Pizza may have seen social media posts announcing the release of Danny Mac’s IPA. When asked about this collaboration, Andy stated, “I asked him if he’d like to sell my beer. When he thought about it, he said ‘What about doing a branded beer?’ I loved the idea, so I let him try my IPA and he really liked it. We’re doing a small release at his pizzeria to see how it goes.” Andy is also collaborating with Dead Sled Leather on coasters, with a possible beer collaboration in the works.

Butchertown Brewing collaboration with Our Lady of Perpetual Hops called Kentuckiana Fluffer

Beyond working with Mellwood tenants, Butchertown Brewing is or will be collaborating with other brewers and beer purveyors, including Gordon Beirsch, Pearl Street Taphouse, Segio’s World of Beer, Chimera Brewing, and Our Lady of Perpetual Hops. Be sure to keep an eye out for Butchertown Brewing in this year’s Louisville Ale Trail. Lastly, Butchertown Brewing will have an official grand opening in the Pigment Gallery sometime later this fall.

Butchertown Brewing will be opening the doors to their tap room to the public starting Saturday, August 7th. Every Saturday, Butchertown Brewing’s tap room will be open from 4:00 – 9:00 PM. This marks a milestone for our resident brewer. When asked about opening his tap room, Andy Cobb said, “I had always planned on opening the taproom. I wanted to wait until I had built up some inventory and had some help to manage the bar.”

When Butchertown Brewing first opened, all sales were online only and tasting sessions were scheduled in advance; no in-person ordering or walk-ins. In opening the tap room, the public will be able to make to-go purchases in person or swing by the brewery and get a pour from one of their three taps.

Butchertown Brewing and Danny Mac's Pizza collaborate on Danny Mac's IPA
Butchertown Brewing collaboration with Our Lady of Perpetual Hops called Kentuckiana Fluffer

In addition to the opening, Andy has been working closely with other Mellwood tenants on collaborative projects. Fans of Butchertown Brewing and Danny Mac’s Pizza may have seen social media posts announcing the release of Danny Mac’s IPA. When asked about this collaboration, Andy stated, “I asked him if he’d like to sell my beer. When he thought about it, he said ‘What about doing a branded beer?’ I loved the idea, so I let him try my IPA and he really liked it. We’re doing a small release at his pizzeria to see how it goes.” Andy is also collaborating with Dead Sled Leather on coasters, with a possible beer collaboration in the works.

Beyond working with Mellwood tenants, Butchertown Brewing is or will be collaborating with other brewers and beer purveyors, including Gordon Beirsch, Pearl Street Taphouse, Segio’s World of Beer, Chimera Brewing, and Our Lady of Perpetual Hops. Be sure to keep an eye out for Butchertown Brewing in this year’s Louisville Ale Trail. Lastly, Butchertown Brewing will have an official grand opening in the Pigment Gallery sometime later this fall.

Summer Made Market Returns

Summer Made Market Returns

After a year away due to the pandemic, Made Market will make its grand return to Mellwood on Saturday, August 7th from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM in the Da Vinci Room. Featuring over 70 regional makers of all kinds, Made Market is Louisville’s finest curated handmade market.

Made Market in Picasso Room

“We are feeling so good about having everyone together again this Summer to shop & support our community! We think people are eager to get out & support handmade!”
— Allison Barker, Made Market Co-Founder

Made Market: leaning sign

In addition to the makers, Made Market will feature food and drinks provided by Hot Buns, 502Cafe, Juice Bar, Fistful of Tacos, Naïve, Steel city Pops, Quills, and Monnik.

Founded by Allison and Mike Barker in 2015, Made Market began in Louisville as a way to support their fellow makers by providing them a platform and increased visibility for their work. Made Market is curated, meaning each maker is vetted before their inclusion in the market. Since its inception, Made Market has expanded their in-person markets to include Grand Rapids, MI and Birmingham, AL. For more information, or to shop their online store, visit mademkt.com.

After a year away due to the pandemic, Made Market will make its grand return to Mellwood on Saturday, August 7th from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM in the Da Vinci Room. Featuring over 70 regional makers of all kinds, Made Market is Louisville’s finest curated handmade market.

“We are feeling so good about having everyone together again this Summer to shop & support our community! We think people are eager to get out & support handmade!”
— Allison Barker, Made Market Co-Founder

Made Market in Picasso Room
Made Market: leaning sign

In addition to the makers, Made Market will feature food and drinks provided by Hot Buns, 502Cafe, Juice Bar, Fistful of Tacos, Naïve, Steel city Pops, Quills, and Monnik.

Founded by Allison and Mike Barker in 2015, Made Market began in Louisville as a way to support their fellow makers by providing them a platform and increased visibility for their work. Made Market is curated, meaning each maker is vetted before their inclusion in the market. Since its inception, Made Market has expanded their in-person markets to include Grand Rapids, MI and Birmingham, AL. For more information, or to shop their online store, visit mademkt.com.

In Good Company

In Good Company

Starting your own small business

It is no secret that more people are opting to start their own businesses rather than work for existing companies. In fact, the US Business Formation Statistics (BFS) has found the number of new business applications has increased every year since 2012. Given this fact and Mellwood’s position as a small business incubator, we spoke with Coral of Willow Tree Imaging and Rita of Ignite Your Extraordinary: CEO Coaching, as well as few of our tenants operating small businesses here at Mellwood, about starting a small business.

Gathering all the information you can is critical; it is what separates successful businesses from failed businesses. As Investopedia highlights, business owners you do not address their business needs in a thorough plan beforehand will face serious difficulties. Doing as much research as possible and learning the essentials for your business is the first step in this process.

Do you need any kind of specialized equipment? Is licensing or certification required? Will you need a space to run your business out of? If so, what size should it be and what requirements must it meet? You must know the answers to these questions before you can proceed any further. If you know anyone who has started their own business in the field or industry you want to go into, pick their brains. Gather their insights and learn from their mistakes and successes.

It is easy to be overly focused on the core part of your company, the product you produce or service you provide, that you may forget about the other parts of running a business. If you cannot speak with a small business owner in your industry, speaking with small business owners outside it can yield helpful information in this regard. It is especially important to get advice from professionals well versed in areas outside of your trade or craft. There are three specific experts you will want to speak to and get advice from before starting your own business: a business coach, a branding expert, and a financial planner. According to Investopedia, the most common reasons small businesses fail are lack of capital, poor management, inadequate business planning, and overblowing marketing budgets. Additionally, a CBInsights analysis also highlighted lacking a business model, ignoring customers, and poor marketing as fairly common reasons small businesses fail. Speaking with each of the aforementioned experts and gaining their insight will help you develop a roadmap to guide your business and avoid the most common pitfalls. While each expert will help you in developing your plan, it is the financial planner who will be most instrumental in shaping the early stages.

Pinch Spice Market: Thomas and Meaghan

“Be really strategic about, if you need that money, how you are going to get it . . . Look at the different ways of getting investment and decide what are the pros and cons of that . . . Really think through the details from the financial point of view.” – Meaghan, Pinch Spice Market

Some businesses will require an investment prior to starting, others will not. Some business will require space, equipment, and licenses or certifications, which in turn require financing, while others only require the skill or knowledge of the business owner to get started. Once you understand the financial needs of a business in your field, speaking with a financial planner can help you determine the best way to acquire the capital you need to get started and develop a budget to cover recurring costs, something roughly 29% of business fail to do according to the CBInsights analysis. This this may mean keeping your current job while your business first starts out. Reba from Reba Renee Design Studio spent years saving up while working as a graphic designer for an advertising agency before going off on her own. Being a graphic designer, her start-up costs were fairly low as her business relies on her skills and equipment she already possessed.

For Tina from Massage on Mellwood, having another source of income was incredibly helpful. “There’s a lot to it. How you’re going to get customers? You have to have a plan. I think it’s helpful to have another income stream while that’s building.” She further noted, “You really have to look at what you’re going to do in the meantime while you build your business. How would you pay your bills? How is that going to affect your life?” A financial planner can also help you ensure your personal costs are covered, things like rent or mortgage payments, bills, and health care costs to name a few.

“If you don’t have money to gamble, you’ve got to do the work to make sure you understand the economics of your business before you jump, otherwise it’s going to be extremely stressful and painful.” – Rita, Ignite Your Extraordinary: CEO Coaching

Financial strains, from both business and personal expenses, is a common source of stress for small business owners, especially when first starting out. “Even if you have the best idea. Even if you have it all worked out. Even if you have this plan and projected numbers and it makes total sense. Even if you have all that, have a safety net of at least a year so you don’t have to worry about that money,” Meaghan from Pinch Spice Market suggested. When Karli made the leap to starting Massage on Mellwood with Tina and Billy, she did see her income drop. While she knew it was going to happen, it was still a source of anxiety for her, one that would have been likely worse without any preparation. Knowing that your personal and business expenses are covered will enable you to focus more on starting and growing your business and less on how to pay for everything.

Willow Tree Imaging: Coral Aboud

“Which statistic do you want to be? Do you want to be in the statistic with all the people who start their own thing and they don’t work out or do you want to be in the statistic of the businesses who start and they more than survive, they thrive?” – Coral, Willow Tree Imaging

With a clear picture of the financial needs of both you and your proposed business, you can begin outlining a roadmap. This will outline how you will acquire the funds you need, when you will attain any necessary licensing or certification, and the acquisition of any equipment and/or space you will need to operate. It will also keep your business within its budget, being mindful of any and all operational costs, including rent and utilities, subscriptions for any necessary services, marketing, paying any outside vendors, and payroll to name a few.

The massage therapists of Massage on Mellwood credit their ongoing success to their roadmap. After independently collecting information, the three massage therapists met regularly prior to starting their business. Together they would determine what the business needs were and how to best structure the company. They also discussed what each person’s personal needs were and what they could bring to the business outside of their abilities as massage therapists. For instance, Tina had taken a course on tax preparation so she could manage the taxes for her, her husband, and their business. As such, this was knowledge and experience related to running a business Tina could bring to the new company.

Your roadmap will also incorporate the advice you receive from your business coach and branding expert. This includes developing your branding (logo, colors, etc.), determining your target audience, setting up your methods for reaching your audience (e.g. social media, website, and client database), and the stages in which these things unfold. Your business plan should do more than describe your business and account for its financial needs, but according to Investopedia a good plan should also include current and projected employee and management needs, projected cash flow and various budgets, marketing initiatives, an analysis of your competition, and should identify opportunities and threats within the broader market. The goal of your roadmap is twofold: to keep your business within its budget and grow beyond merely making ends meet. As Coral noted, “If you design for just enough, you’ll get just enough.”

“I think one of the biggest things, I would say, is you if you want to open and run a small business you have to be willing to recognize when things need to change, and to be able to pivot and evolve as the business does.” – Thomas, Pinch Spice Market

When formulating your plans, it is important they provide enough structure to help guide you and your business, but they should not be too rigid that it does not allow for change in light of unforeseen circumstance, both positive and negative, which will inevitably arise. Investopedia notes that a business which fails to review its business plan and is not prepared to adapt to changes in the market or industry will possibly face challenges they cannot overcome. Both Massage on Mellwood and Pinch Spice Market can personally attest to the importance of adaptability.

Beginning as a brick and mortar shop in an up-and-coming part of Chicago, Pinch struggled. Overhead was high and, despite it’s location, the store wasn’t seeing enough foot traffic. Even when the business was making money, rent for the space increased. Seeing the need to change how the business operated, Thomas and Meaghan gradually shifted to being a primarily online retailer offering customers pickup or delivery options. Today, the only in-person shopping offered is their one-of-a-kind spice vending machine located just outside their studio.

When Massage on Mellwood first started, they were located in a smaller studio space here at Mellwood. In their initial roadmap, they planned on growing their business and transitioning to a larger space in a few years. When the pandemic hit and a larger space opened up, they decided to adjust their timeline and seize upon the opportunity before them. In doing so, as life returns to normal, they have been able to see more clients than they would if they had stayed in their original space as previously planned. In turn, they are making up for losses incurred during the shutdowns.

No one we spoke with would ever make the claim that starting your own business is easy. The words stressful, scary, and risky have all been used to describe the experience. However, it is an experience that none of them would trade away. For those considering starting their own business, you are not alone. The Mellwood community is brimming with businesses of varying sizes, working in different fields, and each owner with their own goals and vision for their business. If you take the time to gather information, talk with experts, and plan carefully, your small business dreams be reality.

Shop Market on Mellwood April 17

Shop Market on Mellwood April 17

With warmer weather on the way and life slowly but surely returning to normal, we are excited to announce a new tenant-led event, Market on Mellwood, springing up this Spring on April 17th. The brainchild of our friends at the Mellwood Antique Mall and Barn Doors and More, Market on Mellwood will be an outdoor, open-air market featuring an array of different vendors, including jewelry makers, leatherworkers, a wreathmaker, candlemakers, and many more. The event will feature tenants and non-tenants alike, with RecycloCraftz, Dead Sled Leather, Uneena’s, and Danny Mac’s Pizza among the participating Mellwood tenants. Booths will be spaced out on the front lawn and courtyard, which will not only allow shoppers to socially distance, but also provide them with easier viewing of and access to each vendor’s products. Visitors and vendors alike are required to wear masks.

With Mr. G’s Kettle Corn and Mile Wide Beer providing additional food and beverage options, guests will be able to enjoy craft beer and kettle corn with a slice or two from Danny Mac’s.

Besides offering visitors a chance to get out and support local businesses, Market on Mellwood’s organizers will be raffling off prizes every hour on the hour. Provided by local businesses, prizes will take the form of gift cards or vouchers. These may include vouchers specific to the business providing them or Visa or Mastercard gift cards. Prize donors do not have to be vendors in order to contribute a prize. To enter the raffle, visitors must provide a phone number or email address to receive a ticket. This information will only be used to contact prize winners; entrants’ contact information will not be used for any other purposes and will not be saved or stored in any way. Entrants will not need to be present to win, but must have attended Market on Mellwood to enter the raffle; only one ticket will be issued per visitor. Tickets will be available in the Mellwood Antique Mall.

If you would like to participate, either as a vendor, volunteer, or prize donor, there is still time to get involved. Vendor space is limited. Contact Vicki Brandt at barndoorsplus@gmail.com for more information. If you are interested in participating as a vendor or prize donor, be sure to include your name, business name (if applicable), description of products or services, address, business phone number, and business email address. In the event of inclement weather on April 17th, April 24th will serve as a fall back date. For more information, check out the Market on Mellwood 2021 Facebook page.

You Can’t Have It All… or Can You?

You Can’t Have It All... or Can You?

Finding career satisfaction, stability, and job security Is possible

At some point in life, we have all heard from the gospels of stability and job security; perhaps we have even preached it ourselves. But if there is one common thread or theme from our tenants here at Mellwood it is this: stability and security are not adequate substitutes for career satisfaction. In striving for perceived safety, concessions are made. Some opt to find a “safe” gig doing something they are interested in. Others may choose to avoid following their passions entirely. The latter was the case for Karli from Massage on Mellwood.

What initially started as a part-time job while going to JCTC became a full-time position. Looking to ease some of the burdens she carried, Karli dropped out of JCTC and focused solely on her job in data entry and logistics. She appreciated the stability it provided her and her daughter and liked the people she worked with, but it was not something she felt any passion for. Believing it was impossible to work hard and derive satisfaction from it, she continued with this job for six years before deciding to change careers.

Similarly, William, also from Massage on Mellwood, went into a career he was not particularly interested in. After working as a server for two years, he agreed to go into restaurant management following multiple requests from his superiors. While it was less pay, it still paid well enough and provided greater long-term prospects. Although it was not something he had any interest in, he did initially enjoy his job. Over time, that enthusiasm dwindled to indifference and, ultimately, dread. The stresses of the job became increasingly harder to deal with. To cope, William regularly turned to massage. Eventually, William recognized the emotional and physical toll this job was taking on him, and decided it was time to explore a new career path.

It would be tempting to believe conventional wisdom surrounding employment holds true for those who manage to find a stable job in their field of interest, but this is not always true.

Prior to becoming a massage therapist and starting Massage on Mellwood with William and Karli, Tina was a social worker. While social work is a field wrought with stress, Tina had a strong desire to help others, which provided meaning for the work she did. For Tina, the stress became a problem as she rose through the ranks. While society encourages us to strive for this, it removed Tina from doing the kind of work that brought her into the field in the first place. As she advanced in her career, she was eventually placed in a managerial position overseeing 150 people. With her stress levels at an all-time high, Tina left social work.

Massage on Mellwood: Staff picture

​Initially working as an academic advisor, Jamie enjoyed helping students explore their interests, select their classes, and ultimately start them on their career paths. While Jamie’s greatest passion is art, she was regularly discouraged from pursuing it as a career. She saw academic advising as a good compromise between following her passions and her desire for a stable job. Outside of her job as an academic advisor, Jamie had started The Resource Room, which combined her interest in art with her desire to help people discover their best selves and promote personal growth. Being placed on furlough due to the pandemic this past summer proved to be the turning point for Jamie. After making all the right moves, following a more conventional career course, getting the degrees, and landing the job, Jamie watched as the security she thought she had begin to erode. She knew it was time to make her part-time passion project her full-time focus.

Resource Room: Jamie Shepherd

​For Reba of Reba Renee Design Studio, graphic design is still her passion. After discovering the field in college while working part-time at Café Press, she doggedly pursued it as a career. In the years after college, Reba worked as a graphic designer for two different advertising agencies. Unfortunately, agency life was too rigid, restricting, and ultimately hindered her productivity. Reba found it impossible to grow her career the way she wanted. Thankfully, she had always done some freelance work on the side, which allowed her to find her desired career path. Eventually, Reba was able to leave the agency life for good and start her own graphic design business.

Reba from Reba Renee Design Studio

When all is said and done, career satisfaction is as important a factor as job security or stability. While many of us are willing to sacrifice that satisfaction, in part or entirely, it is an unnecessary one. As each of our five tenants can attest, it is possible to have security and stability while finding joy in the work they do. It is a risk, and our tenants admit as much, but sticking with a job or career which only brings misery carries its own risks with less to show for it.

Burnout: Know the Signs/With a Little Help From Our Friends/Recommended Reading

Burnout: Know the Signs/With a Little Help From Our Friends/Recommended Reading

Burnout: Know the Signs

No matter the job, there will always be drawbacks and downsides, but how do you tell the difference between those and burnout? If you experience the following, you may have burnout setting in:

  • Inability to focus on the job
  • Feeling undervalued or as though your contributions do not matter
  • Frequently dreading going into work
  • Inability to leave work stress at work
  • Feeling tired and restless at work
  • Frequently feeling depressed and/or frustrated at work or when thinking about work

With a Little Help From Our Friends

Perhaps you are considering changing things up, starting a new job, new career, or your own business. Where do you go from here?

Before you do anything, come up with a plan. William and Karli from Massage on Mellwood and Reba of Reba Renee Design Studio all emphasized this point. William highlighted the importance of having well-defined goals and outlining the steps needed to get there.

To aid in the planning process, Reba pointed out that there is a wealth of resources out there, online and in bookstores. If possible, speak with others who have already gone through it. Additionally, she noted the first step of your plan should be to prepare the groundwork before taking the leap. Make sure you are ready, mentally and financially.

Lastly, Karli advises people to know that they have options. It is possible to get where you are wanting to go. It may be difficult, but it is doable.

Recommended Reading

You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero

This book comes recommended by Jamie from The Resource Room.

“Drawing on her own transformation—over just a few years—from a woman living in a converted garage with tumbleweeds blowing through her bank account to a woman who travels the world in style, Jen Sincero channels the inimitable sass and practicality that made You Are a Badass an indomitable bestseller. She combines hilarious personal essays with bite-size, aha concepts that unlock earning potential and get real results.”

Freelance, and Business, and Stuff: A Guide for Creatives by Amy Hood and Jennifer Hood

This book comes recommended by Reba of Reba Renee Design Studio.

“How to start your own business, grow your client base, and promote yourself without selling out or starving. This no faff, no fluff guide is peppered with applicable advice (things we learned from starting our own business), unasked-for humor, and worksheets (homework, gasp!) to help you just get started already. Because raw talent and good ideas aren’t enough. And because you can do this.”

RecycloCraftz: Where New Possibilities Bring Hope for a Better Tomorrow in Zambia

RecycloCraftz

Where New Possibilities Bring Hope for a Better Tomorrow in Zambia

Most people will face unexpected turns in life. It is a common, perhaps universal, human experience, but rarely does it take us halfway around the world on a mission to improve the lives of others. For Tracy Murray, that is precisely what happened.

On a Mission

In 2007, Tracy and kids found themselves heading to Zambia as missionaries. Zambia was not even on Tracy’s radar until she spoke with her pastor. As an occupational therapist, she went to work one-on-one with people with special needs. In Zambia, the functional literacy rate for seventh graders is less than 14%, with abstract math at 0%. Given the student-teacher ratio of 164:1 in Zambia, many children fall through the cracks. That is assuming they go to school at all, as many girls are discouraged from going in the first place.

Education is not the only source of woe in Zambia. Unemployment is at 47% with an average income of two dollars a day. In Zambia, Tracy worked with a pastor and his wife, who is a full-time nurse and midwife. Together, the couple made less than $500 month, putting them at the lower end of Zambia’s middle class. Even so, they struggled to make ends meet with their three adult children. It was clear that the focus of Tracy’s work needed to change. In 2008, after speaking with the pastor, Tracy began what would become RecycloCraftz.

Wire figures

Initially called New Creations Ministries Zambia, RecycloCraftz, was started on a wing and a prayer. While literacy development is still a core aspect of this non-profit organization, it expanded its scope to include vocational training and employment. All workers receive a fair-trade value for their products on a weekly basis. Since it began, RecycloCraftz has sold over $400,000 of fair-trade goods.

Work in Zambia

One of the trainings provided by RecycloCraftz is a sewing course. Those in the course learn the sewing necessary to produce an array of goods. Once a participant completes 90% of the lessons, they are eligible to receive a microloan to cover half of the cost of a new treadle sewing machine with an auxiliary motor. To date, six participants have acquired new sewing machines and have learned to operate the two on-site industrial sewing machines. RecycloCraftz’s microloan program has also provided assistance beyond their sewing course; it has enabled participants to electrify their homes, add on to their houses, further their education, and start their own businesses. Additionally, the microloan program has a financial planning element to aid and educate participants on saving for the future.

Wood bead bracelets

RecycloCraftz has seen successes outside of their microloan program as well. Thanks to their efforts in education, all children involved are attending school regularly. Many adults, especially women, are learning to read, something they were either denied or lacked access to as children. To expand their educational efforts, RecycloCraftz plans to build a school to serve a neighboring community.

RecycloCraftz also offers an emergency medical program. This program covers an array of different medical issues, including chronic health conditions, age-related medical issues, and disabilities. The program will also help cover funeral costs for direct family members.

Keeping the Lights On

Operating in Zambia has come with its own unique challenges. Perhaps the biggest are the power outages. Currently, most of Zambia’s electricity is generated by a single hydroelectric dam. Unfortunately, persistent drought conditions have caused the reservoir to diminish. There is rarely enough live water to turn the turbines and generate electricity. In an effort to conserve electricity, the Zambian government instituted rolling blackouts. To combat this, RecycloCraftz installed a battery backup system to power their compound when the electricty goes out. To date, this has been sufficient in meeting their needs, but they plan to add a solar array in the future.

Upcycling

Beyond helping the men, women, and youth of Zambia, another core aspect of RecycloCraftz is upcycling; this is the process of taking discarded objects or materials and repurposing them. The first product made by the artisans of RecycloCraftz were bags made from old plastic grocery bags. Overtime, they shifted from plastic to fabric. Today, a visitor to their shop will find a wider array of upcycled goods. In addition to the bags, you can find reversible patchwork aprons, reversible sling bags with handmade buttons, paper bowls, nativity scenes, bottle cap trivets, wooden bead bracelets, wire figures, and backpacks. All proceeds go back into the program to pay the artisans fair-trade value and procure more crafting materials.

Tracy Murray instructing volunteers

As RecycloCraftz expands, so too does their need for volunteers. Assigned duties would depend on the volunteer’s skillset. For more information, you can email Tracy at tracy@recyclocraftz.org.

If you are interested in purchasing some of their fine handmade goods, there are numerous options. Besides their shop here at Mellwood, RecycloCraftz will be making appearances at various farmer’s markets and fair-trade and holiday events. They will be at the Norton Commons holiday sales and Jeffersontown Beckley Creek events throughout November and December. You can also find them online at recyclocraftz.org, where you can purchase goods from their shop or make donations. All donations can be earmarked for specific programs or to sponsor families.