I’m a single mama by day and an entrepreneur by night. Before the kids and the business, I started out with a career in the fashion industry after attending FIDM in Los Angeles. Shortly before I graduated I landed an internship with a fashion company where I went on to be the Director of Operations over the course of seven years. I loved my job but even with all that I had accomplished, my dreams from childhood were to be an entrepreneur and run my own company. It was a calling that had been bestowed upon me long ago, and as scary as it was, I jumped in head first. In the last four years I’ve been blessed to live out my dreams and grow my company, and added some adorable little babes to the mix!
My family is my lifeline. It’s just the kids and I, and they motivate me everyday to work as hard as I do. My older boys, Dominick and Dylan are my stepsons who I have full time. Even though I didn’t birth them, I feel as though they are mine. Being a single mother is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, with the second hardest thing being running and growing a business while doing so. Oy vey, the struggle real.
Brag About Little Miss Dessa! Tell us Everything — Why You Started the Brand, How You Give Back, Struggles and Successes and #TinyButMighty: LITTLEMISSDESSA came to fruition out of a tragedy that has given me more purpose than I could have ever imagined. Four years ago, I was knee deep in launching my women’s wear contemporary collection when I found out I was pregnant with TWIN girls. Yep…first pregnancy and twins–naturally. Being the workaholic that I am, it didn’t slow me down. By 17-weeks gestation, I began having complications, and by 23 weeks, I delivered my girls via emergency c-section. My daughter Abigail passed an hour after birth, and my sweet Olivia went on to fight for her life for what felt like eternity. After a long 5-month stay in the NICU at CHOC Children’s, my entire world turned upside down, my focus was Olivia, and her survival.
I would sew up clothes for Liv as a preemie and dress her up, and for months it was a creative outlet that helped me heal and process such a horrific loss. When I realized I couldn’t go back to work and had to still provide for my family, I turned my passion for creating and making children’s clothing into what is now LMD. I am incredibly proud and determined to help raise prematurity awareness in honor of my girls and their testimony.
We started a #tinybutmighty campaign that I have big plans for soon. Every piece of LMD has been handmade with love & faith, from conception to packaging, and a portion of the proceeds from each order goes to the March of Dimes & CHOC Childrens to give back! Because of our amazing customers and their support, we can give back and support a charity that is very close to our heart, and give every baby a fighting chance!
I’ve had many struggles along the way. Too many to count really. Having a child who has special needs and running a start up is challenging to say the least. My biggest struggle is time. With only 24 hours in the day, I am constantly juggling all my motherly duties while simultaneously working. Everyone’s journey is different and I must remind myself constantly that even though I want to be further than I am with the business, this season in my life is temporary. The kids will grow up and my time will free up a bit, so I focus on now. I do what I can, and what doesn’t get done moves to the next day.
I’ve been a workaholic for as long as I can remember so intentionally having to slow down the growth of my business was a hard idea to grasp, but essential. Every season has its own successes and I believe in my heart that when the business is ready to blossom full force, it will. In the meantime, I continue to give it my all, and bask in all the blessings it has provided for my family.
Congruent with my struggles, there have been many successes that make all the hard work and sleepless nights worth it. I’ve grown this company from the ground up. I started off selling on Etsy and everything was cut and sewn by me. With our continuous growth, and loyal customers who support us, we are expanding into manufacturing. The volume and demand has exceeded my ability to do everything in house, so this next step is major. I’ll be honest, it scares the shit out of me, but is very much a part of accomplishing my dreams. With any business, you’ve got to believe in yourself wholeheartedly. To win big, you’ve got to bet big, and this business is all I’ve got.
Another win for us this year was the notability we have received from celebs, whose kids were spotted rocking LMD! For me, it truly makes me happy to know that amongst all the millions of brands that they get to put on their kids, they grab ours! It was a pinch me moment to see Kourtney Kardashian & Ayesha Curry’s little babes decked out in LMD. We are also expanding our baby division and adding new products to the line up. One of my favorites is our little nursling multifunctional baby cover and onesie! To say I have major baby fever is an understatement. That is until I remember I have 4 kids and don’t sleep! Lol.
How You Keep Your Sanity Running Your Own Growing Business and Being a Mom to Four: FAITH. Honestly, my faith has grown tremendously since delivering the twins. I look back now and think about that time in my life and wonder how I got through it. It was all because of my unwavering faith that only grew stronger as the trials surfaced. There are many days I feel as though I can’t get through them and bedtime can’t come quickly enough. On those days, I lean on God to give me the strength and patience to focus on what’s important. I have learned to pay close attention to my needs versus my wants. In those situations, the needs of my children outweigh the wants of my business. It’s not always the case, but when you have small children, it is more times than not. I turned thirty-two years old on Cinco De Mayo, and this is by far the year of growth for me. I am learning to be intentional with my thoughts and actions, and continuously seek to fulfil a life of happiness and cherished memories with my family. My sanity remains by taking each day with stride and knowing that my best days are yet to come.
Give Us a Glimpse into an Average Day: Waking up and going to bed is a bit of a blur. With two small little babes, two teenagers, and a demanding business, my days are at compacity.
6:40AM: I wake up, stumbling out of bed since napping is my form of sleep these days, and I usually go to bed around 4AM. I quickly wake Liv up and get her dressed for the day. I make a rather large and strong cup of coffee, pack lunches, keep Greyson with my mother and head out the door to drop Olivia, Dominick and Dylan off at school.
8AM: I’m back home, make Greyson some breakfast and keep him entertained until my mom can watch him.
9AM: I’m usually in the studio (which is in my home) and try to get two solid hours of work in before I have to pick up Olivia from school.
11AM: I run and grab Olivia from school and give her and Greyson a snack. I let them play for a little bit while I journal, then put them down for a nap by noon.
12PM: I head back into the studio to continue to work; cutting, sewing, packaging orders, managing customer service, social media and running the online shop is just a small glimmer of what needs to be done on a daily basis. The list is ever growing.
2PM: Liv and Grey wake up, which is when I take them down and prepare some lunch for them, quickly.
2:30PM: I head out to pick up Dylan, drop him at home and check in on the kids.
3:15PM: I head back out to pick up Dominick from high school. Are you tired yet? Because my work day hasn’t even really begun yet. LOL! Once the boys are home, they help me out A LOT. Liv and Grey are at an age where they want constant interaction, so when I head back into the studio for an hour or so, Dominick and Dylan will take them outside to play if they don’t have much homework.
4:50PM: I am usually rushing to the post office to get the packages out before the last collection at of the day.
5:30PM: I come home to start dinner and finally eat something for the day. I’ve being doing a Ketogenic Diet for almost 4 months now, which consists of intermittent fasting. Unless I am starving, which is rare, I don’t eat for 16-20 hours and have one meal a day. Once dinner is ready, they eat and play while I spend some quality time with them.
8PM: My nightly routine begins, which consists of bath time, reading a story, or three, and finally bedtime. They are usually asleep by 10pm, which is when my second shift begins.
10PM: I head downstairs, make my second rather large and strong cup of coffee and get to work. I try to get as much done during this time, because it’s the only time I have uninterrupted. I’ll work until 4 am, when the coffee wears off and my eyes can’t stay open. Sometimes, Olivia will come to the studio and demand it’s time for me to go to bed, and on those days I’ll get an extra hour or two — bless her heart.
4AM: Once my head hits the pillow, I’ll nap from 4-6:40am and do it all again.
I know it’s bad to sleep so little, but there just isn’t enough time in the day. I try to go to bed early at least twice a week to compensate for the lack of sleep on the other days, but the exhaustion never really lessens! I’m hoping as the business continues to grow and by hiring help and manufacturing–sleep is in my near future!
Children’s Names & Ages: Dominick is 15, Dylan is 13, Olivia is 4 and Greyson is 2.
Top Beauty Product You Must Have as a Mom: A bold lipstick. There’s something about a bright, bold lipstick that makes you feel unstoppable. My current favorite is ELF Moisturizing Lipstick in Ravishing Rose!
The Top Three Products You Would Pack for a Weekend Getaway: Micellar Cleansing Water—keeps my skin so fresh and clean. My iPhone 7 plus––its and extension of my right arm, and where I do most of my online work. My journal––its part of my everyday routine.
Dream Destination For Vacation: Fiji! Yes, please.
Activity You Love to do With Your Kids: Park dates, and pretty much anything outdoors. My kids would live outside if they could.
Your Secret Obsession When You Get an Hour to Yourself: Binge watching Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Video!
Closet Staple You Can’t Live Without: Boyfriend Tees! My favorite is this Adidas one.
Your Favorite Recipe to Make for Your Family: Fathead pizza! I make a lot of keto friendly dishes that taste amazing and this pizza is delicious! I let the kids put on their own toppings, but mine always has pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives, and jalapeños! Oh my YUM!