I’ve been blessed to grow up with a penchant for entertaining, a love of providing for others, bringing joy, and creating. Gardening, baking (albeit not very well!), decorating, and holiday crafting are also great lifestyle loves of mine. My parents have always encouraged my creative streak and I thank them greatly for that! Even to this day they throw the most memorable and thoughtful parties for any occasion. Their 18th annual Hat Party is next month, where their friends all come dressed in silly or beautiful handmade hats that fit that year’s motif. They live by the notion that there’s always a reason for celebration.
The support of our parents has gotten us to where we are today: with a 12+ year old bustling event planning and design company that allows me (and Nick) to live our our dreams and passion of providing and creating joy and memories for others. We have built our company day by day, event by event, and brick by brick, trying to retain a specific focus to our niche and our passions.
I remember growing up flicking through my mom’s beautiful glossy issues of Martha Stewart Living and enjoying each page and the story behind each image. I still have stacks and stacks of them, as well as some of Martha’s first entertaining and wedding books, which I refer to today. My parents gave me a subscription to Martha Stewart Living when I went off to college in 1999, and I constantly wowed our friends with fun appetizers on game day, festive holiday decorations, sweetly packaged birthday gifts, and celebrations that most college students certainly weren’t creating! My parents and friends called me “MSOP,” or Martha Stewart of Pullman! Paired with a love for gatherings instilled in me by my parents, Martha has long been an inspiration, showing me that intentional living and creating can bring such joy.
I remember baking Martha’s best sugar cookie recipe in college and poring for hours over decorating them with precision. Each Christmas we still bake those cookies and continue to reinvent how we decorate them, this year with Ava’s little helping hands in the kitchen!
Having a creative business is far from easy. In fact, most days present themselves with some challenge or hurdle or a new scenario. Balancing the fun of creating (like designing, planning weddings, creating tablescapes, or flower arrangements) with the business aspect of client logistics, budgeting, the cogs of running a business, and family life can be a constant chase. But what has kept us in our lane is focusing on what we truly love, not being diluted by trends, by others, or by anything outside of our focus. Martha has done the same, focusing on what she enjoys, and her business avenues follow that path as well. It’s an important lesson for small business owners to follow, especially in today’s world of ever-changing trends and social media.
Photos by the talented O’Malley Photographers
Some of the most important lessons Martha has taught me:
*You can truly have a thriving creative business by working hard, focusing, and doing you.
*Gracious entertaining needn’t be stuffy, just thoughtful.
*Timeless designs go a long ways.
*Encourage other creatives and live in collaboration.
Thank you for always inspiring me, Martha! Aleah