Happy International Women's Day! Here at MudLOVE, we are surrounded by so many inspiring women. Today, we want to share about three of those women with you! As part-owners of MudLOVE, Whitney, Erin, and Courtney have each played a vital role in who we are as a company. There is so much wisdom in each of their responses and we can't wait for you to get to know them better!
Whitney Wright is the founder of Bel Kai, MudLOVE’s sister business. She also oversees sales and marketing here at MudLOVE, and she works closely with our brick and mortar shop, Belove. She’s an artist, wife, mama, and the Co-CEO of MudLOVE!What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself to never stray from what I enjoyed as a child, whether they be skills, jobs, responsibilities or simply, the things I delighted in. A good chunk of my adult life was spent in a painful and lonely marriage; joyfulness took a hit. Some of the years spent having babies and raising toddlers - a rich time of life, but can also be accompanied by a bit (or a lot) of lost self. I know the marriage positively weathered me but in the midst, there was surely grief and a straying from who God created me to be. As I've found my way back, it feels as though my adult life, in career, motherhood, marriage & friendship, mirrors the cherished childhood experiences of joy and giftings of a littler Whitney. I'm often reminding myself that I'm that same preschooler that loved to organize & sort, the same 5th grader that loved to create, the same teenager that spent hours writing. There is such a beautiful assurance in this practice and lesson.What advice would you give to a woman looking to start their own business?
Learn and immerse yourself in every part of the business, from accounting to marketing, production to operations, from shipping to photography, every arm of your business. Whether you are learning from Google university, networking with others, or simply learning from experts you are able to hire, you need to familiarize yourself with each and every element. At the end of the day, it will be nearly impossible to find others that care as deeply as you do about your business, so your insight will always be critical, but only as valuable as your knowledge!What is something you want all women to know and believe?
I want every woman to know and believe that artistry and creativity is found in each of us. Whether you're illustrating, building a process, cooking, cultivating community; when you create space to practice creativity, honing in on what you enjoy, your heart will respond, and life will richen. It's a worthy pursuit.
Erin Porter is another co-owner of MudLOVE! She currently is living in the Dominican Republic with her husband and kids, working with the women of Vida Plena!Who is a woman in your life who inspires you? Why?
This is a great question, I'm not sure I can mention just one. I've been blessed to have so many women in my life who inspire me. My family has been and is full of strong, gifted women who have been examples of humble servants for the good of those around them. I also have dear friends who have taught me in both word and action what it is to be a faithful follower of Jesus and lover of their families. All the women of Vida Plena have inspired me... But if you need to know ONE woman who currently inspires me it would be Maria Demopolous, a friend for 10 years, she continues to seek out the best in others (which makes you want to be around her), who looks for Jesus in all, who serves continually, who is faithful to her husband and family, faces problems head on with creativity and wisdom, she can carry a heavy load with a light heart and she's just fun to be around. I've found that even when my feet are slipping, I can call on her and feel grounded. If you know her you know.What change would you like to see for women in the future?
I would like to see women who are confident in who God made them but more importantly confident in who God is. Women who know their worth and what talents God has given to them and that they use those gifts. That they use their influence (everyone has influence) to draw the out the best in those who surround them. I would like to see more women who do not need or want the spot light (though they shine brightly) but who are always surrounded by people because they are inviting and approachable. I would like to see more women walk with integrity, generosity, wisdom and are be bold enough to be leaders but humble enough to to learn. That they unabashedly seek out and find love in Jesus not in other things.What do your friends admire about you?
I'm thankful that I've had friends who have let me know what they think of me through letters or phone calls over time. What I love best that they've said about me is that I have made them feel known and seen. They've said that it is obvious how much I love Jesus and my family (whew!). I've also been told that they admire my authenticity, thoughtfulness, generosity and adventurous spirit.
Courtney France is a wife, mama, and the third (female) co-owner of MudLOVE!Who is a woman artist who inspires you? Why?
The women artists who inspire me are the ones that I meet and learn their story. I cannot pick just one. It's the woman making bracelets at Vida Plena who comes to work each day fighting to provide a better life for herself, her children, and her future generations. Its the woman at the art fair who works a full time job but creates and travels on the side because she is so passionate and in love with creating. It's the woman whose painting is hanging in my daughter's room and I can see her smile in my head every time I look at the picture. It's the woman who believes so much in what she does that she sacrifices financial "wealth" to create beautiful pieces, then shares the beauty that is spewing out of her creative mind with the world.What change would you like to see for women in the future?
True freedom of authenticity. To be allowed to feel comfortable truly embracing their femininity while being taken seriously as an equal in an artistic realm, business realm, parenting realm, and the list could go on... I dream for women to truly feel empowered to be who God created them to be without fear of judgement or comparison; to not have to worry about changing a thing about themselves to be valued and respected.What advice would you give to a woman looking to start their own business?
Follow your heart of course, but, in no particular order… Fill a need. Do your research and understand whether what you are doing has a place in the market or you are entering into something that is already oversaturated. Surround yourself with mentors. Find people older and wiser than you who you respect and then learn all you can from them. Understand that you will need to be the hardest working person around… for a long time. Choose something that you are truly passionate about. It will be more sustainable if you enjoy it. Find a friend, spouse, partner, mentor, or maybe just an inspirational figure who truly believes in you and supports your ideas. They will be your greatest source of encouragement and understanding. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Consider the cost. Enjoy the process!
We're so thankful for and inspired by each of these women, and hope you have been too! A huge thanks to each of them for taking time to share their stories and hearts!