Small Business Spotlight: Maggie of Leland Gal
We've been wracking our brains trying to come up with uplifting content for you mamas while we're all stuck at home. As a small business, one of our favorite things to do is highlight other small businesses. Because when one of us succeeds, we all succeed, right? Over the next several days, we will be highlighting small businesses we love and the women who run them!
First up is Leland Gal's Maggie Mielczarek.
Make sure to read to the end to shop Maggie's top BURU picks!
BURU: How have you had to evolve your business during these unprecedented times? Have you gotten more creative in how things are running?
MAGGIE: In utilizing my former career as an art teacher with a bailiwick of projects, and a fixer-upper that we moved into in September, we have shifted to a new type of content creation and the most wonderful connections have evolved. We are sharing and creating together with our audience, and it has brought us much closer. Our tagline of #makelightofit has never rung more true in these trying times, and it has been both refreshing and rewarding to make this our new weekly mission. I am humbled to be reminded of the power of imagination through my childhood experiences that painting and creating gave to me. Cooking is now a vital tool for our family and we also thought sharing and receiving recipes with folks might prove for another opportunity to reach out. My husband is a great cook and he loves to develop all kinds of foods in creative ways. Our sons, Eddie and Tommy, are learning to cook and are learning math through measuring. Our focus has not really shifted at all. Rather, we are providing more artful content through our senses in the hopes that we lighten someone’s day. And it sure lightens our days to think that we may have been able to bridge a darker moment to a lighter one. Here is our blog if you would like to #makewithlelandgal.
BURU: What does your ideal day socially-distancing look like?
MAGGIE: We consider ourselves very lucky to be in Northern Michigan where beaches and national parks are available and somewhat spacious. We have spent a lot of time outside as a family (mind you, it’s still in the 40s here). Our best days have been collecting driftwood and skipping rocks on the shores of Lake Michigan and returning to paint them over hot cocoa while listening to Dolly Parton. Our worst days are when it rains and we don’t get fresh air.
BURU: What has been the craziest/funniest thing to happen so far in your family's self-quarantine?
MAGGIE: For us, it is our youngest, Eddie ... No more pull-ups at bedtime! Frankly, we had been a little lazy about kicking the habit, and now that we have more time and fewer trips to the store, we had a black and white conversation with him. “Ed, it’s time for the pull-ups to go.” After a few tears, he took it and ran with it, and we clearly had not given him enough credit to follow through, all it took was the proper information he was empowered and successful.
BURU: What’s the one thing you’re most excited for when you’re allowed to leave the house for “non-essential” business?
MAGGIE: DATE NIGHT! And food that someone else has cooked. I don’t know who will be more excited to have a break from one another, our kids or us!
BURU: What Disney movie is playing on repeat in your house right now?
MAGGIE: Forget Disney, we’ve gone straight downhill by evenings and we’ve all been watching Dumb and Dumber. (Pro tip: if you use the VUDU streaming app, you can put any movie on “family play” to eliminate bad language and inappropriate material.)
BURU: Do you have a homeschooling horror story? Tell us about it!
MAGGIE: Even as a former teacher, this is painful for all. I am teaching my 7-year-old to add and subtract with his fingers, which I’m pretty sure isn’t what they are supposed to do. As challenging as I find this new role to be, my boys would both much rather be among their friends with their former daily routines, so I am trying to tighten up a little on routines (when realistic), and really put myself in their shoes each day for how tough this is for them. Silver lining to this is that kids and parents around the world will really come to appreciate their teachers and give them the respect they deserve.
BURU: If you could invite any person, living or not, to join your family in quarantine, who would it be?
MAGGIE: I don’t know about joining us in quarantine, but I had a very special relationship with my grandmother who lived through so much in her 103 years, and I wish she could come over for two cocktails at 5 pm on the dot (which would be a “Cliffhanger”, named by my grandfather Cliff - VDK, water and 2 olives). She, through her storied wisdom, was always good at giving me a dose of mindfulness, even though I did not realize I was receiving the same. I am thankful. Here is a picture of my grandmother and our youngest son, Tommy, ages 101 and 3.
BURU: It seems like a lot of us have suddenly become Iron Chefs while cooped up inside. Is that true for you? What have you been cooking up?
MAGGIE: We have certainly upped our game plan when it comes to meal planning. Everyone plays a role. Our sons are becoming masterful at chopping. Clean up is a family affair too. We have organized our shelves for kid accessibility. We have stools for the boys so they can help to put away clean dishes. My go-to’s have been soups, my husband’s have been tacos and my kids are almost making pancakes on their own. We are trying to get to the table as often as we can, and are even planning a fancy dinner party this week where we deck the dining room and all get dressed up!
BURU: If you could be on any reality TV show, which one would you choose? Why?
MAGGIE: I would love to be swept off my feet by the Fab 5 on Queer Eye right about now. If there was ever a time for this show to have a new season, this would be it! I have lots of visions for my home and for my business that I would love their help with, and boy could I use a new wardrobe and a day of primping! I have been joking about letting my family cut my hair as a #makewithlelandgal event because this hair is not going to cut itself!
BURU: What is your most unusual talent?
MAGGIE: In times like this, creating. Since I was a little girl, I was never not making something. Even though it is very hard to be super productive these days, the moments when we have all screens off, music on and making something together, it is really nice. Creating allows the brain to shut down for a much-needed break from reality. I feel very grateful to have my creativity right now.