Contestant's Case to Win
This is based on the number of votes received.
My name is Dianne Hadaway and my in-home studio and online boutique business is called Mama's Pocketbook. I design and create bags, accessories and soft home furnishings from beautiful floral & feminine fabrics.
I am truly blessed to be able to create and grow my at-home business and I'm so excited to tell you how I got here and why I would love to make it again as a Leading Mom in Business. Again? Yes! I was so thrilled to have been voted into the 2010 Top 200 competition and I would dearly love to have that honor again this year. So here's the story of my journey as a mom and entrepreneur...
It's not easy to tell my story in a short space, as everything I do now has it's foundation in the very early years of my life. So I give fair warning that my entry is long, but if you can read through it I hope you'll see the passion and care I have for Moms in Business and why it is important to me to be honored in this competition.
The truth is that motherhood and doing what I love most are at the core of all that I am. My business is built around the love and memories of my own mother, and it has allowed me to be available, more than any other work, to care for my own children.
My Mama taught me to sew at age 4 with embroidery stitches and sewing cards, and by the time I was 8 yrs old I was making my own clothes, as well as clothes for my friends! I was the only girl in an blended family with 7 boys, so perhaps it was destined that she should teach me so early on to cook, clean, and help with my little brothers. But is was sewing that created the real bond for me and my Mama. The hours spent at the pattern counters, picking fabrics and coming home to cut out and stitch our clothes, bedding, curtains, and whatever else we could make - those are my memories of time with my mother. Sewing was always my favorite thing to do and the gift that has served me well for all my life.
My Mama passed away when I was 14, and I took on her role in caring for my younger brothers and our home at that tender age. I was well prepared when I was finally blessed with my own children. I'm a proud mom of two amazing children. My daughter Lauren is 16 and is a beautiful, sweet girl and very gifted artist. My son Taylor is 13 and is an exceptionally smart, loving and hilarious young man. When they were very young I knew I'd need to find a way to work at home so I could be available to care for their needs. My son had special needs as a young child. And when I became a divorced, single mom when my children were very young ... well, working at home was more of a necessity than a luxury.
During this difficult time in our lives, I became very proactive and passionate about helping other single parents, and I sought out an opportunity to became the writer/editor and Guide to Single Parents at About.com (A NYTimes Company). This work not only allowed me to support and encourage other single parents, it gave me a new strength and confidence in my ability to be a successful mom and entrepreneur! There's nothing like the peace that comes from learning that you can do anything you set your mind to doing!
During this time of my life, I was also blessed to be reunited with the love of my life, my high school sweetheart, Steve, and we married in 2003. I continued my work as a writer until 2006 when we were able to buy our first home together. With my husband's support and urging, I turned over my writing business to someone else, and began to focus on my other deep passion - SEWING! I set up my own accessories design studio in my home and created my online boutique.
Mama's Pocketbook is so named in honor of my Mama, and for my fond memories of sewing with her. I also loved the name for the wonderful memories of rummaging around in my Mama's pocketbook for a dime or a mint and the mixed scents of Juicy Fruit gum, her Salem cigarettes and Wind Song perfume. I realized these are childhood memories most of us have, so the name really resonates with my customers.
I'm enormously blessed that my business has been so successful for the past almost 5 years and give all the glory to God to be led and to be able to give my time to my passions, creating beautiful fashion & home accessories and to continue my work in supporting single parents in their journey with an online forum I have maintained for the past 9 years.
I will always be passionate about sharing my journey because it is a love story that encourages other women to test their strength, to pursue their dreams and set their minds to accomplish whatever their hearts desire.
I am also excited to share that this year I am growing my business with TWO new ventures and the launching a a newly designed website for Mama's Pocketbook. I'll soon also launch a new website called "Vagabond Brocante" which will offer vintage finds and handcrafted items, as well as a new Etsy shop called "Gourmet Fabrics" where I will sell vintage and vintage-inspired fabrics, notions, buttons and other sewing related items.
I put my all into everything I do and I am grateful for the ability and encouragement I get daily from my incredibly supportive family, customers, clients, friends and colleagues. Thank you for this opportunity to share my story and perhaps widen my territory and bear witness that every woman truly can pursue her dreams. Thank you so much for reading through my very long entry and for your votes! XO Dianne