Michele Chiaramonte is a former New York City school-teacher turned stay-at-home mom, turned woodworker. She designs and hand-makes children’s imaginative play toys for her company, Little Miss Workbench, an ecofriendly workshop out of Bellport Village, New York.
In this episode, Michele discusses:
-The story of how Little Miss Workbench came to be.
-How her daughter, Mali, was always trying to play with her DSLR camera, which gave her the idea to make her a wooden one of her own.
-How the camera evolved as it was being created and as more people got their hands on it.
-The support of friends and family who were interested in having the toys for themselves or someone they knew.
-How she always wanted Little Miss Workbench to be a home-grown company that stayed in the United States.
-The skills that she learned growing up from her father, who was a master craftsman.
-The importance of being able to surround yourself with people and resources that can help support, teach, and encourage you.
-How she would have to split up her time thinking and working on her projects in the limited time that she had as a mother.
-How she tries to look at “work” as “play” and what a shame it is when people concentrate on the success of what they do is based on money rather than what makes them happy.
-Her attempt to get kids (and adults) to be imaginative and to look at the world around them with wonder.
-Her “figure-it-out-as-we-go” mentality.
-How big opportunities can often be as terrifying as they are joyful.
Michele’s Final Push will inspire you to figure out what it is that makes you tick, and then run with it!
“For my first Mother’s Day, I asked my husband if he would get me a table saw.”
“It’s always important to think about what things are already out there. Is it really feasible for you to make it with creating your own business, creating something that people aren’t doing already.”
“She was ecstatic when we first gave it to her. She knew exactly what to do. It was incredible.”
“It evolved as it was being created.”
“The whole idea was to be hand-making these things and providing something that has a story behind it. Not just this manufactured good that gets put on the shelf for people to buy.”
“It’s just how you define what “stay-at-home mom” means. You can still be a rocket and be a mom 100% and also continue to fulfill your dreams.”
“When you think about what kids play with today, there’s not a whole lot of imagination that’s going on.”
“At the end of the day, you just have to have courage. You figure out how you’re going to make it work, and if you feel that you’re not capable of making it work, you have to ask for help.”
“People often feel like they are failures because they weren’t able to accomplish something on their own, but you really do need others to accomplish things that you set out to do.”
“You become inspired to do something, but if you don’t act upon it, no one else is going to do it for you.”
“It’s never going to happen unless you make it happen.”
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