Growing up in a family full of budding entrepreneurs and successful business owners, it is hard not to catch the small business bug. My sisters and I were surrounded by customers, business meetings, inventory and marketing at a very early age, due to our mother being the owner of a small gift boutique and traveling trunk show. Being influenced by such a successful woman entrepreneur like my mom, it was easy for us Three Sisters of Small Business, to follow in her footsteps.

melissa-cox-musicMelissa, the oldest of the Three Sisters, was the first to catch the entrepreneur bug, and she caught it early. In 8th Grade, Melissa was named to the Delaware All State Choir as a Soprano, and she decided that singing was going to be her career path. She continued singing into High School, and in Sophomore year, she discovered the guitar, which changed her life forever. From that point forward, she dedicated her life to the art of singing, song writing & performing. She booked gigs and performed her solo act across the Delaware Valley, and by 2007, Melissa had a following of fans and the notice of the media. In 2008, Melissa was named Best Singer/Song Writer by Spark Magazine, along with winning the Best Musical Folk Artist by the Delaware Division of the Arts in the same year! Melissa didn’t stop there, though. During her senior year in college, she formed the band Celtic Folk Rock Group, Mythica, with 3 friends, and her future husband, Matt. Mythica quickly smashed into the scene and they booked several high-profile gigs, including opening for the Spin Doctors and Sister Hazel. Melissa is still doing her thing, and has found great success in her career and life as a singer and song writer. Melissa is now a national touring artist, mandolin and ukulele player with six albums under her belt, with her latest work being the titled album, Harmonious Maladies. In addition to being a successful singer, song writer and performer, both with her band and her solo gig, Melissa is a graduate of the University of Delaware with a major in English, and is now working for the University of Delaware Messenger, in addition to launching a short solo tour up North. Seeing my older sister and my mother accomplishing their life’s goals and dreams, it was hard for me and my younger sister to stay away from small business for too much longer.

Kellie Mural ArtKellie, the youngest of the Three Small Business Sisters, always had a knack for painting, drawing and artistic expression. Every birthday, Kellie received a gift to help express her artistic ability, and this gave her the drive to continue her education in the arts, specifically Botanical Illustration. Throughout middle and high school, Kellie enrolled in as many art classes as possible, traveling to museums, art galleries, and even traveling to Italy to study the fine arts. In her freshman and senior years of high school, Kellie’s beautiful paintings and artistry won the Delaware Art Museum’s Calendar Art Contest, which printed the winning painting in that years calendar, along with her originals being featured at the Delaware Art Museum. From there, Kellie attended the University of Delaware, pursuing a double major in Horticulture and Plant Sciences, which was the subject of her paintings and drawings growing up. Once graduated, Kellie moved to Ithaca, New York where she expanded her artistry and business, by painting murals around the city of Ithaca, becoming a Scientific Illustrator for Cornell, and creating an online class for Cornell called Botanical Illustration III: Advanced Techniques. All while advancing her career, Kellie married her college sweetheart, Adam and moved into a beautiful home in Ithaca, NY. Today, Kellie’s illustrations and artistry has become well-known within Ithaca, NY and recently, she has been asked to paint a 25 foot mural for the City of Ithaca. Business was booming for both the youngest and the oldest of the Three Sisters of Small Business, but the path to success for myself, the middle sister, wasn’t going to be an easy journey.

Me being the middle sister of the Three Small Business Sisters, I grew up watching my mom run a successful business, along with my younger and older sisters having talents that they turned into businesses. I wanted to do the same, but it did not come easy for me. When I was younger, my interest was the piano, along with music in general. I played piano for over 7 years, along with the Clarinet & Bass Clarinet, and studied Music Theory with my private piano teacher. I thought the chances of me becoming a world-famous piano player, like Chopin, Liszt, or even Billy Joel, was slim to none, so my interest in the piano and clarinet, soon faded. Soon, my newest interest and talent was Color Guard for the high school marching band, and I became Captain of the Silk Squad my senior year. My talent of being a flagger ended with the end of high school, which left me wondering what my talent really was. Nothing seemed to interest me, and I continued to bounce between different colleges & different jobs for several years, until I was given the chance by a retail investor & short sale guru to make a website and create a social media presence for the brand. I finally felt as though I had found my calling. I had found my niche. I continued to work for the real estate company, building their brand and website, all the while creating my Web and Social Media Design Company, HC Designs. Time passed, and the business started to grow, bringing in more clients every month. I had finally found what I was good at, but felt as though something was missing. I had been through a lot of soul-searching to figure out what my career-calling was, and thought that others might have been through the same journey I did…out of place and without a direction in employment or even life. I then called upon her skills as a web and social media designer and created the Business Gypsy, a blog geared towards helping people realize their own path in career, health, love and life. Today, I am happily attached to my boyfriend of 6 years, I run my business full-time and have logged over 10,000 hours as a web & social media designer and manager. In between work and clients, I update the Business Gypsy blog with inspirational posts in hopes to help others who are trying to find their niche in life.

My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Connect with The Sisters of Small Business

Heather S. of The Business Gypsy & BGWD

Kellie Cox-Brady of Natural and Scientific Botanical Illustrations