Hi I’m Melinda.

As far back as I can remember, I was either designing gifts for family members or creating artwork for friends. I dream in color and have always dreamt of homes and interiors. As an adolescent, I enjoyed reading Woman’s Day and Better Homes and Gardens magazines. Recalling the magazines, it was the unique craft projects and brilliant designs that intrigued me. My life passion was to create. With my design degree in hand, I left Texas with the love of my life and I began a career as an Interior Designer and Assistant to Marc Thee of Marc Michaels Interior Design Firm located in Winter Park, Florida. Here I learned high end quality and style have no substitute.

After spending a few years getting my family started, volunteering at the kids’ school, and hosting numerous themed parties; I formed a gift design firm called Originality, Inc. with my good friend and business partner, Pam Grimes. Together, we created hundreds of unique high end custom corporate gifts for several Fortune 500 companies, national associations, businesses, and VIP’s. The gifts we created were one-of-a-kind, with unique packaging and custom graphics to either strengthen our clients’ brand, message, or event promotion. We were the subject of several gratifying press articles (see Press). One reporter dubbed us the “dynamic duo”. Later, we created a second design firm called Persona Designs (aka the “Persona Gift Pail”). With Persona, we were able to truly unleash our creativity by designing unique quirky characters, fun graphic printables, themed photoshoots and an informative creative blog all to support our unique product line.

Most rewarding for us was to give back and put smiles on people’s faces who received the pails. It was typical for us to hear back from customers who were cancer patients or family members of the loved ones that had been ill. They would tell us how uplifted they were from the pails during those difficult times. I was so moved by seeing the children’s faces as I delivered the pails to an Autistic School. For me, that’s what made it all so worthwhile. Those children truly touched my heart.  Our intent for the Persona Gift Pail was to be a “feel good thing” and we saw this come to life.

Over the years, Pam and I were on the ground floor of many aspects of the ever changing creative small business environment. We operated from two locations – Florida and Virginia. We belonged to a group called the MIMList. This was social networking before there was Twitter and Facebook. We were blessed to have made many connections and were thrilled to be interviewed by the New York Times in 2008 for an article on partners operating their business long distance via the internet. There were just a handful of bloggers then and with the growth of Persona, we jumped on board the social media wagon. I became a guest blogger on crafting, creative projects, and party sites.

Professionally, I have worn many hats from entrepreneur, buyer, designer, program manager, photographer, and social media pro. You will find me active in my community, professional organizations and throwing a few parties now and again. My love for creativity continues to grow and I express it in my graphic design, product photography, blogging, and social media posts.

Faith, prayer, and support of my family and friends have carried me though this incredible journey and guides me each and every day. One could say I think outside the “pail” and I love my creative life.