Just a few days ago, I came across Mandy's beautiful jewelry through groopdealz. I loved how unique and fun her pieces were. After talking to her a bit, we thought it might be fitting to share her story. Mandy is also offering a great giveaway! You can enter to win at the end of the blog post!
My name is Mandy Lee.
I am the creator of Allyson Design Hand stamped Jewelry. But getting to this point was a long road. Sometimes exciting, sometimes confusing, sometimes discouraging.My husband, Michael and I will be married for 16 years this August 2014.
He and I both worked full time and when I became pregnant with our first child, I found a job as a church secretary part time. It was a great place to work. They even let me bring Brandon, my first born to work with me.
Then a few years later, Chad Austin was born. He also came to work with me, but was a huge handful unlike his older brother and it made it difficult to work with a toddler that had the mentality of his way or the highway.
When I became pregnant the 3rd time, my husband I prayed and made the decision for me to quit my job and stay home with the children. There was no way I could care for 3 children in an office. One of which was very spirited and the other a new born.
I had worked at the church for 7 years and was bittersweet to leave but knew it was the right choice. About a month after leaving what had been the perfect job, I suffered a miscarriage and lost my baby. I was devastated to say the least. Not only for the loss of my child but also the loss of a perfect job. Why do things like this happen? Well I've learned that my human brain cannot comprehend Gods perfect plan for my life.
About 2 months later, I became pregnant again. Only this time was different. Not only was I pregnant with one baby, but I was pregnant with 2. Awe, see God did know what he was doing. He knew I wouldn't have been able to work with 3 let alone 4. During my pregnancy the shock never quite wore off that there were 2!! 2 babies!! Having 2 boys already, I prayed that god would give me 1 girl at least so I wouldn't be totally out numbered. God did grant that. He gave me my son, Matthew and my first and only daughter, Allyson.
The season of life when you are raising small children is tough stuff! You loose who that person you used to be is. It's a good day if you can jump in the shower. But most of the time I was changing poopy diapers and cleaning spit up off of myself constantly. Not to mention I had my older boys 3 and 7 to tend to.
My 2nd son, Chad Austin was born a typical happy child. After 12 months he quit talking to us. He stopped responding to his name. He threw tantrums. He refused to be put in a stroller or shopping buggy. He was a handful to say the least. I didn't understand why he had changed from this happy little boy to someone I didn't recognize. Then one day I read something. It was talking about lining up matchbox cars and a red flag. Red flag?? For what? I kept researching. Red flag for the dreaded A word....Autism. I didn't know much about it at the time, but the more I researched, the more they were describing my sweet baby.
Mama bear took over and I became a woman on a mission. An obsessed, knowledge thirsty crazy person! I stayed up nights researching the net, reading books, talking with other parents. I got Chad into cognitive therapy 2 times a week in our home and also speech therapy in our home. I also would take him 3 times a week to the hospital for private speech therapy. I loaded up my twins in a tandem stroller, my oldest son, Brandon and Chad even when temps were scorching hot or freezing cold. I learned how to do my own therapy for him that I could not afford to pay someone to do. I prayed A Lot!!! What other hope did I have? My baby was fully autistic at the age of 2.
I started to pray what I could do. Jewelry! God said! I said no way I'm so not creative. I cannot do that. So I prayed and prayed and after wrestling with God, I finally thought I should be obedient and at least try. After all, God is God. He's perfect. No mistakes. And I? Well I'm not so much.
I started Allyson Design in September 2010. I started doing bottle cap jewelry, photo jewelry, some beading, all of which were really time consuming. So I started to you tube videos and taught my self how to hand stamp metal. At first it was pretty pathetic, but I kept at it and eventually got the craft down. Never would I have ever believed I would have so much passion for hammering metal! It's not just that, it goes deeper for me. It means something to people. It sparks emotion with people. It makes them happy. It brings them comfort. And that is a ministry in itself for me.
Yes I do get paid for my services, but my prices are very modest. As a stay at home mom on a budget, I understand how hard it is to buy a non budgeted expenditure. That's why I strive to give the very best quality products at the very best prices that everyone, no matter what situation you are in can afford to have a piece of jewelry that means so much.
Customer service is HUGE for me!! I've ordered from companies that once they received payment, I was on my own. That is the far opposite of what my business stands for. Even after the sale ends, if ever a piece is lost or broken, I want to know about it. I need to make it right. Kind of like Vidal Sassoon motto: if you don't look good, we don't look good. I started a Facebook page and have a great following with repeat customers and that speaks volumes to me. Since the end of 2013, I have been selling product on Jane.com and groopdealz.com and that has enabled me to make amazing contacts and meet wonderful people. I really do have the best customers. I take care of them, because without them, I wouldn't be allowed to do what I do from home and work around my families schedule.
Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you. Please check out my facebook page and check out everything Allyson Design has to offer. I love designing new pieces and I work closely with my customers to take their ideas and bring them to life.
Thanks again for reading,
Mandy Lee of Allyson Design
Enter to win this beautiful necklace from Allyson Design!
This is a hand stamped necklace with a 1" aluminum disc stamped with God gave me you topped with a precious silver puffy heart charm. Comes with 2 rectangle aluminum pieces for 2 separate names. Hangs from a sterling silver ball or bamboo chain. Aluminum is 1100 pure grade. It will not rust or tarnish and will be a piece to treasure for a lifetime.