People often ask me what my background is.

What business experience I had.

I usually playfully shrug and declare my German major in college to have played a serious role. Or maybe it was my years as a stay at home mom with breastfeeding tendencies and other attachment parenting habits.

What I don’t usually tell people on the spot, is how I loved  the color green so much when I was little that my grandmother gave me all green presents for my 6th birthday, and it was also the reason why my grandfather nicknamed me Shelley Jean, the Green Machine and how that is why I chose that name for my first incorporated business in the state of California, which I started at the age of 16.

The Green Machine

A collection of funky hats, bags,and handmade clay bead necklaces.

imageMy mother had put me in sewing lessons in the 5th grade, and by high school I was making my own purses and patchwork pants and tie-dying my curtains. Now, how fun is it that 20 years prior to coming to Haiti, the passion, the business training, the creativity, the entrepreneurial spirit was alive and kicking. I had no idea that what I loved to do as a teenager would become the vessel for so many mothers to be able to take care of their children.

My most notable hat that I made was the Cat in the Hat hat, which I many variations thereof- one of which was five feet long. I would sell my handmade hats, fimo beads, jewelry and bags at kiosks outside of military bases in southern California. People who didn’t know my name would sometimes call me Mrs. Suess, which led to my getting “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”  tattoos on my leg at the age of 19. They are still there, swimming around my leg, (upgraded to include a mama and baby of course) reminding me every day that a passion and a joy for creativity would become something so much bigger than I ever could have imagined.