This week in our Moms Who Inspire Series, I'm sharing an interview with one of the kindest souls, sweetest mamas, and most inspirational business gals I know - Melissa Camilleri of Compliment. I first found Melissa several years ago through a jewelry business group we were both part of and immediately fell in love with her business and kind heart (and of course, I followed everything she did on Instagram). Fast forward to the first time she taught her 21-Day Instacourse - I immediately signed up and got a front-row seat in her class. Not only did she teach me the ins and outs of Instagram, but she became a business mentor and a friend - and what an honor it is to call her a friend! Melissa puts her heart into everything she does and believes that community, integrity, and kindness are the keys to business and life. I am thrilled that she agreed to be featured this week and I hope you love Melissa as much as I do!
TELL US A BIT ABOUT WHAT YOU DO.
Online, I run a shop called Compliment where I sell jewelry and “gifts to uplift.” Each piece from my shop comes with a compliment or an inspirational message attached. I also mentor other small business owners through my 21 Day Instacourse— where I teach others how to strategically, but authentically connect on Instagram in order to grow their businesses. I also run writing circles for entrepreneurs who need help with their copy. Offline, I’m a former high school English and AVID teacher, but still work with school districts as a consultant to inspire student engagement and achievement.
WHO INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
My students! In fact, I didn’t even realize I was starting a business! I thought I was fundraising for scholarships for my high schoolers to attend university. What started as a way to help them raise money, has turned into a thriving business 6 years later. It’s been a lot of hard work, but at the heart of all we do is the desire to help at-risk students rise from their current circumstances, get an education, and change the trajectories of their lives. Still, to this day, 5% of every sale, since Day 1, gets set aside for the Compliment Scholarship program. We have given away tens of thousands of dollars to first-generation college students over the last 6 years.
WHAT’S YOUR BEST TIP FOR JUGGLING YOUR MAMA AND BUSINESS RESPONSIBILITIES?
Oh goodness, I’m new at mama-hood, and I can’t say I’m a pro at juggling yet. For me, I just have to extend myself enormous amounts of grace. I’m used to things going at a particular clip and experiencing a certain level of freedom to pursue all the ideas in my head. But, of course, my heart is now pulled in such a different direction. Some days I feel like I’m a great mom and some days I feel like I’m a great CEO. Most days I feel like I’m doing just okay at both things. And that’s where the grace comes in. I’m so blessed that I get to work when I can so that I can be present to my little one in these fleeting moments of infancy.
TELL US ONE SPECIAL THING YOU DO TOGETHER AS A FAMILY—WHETHER IT’S A WEEKLY CELEBRATION OR AN ANNUAL TRADITION?
My husband and I like to sing and dance together with our baby in the kitchen each morning as we are preparing breakfast. Most mornings we do this and it’s a fun, happy, loving way to start our days. I hope we continue it even as the kids get big and we are old and gray. Dancing makes most things better.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO TAKE CARE OF YOU SO THAT YOU’RE THE HEALTHIEST MAMA YOU CAN BE?
I prioritize sleep. I say no to a lot of things so that I can have quiet, recharge time. I just started having a weekly 2 hour girlfriend date with my bestie in the late afternoon before dinner and bedtime where we alternate between getting manis/pedis and taking a walk. Just the time to be able to get out of the house and be with my girlfriends and decompress keeps me sane. And then sleep. Did I mention sleep? I need a lot of it to be able to function my best, so I get in bed before 9 most nights.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO KEEP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING EVERY SINGLE DAY?
A few things: First, because I built my company around giving compliments to others, encouragement, and gifts, the stories I hear from the recipients of our gifts is so heartwarming. That inspires me. The scholarships we are able to give— learning the stories of our brilliant Compliment Scholars, knowing all they’ve endured and how they’ve still persisted is super inspiring and encourages me to keep going. And then, of course, my family. Providing a good life for our son and hopefully our future babies, is something that really drives so much of what I do now.
WE ARE QUOTE LOVERS AROUND HERE AND WOULD LOVE TO KNOW WHAT YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE IS!
“Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” - Mother Teresa
AND FINALLY, Melissa'S TOP TEN:
1-Favorite food - Mashed potatoes
2-Favorite color - Orange
3- Coolest place you’ve traveled - Malta
4-Favorite book - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer and The History of Love by Nicole Kraus
5-Household chore you hate to do - All of them? ;)
6-Favorite place to shop - The grocery store
7-Place you’d most like to visit - Croatia
8-Favorite room in your house - My kitchen— It’s all white and has glass front cabinets up to the ceiling and it looks out to a big tree in my front yard. I love that room.
9- Favorite movie - Such a hard question, but I really love Say Anything, Jerry McGuire, and Almost Famous (I’m a big Cameron Crowe fan)
10-Your guilty pleasure - Naps and cheeseburgers
WHERE YOU CAN FIND MELISSA: