Over the last several years, I have started oodles (I know, I’m super technical) of small businesses. With each one, I truly believed the idea had merit and would inherently be successful. Though I was successful (someone, somewhere bought the product – validation!), I didn’t always have the best distribution plan in place to garner wild success. If only I could’ve taken a page out of Melissa Renee’s book, I may have learned a thing or two about getting invaluable visibility to ensure that my businesses really took root. Melissa launched her Etsy shop, Sweet Water Decor, this past December and is already selling wholesale to numerous bloggers, boutiques and online retailers. And for the cherry on top, her products will be featured on Style Me Pretty this month. That’s exactly the kind of wild success small business owners are after and at this rate, Melissa will have oodles (see, I did it again) of pinch-me moments in her future.


NAME Melissa Renee
AGE 27
LOCATION Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
COMPANY Sweet Water Decor | StampsLux
INSTAGRAM @sweetwaterdecor


TODAY ON MY TO-DO LIST…finish a large mug order from our promo — our Boss Lady Mug! Make some new designs for canvas prints and post those to the site…make my fiance dinner and enjoy this Spring weather.

PINCH-ME MOMENT OF MY CAREER SO FAR: When I found out one of my most popular bridal shower invitations will be featured on Style Me Pretty! I was so excited and I’m even more excited to see it live! I think I’ll literally have to pinch myself then. (April 20th, homepage)

MY GUILTY PLEASURE IS…Reeses Mini Peanut Butter Cups, I can’t have just one.

I CAN’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT…coffee! I have to make it every morning, and it’s not even for the caffeine, I drink it de-caf.

MY WORK CONSTANTLY CHALLENGES ME TO…make new and exciting products – I love adding new additions to the shop in different mediums. I added a few mugs on a whim, just to see if my customers would love them, and now my mugs are my best seller! I will be adding canvas prints and some new items to the shop soon.

IN ANOTHER LIFE, I’D BE…a designer…no seriously! I am a Financial Analyst during the day and a designer at night + on weekends. It’d be amazing to be a full-time designer with a beautiful open studio with natural brick walls and a large screen Mac, coffee in hand.

I’D LOVE TO SIT DOWN WITH (CELEBRITY, PAST OR PRESENT) OVER (DRINK OF CHOICE) TO CHAT ABOUT…I’d say Kristen Wiig, she’s such a sweetheart and I feel we’d be best friends in real life. Apparently I’ve been told she’s my long lost twin. She’s so true and real and I love that about her. I’m pretty sure I’d be laughing the entire time. We’d sit down over wine and discuss life, challenges, and laugh a lot!

THE BEST PART OF MY WORK IS…my customers… hearing how much they love their art, when they post their purchases to Instagram, the whole bit. It’s great to see & hear stories of why they’re purchasing an item and hear about their excitement when it arrives.

I’M A NINJA AT…multitasking! Somehow I work full time, run my 2 Etsy shops, am on 3 additional websites, and do my wholesale business…all while planning my own wedding and having fun with my fiancé.

MY MOTTO: I have two: “Everything happens for a reason.” + “If you’re going to do it, do it right.”

IF I COULD INVITE ANY FIVE PEOPLE TO A DINNER PARTY, THEY’D BE: Jesus, My 2 Grandpas I’ve never met, My fiance, and Steve Carell (I love his humor!).

THE WILDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE IS…follow my dreams. It sounds crazy, but most people never do it! I had this urge to open my own shop (brick & mortar) and have my own business but I didn’t know what to sell/make…I knew God put it in my heart to pursue my dream and somehow, one day, it just…happened! I used to work in merchandising and was an apparel buyer for a large retailer and switched jobs last year. I missed that connection with talking to my vendors, feeling clothes, and seeing a vision come to life. With my day-time position being analyst, I am around numbers all day and needed a creative outlet. That outlet turned into my passion which turned into my business. My dream is growing everyday as my business is expanding like crazy, being in shops + online + boutiques all around the country in just a few short months. I’m growing my brand and expanding, which is amazing. Being asked to make exclusive designs for boutiques… from clothing to mugs, has been such a blessing and a dream come true. I should probably pinch myself now. So the wildest thing I ever did… was follow my dreams and listen to that little nudge inside which I knew was the Lord. He knows my heart and in his timing, is bringing my dream to life.

THE BEST GIFT I’VE EVER RECEIVED IS…my art talent from my mom and a love of numbers from my dad. I’m unique in that I love both!


MY FAVORITE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT TO FOLLOW IS…@smpweddings (insert the heart eye emoji here!)


Photography Credits

Photo 1 by Kaylie B. Poplin
Photo 2 & 3 by Lindsey Zern Photography

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