I’m Amanda Ficek, Mama’s Happy proprietor and resident “Mama.” I juggle these roles as you do, but also wanted a little something for me. My oasis in the midst of the Me I am in relation to everyone else. I’ve combined a career in fashion retail business and merchandising, with a personal passion for beautiful home decorating on a shoestring budget, and a need for female company and inspiration from a community of creative women, to create Mama’s Happy. When my husband asked if there was going to be anything for the guys, I replied, “Well, maybe not directly, but you know it’s true honey, when mama’s happy, everybody’s happy.” And I knew that was the name for my store. In my family, a “happy” is when you give someone a gift for no reason – as in, “I just brought you a little happy.” That made the name Mama’s Happy all the more perfect.
I am blessed beyond measure by the women that God has brought into my shop. Each one has come in with a style all their own and with unique gifts they bring to our group. We laugh that our paths would never have crossed apart from this venture, but we’re so glad that our passion for this business brought us together. Because together we make up the girls of Mama’s Happy.
I don’t think Ally came to us by coincidence. I’d say it’s more like God’s awesome sense of humor. After leaving her weekend job of 2 1/2 years and vowing to NEVER work weekends again, Ally joined our team just months later to help us out…on weekends. Ironic? We think God just had different plans! If you ask Ally why she took another job working weekends on top of her already full time job, she’ll tell you she’d been praying for a new opportunity that was just for her; a new hobby and a place where she could bond with creative women. When she walked into Mama’s Happy she knew it was the answer. So look for Ally at our St. Louis Park store…on the weekends.
Ann started out as a Guest at Mama’s Happy, but we just wouldn’t let her leave! You’ll glad we didn’t, cuz this is one talented woman. She “retired” from having her own space in Independence to help us on the business side of things, but she’s never hung up her paint brush. Ann is now helping spread the Chalk Paint® love, teaching classes as well as providing ongoing training for our staff & vendors.
And the fact that she is the most even-keeled among us…well, every group needs that. Ann is as solid as they get. To know her is to love her. And we know her very much.
Carol stumbled upon the Mama’s Happy booth at the Home & Garden Show in 2014 looking for information about painting her kitchen cabinets. She fell in love with the paint and the store and became a frequent shopper. She later joined our team of employees in St. Louis Park and we immediately noticed her drive and gift for getting things done! Carol is now managing the St. Louis Park, St. Paul and Stillwater stores. Let’s just say she’s really good at telling everyone what to do…but with love! She is a born leader and we feel so, so blessed to have her on our team.
Carolyn may dress in full color, but when it comes to her decor, this girl’s all white.
It’s always fun to see her pull up in Mike’s big green truck to start the unloading, cuz a few things are for certain – her stuff’ll all be white, it’ll all be fabulous, and Molly will be in there somewhere. The life of the youngest child, right Molly?
Look for Carolyn at our Independence store.
I plucked Charity right out of her booth at Junk Bonanza and practically insisted that she join our team in St. Paul. I was thrilled when she said yes, cuz she is one talented cookie! And we didn’t even know that Aaron was going to be part of the package, but he’s there helping, schlepping & building right alongside her every step of the way. And always with a smile on his face.
Charity’s our queen of upcycling and repurposing, with a fabulous eye for vintage architectural pieces. Put a saw and a nail gun in this girl’s hands and then stand back and watch the creativity flow. The results are pretty amazing.
Look for Charity at our St. Paul store.
As a certified Life Coach, CJ was wanting to reconnect with her creative side when she joined the Mama’s Happy team. CJ has worn many hats prior to joining us, having worked in merchandising, repurposing furniture, interior design, and owning a fun salon & spa for many years. She truly loves doing things that matter and one of them is taking what is old and giving it new life. She gets to do just that with furniture and home décor as well as with old ways of thinking that need to be recreated! Life is supposed to be FUN and for this Mama-Grandma, it is!
Look for CJ at our St. Louis Park store.
John has been given many nicknames since joining our ALL FEMALE team. “Junk Hunk” and “Mama’s Boy” were our early favorites, but I think “Token Male” (TM for short) has won out. John came to us as part of a duo (his significant other is Pam Rogers), but soon branched out with his own look and style that earned him his very own spot in the shop. We think you’ll love his industrial creations as much as you’ll love the creator himself. But don’t get us wrong John…no matter how much we love you, no matter how much furniture you lift, or how many things you hang way up high for us…Pam will still be our favorite. She does make the best chocolate chip cookies, after all.
Look for John at our St. Louis Park store.
If you asked everyone who is their favorite in the group, I think many would say this lady. And the ones that didn’t, well they’d be stuck listening to her give all the reasons why she should be.
Jolie is the friend everyone should have in their lives, the kind that shoots straight and doesn’t sugar coat it. She’s as real as they come and insanely talented to boot.
If you’re lucky enough to snag a piece with a “J. Raimondo” on it, you better hang on to it – cuz I’m pretty sure it’ll be worth something someday. She’s that good.
Look for Jolie at our Independence store.
Julie started out in this crazy business when she rescued a neighbor’s old picnic table that was going to be thrown away (it’s being loved once again by now providing a spot for ice and cocktails as a bar). Now she has filled her whole garage on a quest to save and revive the furniture of the past. You will often see Lucy, Julie’s two-year-old, pretending to wax a piece of furniture or overhear the boys telling people “our mom sells every piece of furniture we have!”
Julie found Mama’s Happy as a loyal paint customer before falling in love with the St. Louis Park store, where she is happy to now be called a “Mama”! If you ask her what made her take the leap she’d tell you it’s the awesome support from a team of creative women that she was drawn to. You’ll find her late at night in her dining room workshop dreaming up her next project as she watches TV in peace. After life in the corporate world, Julie is loving the freedom and the time with her children that this crazy business provides. And we’re sure glad she does!
Look for Julie at our St. Louis Park store.
Lauri also came to us as a Chalk Paint® customer (are you noticing a trend?). A creator since she was young, she remembers buying an antique trunk in high school, repainting it and reupholstering the inside. So when she first heard of Chalk Paint, the fact that there was no sanding or priming required and the way you can manipulate the paint to do so many more techniques, she couldn’t wait to try it! Now she’s hooked. Even in her free time she’ll tell you that she can’t help but want to paint.
Her family also loves seeing the entire process come to life – from finding a piece, coming up with design ideas, applying the paint and then watching it go out the door into someone else’s home! They seem to have gotten used to having their house become Lauri’s studio, because she’ll tell you she’ll work on projects all over the house if her family lets her! Well we hope they do, because the pieces she creates are absolutely beautiful…and they never last too long around here.
Look for Lauri at our St. Louis Park store.
We often joke that we’re gonna have an intervention with Linnea to get her to stop buying stuff, but truth is, we couldn’t stand the thought, cuz it makes her so happy (and she does find the coolest stuff)! Not one for furniture, this mama’s all vintage smalls. (Though between you and me, this Annie Sloan stuff has even gotten Linnea picking up a paint brush.)
Look for Linnea at our Independence store.
When I first met Lori of LaDeeDa Design I fell in love with her hand-embellished and recreated clothing line! After joining us for a few shows in Independence, we invited her to join our team in St. Louis Park. It was then that she picked up a paint brush (to give her hands a break from sewing) and found that she actually had a knack for painting furniture too! Lori’s a straight-shooter and a student at heart. I love to listen to her observations after a sale to see what she’s going to try next. She’s always studying what you’re buying.
Lori told us that the moment she stepped into the door at Mama’s Happy she knew it was a different and wonderful kind of shop and collaboration. She says, “Creating can be a very solitary experience, but being part of Mama’s Happy means I’m part of a group effort. I get to collaborate with women who enjoy collaboration and who truly believe in synergy – meaning we’re great individually but even better as a team! What a joy it is to be able to rise every day and create. I just have to remember to stop and do laundry and dishes every now and then.” Nah…that’s actually really overrated Lori. Look for Lori at our Independence and St. Louis Park store.
Our Pam. Our team cheerleader. There’s just something about this lady that you cannot help but love. I think part of it is that she just loves almost everybody. No matter what we’re working on, she’s just glad to be a part of it! She’ll help with anything and she’ll do it with a smile (as long as it’s before noon).
And the fact that she has a significant other who actually likes what we do, is just an added bonus! This lady has been an amazing addition to our team. And she really does make the best chocolate chip cookies.
Look for Pam R. at our Independence store.
If you asked Sara what her dream job would be she’d say she’s doing it today at Mama’s Happy. A transplant from New Orleans, we have Katrina to thank for this wonderful addition to our team!
With a background in art & marketing, Sara is loving the chance to use her creativity to give old items a new life and to explore her artsy side. But the kicker for this mama is getting to do something she loves on a schedule flexible enough to allow her to be home with her three children. Throw in the fact that her husband’s hobby is building amazing things out of wood and you’ve got the perfect mix for Mama’s Happy!
Look for Sara C. at our Independence and St. Louis Park stores.
Sara is a woman who (like so many of us) wears a whole lotta different hats. She’s a wife, a mother of 3, a hairstylist, the creator of the Minnesota Robot Co. Now add to that her newest role – a member of the Mama’s Happy crew! Sara’s got a brain that rarely shuts off…always thinking, creating & planning her next projects, it didn’t take us long to realize that she’d fit right in around here. Sara loves the hunt for junk, as do her kids! And it helps to have an “uber handy” husband (we’ll second that) and to live on acreage with room to store her junk (we’re all a bit jealous of that one).
We love it when Sara has “flashes” of ideas that pop into her head, cuz she gets so excited to share them, the words can’t come out fast enough. We also love that she’ll hit the dance floor solo if she starts feeling the groove. We’re thrilled to have Sara’s kitschy-whimsical-and-sometimes-a-bit-retro style join our mix (just ask about her Christmas card to get an idea of this girl’s style). You’re sure to love her as much as we do.
Look for Sara S. at our Independence store.
Sarah is our resident over-achiever. You know the one…always had her papers done on time, set the curve on all the tests while working two jobs and carrying a full course load. You wanted to hate her, but she was just so damn likable.
Well that’s our Sarah. She churns out furniture so fast you’d swear she’s got a small staff working in her garage at night. She gets her space set up early, restocks the moment a piece sells…all without ever breaking a sweat.
She’s a tell-it-like-it-is, don’t hold back, shoot straight kinda girl…just the kind this group needs! Look for Sarah H. at our Independence store.
Sherry came to us after making the tough decision to close “The Shop Around The Corner” in Waconia, a shop she owned with her sister. Since then I’ve come to depend on this savvy business woman. She is such a gift to me as a business owner, and one I promise to NEVER take for granted.
She keeps our stores looking beautiful cuz she can merchandise like nobody’s business! And the best part of the deal is that she loves to teach the rest of us how to do the same! Now every team needs that kind of girl.
Look for Sherry at our Independence store.
Tauna started her repurposing business about 3 1/2 years ago while on maternity leave with her second child. In need of a creative outlet, she started redoing old furniture she inherited from her mom, who had inherited it from her mom. When she started to sell some pieces, she realized she was onto something. She was so excited to find that people actually wanted to buy something she had re-done! The groundwork was laid.
In September of 2014 she was laid off from her “day” job. While panic may have set in for some, Tauna knew just what to do. She picked up her paint brush and called Mama’s Happy. And she hasn’t had to look for a “real” job yet.
She loves creating and giving old items a new life, and is always surprised at just what a little bit of paint can do! She loves being able to do something new every day and then seeing it go home with a happy customer. It also helps to have a very handy husband…now if he could only quit his day job. You can find Tauna at our St. Louis Park store.