Makayla Grace Draeger ( founder and owner of Makayla Grace )
Here is my story
Just a girl with a dream
Growing up I always knew I wanted to do something great. Something better than the average career. Being told " if you do what you love, you won't work a day in your life " always stuck out to me. My childhood consisted of dance classes 2-4 times a week, performing professional ballets, & much more. It is what started my thoughts of becoming something much more in life. It gave me good structure, and balance between school. Taught me how to set goals, to strive for better everyday, and what hard work really felt like. I didn't know it at the time but dance was creating my future.
I remember coming home from dance and going straight to drawing. Those were my favorite things in life. Art was like breathing for me, I couldn't go a day without it. My teachers caught me several times doodling in my planner, or on a scrap of paper instead of doing my school work. I never saw the point of most of my classes, reading was not my thing, neither was math, history or science. Lets be honest, the only things that mattered at school were lunch, recess, and art class.
Let's fast forward to my high school years. I was fortunate enough our school provided us with a graphic design class. Without that class I'm not sure if I would be typing this right now! I took graphic design for 1 year and advanced for 2. Along with a fashion design, drawing, crafts, and 2 years of advanced art classes. I came home one day and told my parents I had been asked several times what college I was attending.. I never knew what to tell them because I already had it set in my mind college was not for me and I was okay with that. My parents are self employed as well as my aunt and uncle, & grandpa. I wanted that freedom. Being my own boss, making my own schedules, and creating my own future. It sounded easy. BOY WAS I WRONG! Self employed people are some of the hardest working individuals I've ever met!
Back to the story, I asked my dad if I could use my " college fund " to buy all the equipment to run my own graphic design business. We talked it over for months, and finally decided that's what I was going to do. I started small, selling things like one off t-shirts and car decals to my friends at school. Some people thought it was pretty cool, others probably thought I was crazy. I would make up a set of designs and take them along with a sign up sheet and my clip board and go around to all the moms at sporting events and ask if they would like to buy a custom shirt for the game. I kept pretty busy with this, it was fun.
After a few months of trial and error, I was finally getting the hang of it. There is nothing easy about running a business, I put in LOTS of time getting the correct temperatures for my press with different vinyl's, and sublimation. Each item whether it was a coffee mug or a t-shirt would have different times and temps they had to be set at. I started selling online on Etsy. Etsy is great, don't get me wrong. I think Etsy has its good and bad, competing with everyone on there can sometimes be frustrating. Someone that has been on there for less than a year and they already have 3K sales and your wondering what's wrong with your store. But once you get the hang of it, learn your customer base and figure out what it is you want your shop to be you will find success. I would be sitting in English class trying to focus on some random movie we had to watch while I can quietly hear my phone making that sweet noise. CHA-CHING CHA-CHING CHA-CHING. For those of you that don't know what I'm talking about, I was getting multiple orders through Etsy.
I graduated high school and as all my fellow classmates applied for college I was signing a lease on a small store front! Missing out on the " college life " seemed a bit sad for me at times but I was also very happy with how far I'd come. I was there for a little under 2 years building a client base, making new friends, and becoming who I wanted to be. My mom and I set up at tons of local craft shows. It was alot of work, but a blast. I sold my graphic tees, handmade dog collars, hats, coffee mugs, etc. I eventually outgrew my little building, but I wouldn't be where I am today without that stepping stone.
I was located in a great area of downtown Joplin surrounded by other small businesses. I added items to my store, such as boutique style clothing, jewelry & some smaller gift items. My graphic tees always shine the brightest. They are what defines Makayla Grace.
In May of 2019 I got to marry my best friend and decided I wanted to work closer to home. So I closed my boutique on the main street of downtown Joplin and moved my business home! I now gladly get to work alongside my husband while he sells homes for a real estate company ( and also delivers your packages ;) ) I am so blessed to get to call this business my own and I love what I do!
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope it can inspire others to pursue their dreams as well, no matter how crazy they may sound. Don't give up, you've got this.
Imagination is Endless.