Merry Go Sweets – a Stay at Home Mom’s Creation

By meredith, December 17, 2013 10:37 am

Natalie Navatta-Golia is the owner and founder of Merry Go Sweets, a Canton, MA based custom handmade treats company. She caters events with desserts, and sells her products through word of mouth, her web site, and even her Etsy shop. She is also the mother and primary caregiver of two young boys, Frankie, 5, and Luke, who will be 3 in the springtime.  Read on to hear about how her business was born with a lot of hard work, passion, and late nights in the kitchen after putting the kiddos to bed…

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Had you planned on being a stay at home mom?

I honestly didn’t really have a plan. But the decision was essentially made for me when we saw the prices of childcare in Boston and Newton. (My husband and I were living in a one-bedroom condo in the Back Bay when our first son was born.)

How was the idea for Merry Go Sweets born? Tell us a bit about the journey.

I have to start by sharing that chocolate covered pretzels are my favorite treat of all time. I decided to start making them day a few years ago, and ended up bringing them along with me to family functions. As time wore on, I started getting fancy with how I decorated and designed them. Eventually people started saying things like “Oh, you should sell these.” After a year or so of hearing that, I thought about it the first time. That was a few years ago.

At the time I started Pretziozi. My husband’s aunt asked my mother in law and I to team up with her and start a company. I did that for a year until I realized there was a conflict of interest. That’s when I decided to branch off on my own – I was having some struggles building a business with family, and one of the co owners wasn’t supportive of my vision for the company. In order for the company to grow and flourish the way I defined success, I had to go off on my own, and start making new products.

What do you think really sparked you to start the business?

I wanted something outside of my family and my kids that made people happy and that also made my money for my family. I wanted to find a way to contribute financially to my family. I don’t want to discount people who decide to be stay at home moms forever – that’s important work and the right choice for many people. For me, I wanted something else as well.

Especially when they go to school?

Yeah – right. I’m going to have a lot more time on my hands. Hopefully by the time Luke goes off to school, this will be a real job and a real company with real steady income.

Am I missing anything?

I don’t expect the company to be profitable for the first 2+ years, as a rule of thumb. The company is turning a profit, but I reinvest all the revenue back into the company. I’m not taking a salary either.

My plan is to utilize this time while the kids are younger to get the company to the point where once the 2nd one does start school and I have a lot of free time, this will be my job.

I thought about going back to the job I had before I had my first son. I would certainly do it if I had to, but it’s not my first choice. I love doing what I do now. It’s fun. I love being in control of the business and my work.

So it’s your passion?

Yes, it is my passion.

I have always been into art, and wondered if I could create a product. It was really an accident that I found this idea and made this product. But given that I love creating things with my hands and have always been artistic and enjoy having the freedom to determine what happens with my company, I suppose it’s not all that much of an accident after all.

My other company because it was a partnership, and that meant I had a lot less control. I love having control over the business decisions and the products. It’s a part of the business I find truly rewarding. It’s also rewarding to hear people’s feedback – things like ‘oh my gosh that’s so cute, or I have to find an occasion to buy some of these.’ It’s fulfilling because it’s a reflection of my hard work – for me, it’s much better than going to an office, and putting in long hours working for someone else – I have much more motivation.  I love creating.

What keeps you motivated to do things like finish that order after a long day of chasing after 2 boys?

Sometimes I’m until 2am working – but I love to be able to create or finish a piece of art and give it to somebody. That, and hearing that people love this product that I have made. It’s a huge compliment. That’s why I put my whole heart into it: I see it as sharing a piece of myself with people and then hearing their reactions. I feel fortunate that most of the feedback has been positive, but I also love constructive criticism because I am continually working to improve my products.

I love feedback from people because then I can come to a creation that’s a kind of in between my idea and their reactions to give people what they want.

Is that how you got the idea for the Oreos?

A customer gave me the idea – so yes!!! The answer is yes!

A customer was getting married, and she absolutely loves Oreos. She also wanted a favor with a monogram on it. At first, I created an Oreo with handwritten freehand, and it looked awful. She wasn’t into it, and told me straight up that she wouldn’t go for it. So I thought about how I could print something on an Oreo. Thus, the idea for the pictures and other images on Oreos was born.

What would you say to the stay at home Mom who wants to start a company or do something career wise but hasn’t yet found her passion?

Try new things; talk to as many people as you can. Look within yourself. Somebody else told me this advice, so I can’t take credit for it, but it really rings true for me: Ask yourself, ‘if you had no monetary concerns, and you were wealthy and could do anything you wanted in the world, what would it be?’ And that’s your answer.

I know it’s scary. Thank God for my husband because we could have had less choices – we could have moved to an area where childcare was more affordable and sent my children to daycare. He also helps out a lot with the house and the kids, and gives emotional and other kinds of support.

There’s a great book I read, and it was saying that you have to take care of yourself – and that includes leaving a job if you’re miserable, and making a change when you need to. If you have a passion, go for that passion: then it’s not work, and you’re happy to do it.

It’s such a personal decision.  What works for one Mom, or one person, wouldn’t necessarily work for another. For me, I was happy to stay home with them and glad to have that time but knew it wasn’t forever. When they grow up, I need a new passion.

What about the Mom who is ready to start a business and has the idea in place but doesn’t know where to begin?

Try new things – explore things that interest you – with the kids but sometimes on your own as well. Don’t be in a rush. Eventually you’ll find it.

Is there anything you’d tell someone in your shoes 5-10 years ago?

Remember that there’s no one formula for your life. And take advantage of free resources!!! There are workshops in Boston through the Women’s Enterprise Initiative (WEI), which you told me about, Meredith. I went to a few of those, and they were very helpful.

Also, network with other women and other people in general.

The other thing I’d say, after having said that, is passion is important, but there is a difference between being passionate about something and making a career out of it. And you have to be practical. So if you do want to make a living out of your passion…

Take risks, and grab life by the balls.

Accept criticism; accept the possibility of failure. If you don’t, you’ll never know if it could have been something big.

I went to my first show all own my own, and I was so nervous. I was terrified that I wouldn’t make any sales, or worse, that people would see my stuff and think that they would never buy it. I was so scared of failing, and I put so much anticipation into that part of it. I almost psyched myself out. But once you get over that initial hump, the worst part is over. I haven’t had that feelings since, and I have done a number of shows now and have plenty of people asking me to come and sell my products. And that’s a great feeling.

2 Responses to “Merry Go Sweets – a Stay at Home Mom’s Creation”

  1. Timothy says:

    assure@equalizers.mervin” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info….

  2. Teresa Libby says:

    Could you please call me today at 617-943-3353. I would desperately like to buy some of your cookies today and could meet you somewhere to pick them up. You made cookies for my daughter Alexandra’s wedding. Unfortunately I do not do Facebook so I hope this reaches you. Please reply by phone or email. Look forward to speaking with you this morning at your earliest convenience.

    Much thanks,

    Teresa Libby

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