Miss Mustard Seed makes her Canadian debut at the Toronto Fall Home Show main stage
If anyone can move mountains, it’s Marian Parsons.
Parsons – affectionately called Miss Mustard Seed – took a leap of faith six years ago to launch her interior design business in a small town near Gettysburg, Pa. Today, she’s a celebrated designer, furbisher, blogger, and author who has gained international recognition for her Miss Mustard Seed line of milk paint and recently partnered with Meyer’s Imports to launch Miss Mustard Seed’s German Glass Glitter.
“All of the normal criteria you should have in place to start a business – like capital, experience, business savvy – all of those things I didn’t have,” says Parsons, who will make her Canadian debut at Toronto’s Fall Home Show, September 18.
Rather, Parsons was a stay-at-home mother of two and youth pastor’s wife with a penchant for refinishing, reupholstering and refurbishing furniture and other household accessories as a way to affordably decorate her home. When she decided to turn her hobby of home decor into a business, she chose the name Mustard Seed Interiors as a reminder that it only takes faith the size of a mustard seed to move mountains.
“It was a real step of faith and I always wanted to remember that,” she says, adding that the name also fits her passion for taking things other see as small or insignificant and turning them into something special. “My business, blog and brand is not just about decorating. It’s about making big changes in your home that can affect your family and your life,” she says.
Growing up in a U.S. military family, Parson’s first inspiration came from watching her mother turn a “900-square-foot white box apartment into a home,” using inexpensive tricks like covering ugly green countertops with butcher block contact paper or hiding a metal divider with starched fabric. “I learned that I could get the look I wanted if I was willing to do the work, to learn how to sew and paint, and to take the time to hunt out pieces,” she says.
The primary focus of Mustard Seed Interiors is painted and refinished furniture, but the business also carries upholstered pieces, found objects, vintage-inspired painted signs and handmade accessories. In addition, Parsons publishes a “how-to” blog and DIY tutorials at www.missmustardseed.com, and recently moved her retail business from her home to a studio where she plans to hold hands-on workshops.
Miss Mustard Seed milk paint, a powdered paint made from all natural ingredients, was launched in 2012 and is available at retailers in the U.S., Canada, Australia, U.K. and Europe. “When I started using milk paint, I realized I was always custom mixing my own colours,” says Parsons. “I thought someone should come out with a milk paint line of fresh colours, but I never thought it would be me.”
In fact, Parsons prefers to see herself as a wife, mother and lover of all things home decor. The entrepreneurial success is more “accidental.”
In Toronto, she hopes to inspire show attendees with tips for finding and refinishing that perfect piece. Her best advice is to start small and cheap. “I started out on a $10 dresser I got from a yard sale,” she says. “I think I stripped it and refinished it three or four different times before I finally sold it.”
She’ll also have copies of her book entitled Inspired You – Letting God Breathe New Life into your Heart and Home on hand, where she shares dozens of new DIY projects aimed at helping readers to create “special, comfortable and inviting homes” that tell a story.
“The idea of moving mountains in your home is the idea of putting some love and attention into your home and seeing how it impacts yourself, your life, as well as the life of your family,” says Parsons.
Parsons will present a session on “Furniture Flipping” on the Fall Home Show main stage on Thursday, September 18 from noon to 1 p.m. The show takes place at the Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place, from September 18 to 21. For more information call 1-877-715-7469 or visit www.fallhomeshow.com
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