Apparel · Hidden Gems · Home Goods · Interviews · Small Business

Happiness is Addictive

Hello, friends!

Happy Friday!

I hope you all had a great week!

I hear you. “Two posts in one week? That’s unheard of!” I know! I just had two great people to share with you this week and I didn’t want to wait. I also wanted to give you an opportunity to grab something from their shops for any last minute gifts for your friends and family.

Today’s interview is with Christine from Happiness is Addictive!

Happiness is Addictive is an online shop that helps promote happiness and inspiration. According to owner Christine, “The Happiness Is Addictive Brand is passionate about spreading laughter and creating smiles worldwide. We love bringing our global community together through humor, optimism, cheer, hopefulness and merriment.” 

Christine started the business after a long journey that involved heartbreaking events that made her look for therapy in the form of humor and optimism.

After graduating from the University of Central Florida, Christine first started her career in marketing working with a chain of hotels. She was soon recruited to go into the financial field where she proved her leadership and entrepreneurial skills by managing large projects and opening her own mortgage company. Unfortunately, an economic downturn in the mortgage industry forced her to look for opportunities outside that field. She then began to diversify her income by opening a jewelry/accessory company, an event planning business, and by becoming a seasonal Cast Member for Disney. “Due to the fact that I had two small children, I needed to have occupations that offered flexibility.”

Working for Disney has always had a special place in Christine’s heart. “My heart and soul has always been with Disney since the age of 5 when my parents first brought me to the Magic Kingdom from New Jersey and I had my first magical moment.  I was standing in line to see Eeyore and when another child yanked on his tail, I asked the child not to do so because his tail was tacked on.  When it was my turn to see Eeyore, he gave me the biggest hug, like I saved the day.  I didn’t realize at the time that one moment would forever impact me.  I wanted to create a difference.  I wanted to create magical moments.  I wanted to create a positive impact in the world and make people happy.  I wanted my life to mean something more.  Fast forward to today. I loved being a cast member, as it was truly magical each day.  I loved the guests and getting the chance to make magical moments and hopefully to create an impact on someone’s life in a positive way.”

Unfortunately, a series of hardships all around the same time impacted Christine’s life significantly. “My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung and bone cancer that metastasized from her breast cancer years prior. Being an only child, I was left to help her by myself. Three days before my mom coded for the first time, I shattered my left leg and ankle requiring me to have a plate and seven screws reconstruct my leg. I was beridden for months and it took me almost a year to relearn to walk. I was having to handle my mom’s slow and painful passing from my bed. She coded 5 times and was in 13 medical facilities less than 12 months. I felt so helpless. Then, after a couple months after learning to walk again, I went through a 2 year divorce. Six months later I was hit by a car and now have permanent neck issues. Some days I didn’t know how I was going to make it through the day.. but I had to .. I had people depending on me.. my mom, children and family”

During this time there was a glimmer of hope that Christine could hold on to. “One thing that always helped me was humor and optimism.  It was my therapy and medicine. I started a page on Facebook called ‘Happiness Is Addictive’ to post funny and inspirational memes when I couldn’t sleep or was having a difficult day.  It began to grow and people from all over the world would message me to tell me how my posts helped them get through their day.  My posts were helping them hang on.  I was making a difference.  My following began to grow and now I run 10 pages that have over 100k people following them globally. My reach is close to a million people a month.   I have pages on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I donate products to a variety of charities, people that have been financially impacted by Covid, or any other instance that I feel I can help make a difference.”

Now, Christine has her own Etsy shop! In this shop, people can purchase items that help promote the idea that Happiness is Addictive. “The merchandise I offer is primarily inspirational, Disney inspired and bulldog design. All my passions.  I have a little year and a half old female bulldog named Suzie-Q.  She also has a social media presence of almost 10k followers.  My shop is a culmination of all my years of experience in a variety of occupations and my desire to make a difference.  My shop and merchandise aren’t just products to me, but a piece of magic and happiness.”

Christine looks at this project as a long term business that she hopes to be able to leave to her kids one day. “Each day I learn something new and am able to make my businesses strong.  I believe in continuous learning and creating a community around my business and purpose. I eventually want to leave my business to my children to run as part of my legacy.  I want to continue to make a positive impact even though my days on earth will have passed. It has given me purpose, pleasure and financial stability in an unprecedented time.  Each piece of apparel is carefully crafted and completed with love, a smile and a piece of magic from my heart.”

Christine offers this advice to others who are looking to start their own businesses. 

1.  “It should be your passion and not a hobby. I work on my business 12 hours a day, 7 days a week and I consider it fun.  If it’s painful, then you should find your passion and figure a way that you can create a community and business around it.  

2. Consistency, quality and customer service is key.  Always strive to exceed the customers expectations.

3.  Know that a business normally doesn’t become successful overnight.  Some may, but most don’t.  It can take years of research, planning and execution to get your business to the desired level of success.  Sometimes, you may even have several businesses that you go through and learn from to create the ‘Successful One.’  I can’t stress enough to build a genuine community around your business and grow your social media presence.  It takes a long time, unless you have a huge advertising budget and many people don’t when they’re starting out and growing their business.” 

Christine also considers it critical to partner with others especially when first starting up.

“I believe it’s very important to build a community around your brand.  People who have the same desires, interests, beliefs, and passions.  Find groups and communities to join and be genuine.  People can see your heart, desire, and ambition.  The Disney community has been absolutely wonderful.  I’m so grateful to be part of it and will always support my Disney family and friends.”

“I started my business on furlough, but didn’t actively push it until I was formally laid off in October. I was still learning and launching the site in the meantime. October and November were successful months for me, but I learned that not many people purchase around the holidays, at least on an Etsy site because it takes time to craft and ship the item.  Prepare at least two months in advance for any holiday season. The sales come earlier than later. Have I mentioned building your community?  Yes I did and I will again… it’s extremely important.  Partner with social media influencers if you can.  Offer them a free product and get your brand name out there.”  

“One of my best opportunities was becoming part of the ‘Ear For You’ community and various other Disney and bulldog groups.  There are so many wonderful people out there with a kind heart, wanting to offer their support. I feel truly blessed.” 

This year has seen hardships for Christine including being laid off from Disney, close friends and family contracting Covid, and financial impacts. Despite this, she has been able to overcome and in her words “turn something bad into something good. There’s always a silver lining in every bad situation if you choose to see it.” 

“I’m thrilled that my shop was featured in ‘The Thoughtful Gift Club  – 50+ Magical Gifts To Buy This Season (That Support Disney Cast Members Past & Present)’ last month and that you offered to feature my shop in your blog this month.  I also had another kind soul reach out who wants to interview and do a video of my business.  I’ve also had an outpouring of support from the Disney and bulldog community.  Many people have purchased items to help support my business.  I am and forever be eternally grateful.  May everyone have a safe and wonderful holiday season and know that when you make a purchase from my shop, it wasn’t just any purchase…but a little piece of magic to make your day happier.”

Thank you so much, Christine, for taking the time to share your story with us!

If you would like to purchase anything from the Happiness is Addictive Etsy shop, please click the link below!

Etsy Shop

Also follow the Happiness is Addictive on Social Media!


Thank you for reading!

We will be having another post later on this week so keep checking back for more updates!

Remember to support small businesses and always look for the silver lining!

Artists and Authors · Hidden Gems · Interviews · Small Business

Dream and Brush by Danielle

Hello, friends!

Happy Wednesday!

I hope you are having a great day and are finding time to enjoy the holiday season! 

Today, I have my good friend Danielle who has recently started an Etsy shop called Dream and Brush.

Danielle specializes in digital hand-lettering art, color-block portraits, and has recently started offering some decor pieces as well. What started out as a hobby to keep her busy during the stay at home orders earlier in the year, quickly became something more. 

According to Danielle, “I started my business in September of this year, so just a few months ago! I started off with making an Instagram account for all of my hand-lettering designs and friends started asking me if I ever planned on selling my work. After I felt like I was at a better place creatively, I opened my Etsy shop just in time for Fall. Since then, I have launched a holiday collection as well as multiple custom offerings. I’m having so much fun with it, and that’s what keeps me motivated.”

“What makes me unique is my lettering style. Lettering and calligraphy has become a larger community since quarantine, but so many artists say that there is a place for everyone, which I wholeheartedly agree with. Most of my pieces are based around fandoms (Marvel, Star Wars, Disney, Broadway) as well as mental health and motivation.”

Danielle has previously had entrepreneurial aspirations through other shops in the past. “I had an Etsy shop back in college where I made and sold Disney-themed bows, when that was the latest and greatest thing. While I was not that successful, and did not do it for very long, I still had fun and loved how easy it was to work the website. I knew a lot of lettering artists also used Etsy, so it was a perfect move for me to make.”

“When I first started lettering, I never planned on opening an Etsy shop. I also never thought I would dive into more drawing along with lettering, but am so glad I have. Long-term, I would love to be able to fully support myself doing this, because I love it so much. Short-term goals are to keep making content I love and to start creating more physical pieces in the future that I can ship to customers.”

This project means a lot to Danielle personally, as well. “My business has grown my confidence as an artist. If you told me a year or even six months ago that I’d be making art that people would actually buy, I would have laughed. Also, since being laid off from my job, the extra income has been a huge blessing.”

Even though she loves the process of creating, Danielle noted that every business has its challenges. “There have been some pieces I made that have not sold at all, which is discouraging. I had plans for custom ornaments, and all the supplies are now sitting in a drawer and I have yet to sell a single ornament. I also released my holiday pieces during multiple days, and it decreased a lot of my Instagram engagement since it felt like I was just selling and selling instead of just making pretty things. It’s definitely something I’ve learned from and plan to improve next time.”

“I wish I knew more about Etsy SEO as well as better ways to display my products before launching my shop. I’ve definitely made countless changes to my listings in order to make them perform better, which has worked. I also wish I knew that it doesn’t matter how many social media followers you have when you start out, because you can grow you shop and your social media together at the same time.”

Danielle offers something that has helped her keep perspective when things become challenging. “Stepping away from the Internet for a bit helps me refocus. I’ll turn off my phone and just open my iPad and draw or letter whatever comes to mind. This puts me back in the place of why I do what I do. At the end of the day it’s not always about the views or sales, it’s just about me getting better at a hobby I truly love.”

While mostly focusing on a lot of word-of-mouth and social media marketing, Danielle has also gained perspective on finding a supportive community. “When the Disney layoff announcement happened, that was actually what doubled my Instagram following because a few bloggers added my shop to a huge Google Doc full of other furloughed and laid off Cast Members. It’s crazy to think that such a sad life-change for me actually benefited my business.”

Danielle decided to give back to some of the community that has been supportive of her passion. “One way I’ve impacted the community is during Giving Tuesday, I decided to donate a portion of my sales made from my Etsy shop as well as $1 per new Instagram follower that day to Cast Member Pantry, which provides food to furloughed and laid off Cast Members. I love how they’ve been supporting the community and I really wanted to give back to them.”

“If the events of this year, like quarantine and losing my job, did not happen, I most likely would not have even started this shop. I tried to learn hand-lettering last year, but failed miserably. Having that extra time and a need for a creative outlet is what led to all of this.

I was surprised when a blogger I follow made a purchase from my shop! Also, someone who never followed my Instagram found my shop through Etsy, made a purchase for a custom order, and now follows my account! Those little surprises reminded me that people do genuinely like what I have created.

My first tip when starting a business is to be financially smart. I didn’t have two pennies to rub together when starting this, so that is why I decided to make digital pieces to avoid spending money on shipping, a printer, shipment products, etc., that I did not have. Second, and more importantly, do not listen to the ‘haters.’ If people in your life are telling you that this is a dumb idea and that it won’t succeed, tune them out and prove them wrong. Lastly, be yourself and do not copy other artists’ work. Your unique style and way of creating is what is going to draw others to your shop, not a copy of someone else.”

Thank you so much, Danielle, for sharing your story and your art with us!

The last piece is a custom hand-lettered quote inspired by Cinderella that I purchased through Danielle’s shop  and I could not be happier with how it turned out.  

If you would like to purchase anything from Danielle yourself please click the link below!

Also, please follow Danielle on social media for awesome updates and behind-the-scenes looks at her process!


Thanks again for reading. 

If you have a small business and would like to be featured, please email me!

Remember to support small businesses and go find your new dream!