The Washington, DC area is full of amazing moms: working moms, stay-at-home moms, single moms, moms of multiples, foster moms, adoptive moms, etc. We want to highlight some of those moms like Monica Blakely! Each month we will feature one special mom as the mom of the month. Know a fellow amazing local mom here? Nominate them here!
Meet our March Mom of the Month: Monica Blakely
Monica Blakely is a DMV native, mother, widow, entrepreneur, and creative genius! This all combined help her jumpstart her own business, Passion for Ezra. She started her now 9 year old business, in her parents basement looking for income to support her newborn. What started as, staying up late at night making wreaths, has now expanded and morphed into a personalized experience for her clients. Making anything from Onesies and tutus, to teaching paint nights, to providing holiday experiences with Santa. When a client is looking for something unimaginable, this is where they come to get it created. One of her favorite things she’s able to do is to continue to build strong relations with the community, and try and give back, for every item she makes.
Here is our Q & A with Monica:
1. As a pregnant, young widow, what got you through some of the hardest times of your life?
The absolute only way I got through it was two very key aspects. 1. My parents took care of me, made me get up and keep moving. They let me grieve, but not give up. 2. My now husband, who was a friend then. He was the only person, that was able to get me to smile, laugh, and enjoy life- still while allowing me to go through the process of grieving.
2. You started Passion for Ezra 9 years ago. Share a lesson you have learned from being a business owner in a pandemic and how you started your business.
I have learned the most important aspect of a business because of this pandemic. Pivot and give back. You must be willing to pivot your key items for the moment, it can be signs one day and then the very next day you need to be sewing masks. And giving back- there will always be someone else struggling more than you and it always comes back 10 fold.
Passion for Ezra all started with my daughters first Christmas coming up. I had left my job after my first husband died, because my employer wanted me back the next day, so I didn’t have a job at the time. I wanted to be able to afford presents. So I started making sports wreaths for my family members as gifts. I thought they looked awesome, so I shared a photo on Facebook and within a day I had three orders. Within a week I had 10 orders, it shocked my Dad. I realized at that time that I could make and design things and sell them because I was making something not everyone else was. This was a way for me to spend quality time with my daughter as she grew while putting food on the table. Slowly I started making tutus, then onesies, then custom shoes, then Cornhole boards and now I make practically anything imaginable.
3. What three things do you want your daughter to learn from you?
The most important things I want my daughter to learn from me is:
A. Giving up is not an option. I am a first generation American, that created a business from $0 investing, as a widow. If I can do it she can with all the amazing things available to her.
B. To reach for the stars and think outside the box. I tried many things over the years trying to find my way: I have my cosmetology license, real estate license, a few credits short of nursing & more- but my creativity is what my passion is. No college degree could have prepared me for the real life lessons I’ve learned as a business owner.
C. Be a good person and give back. I know how I’ve probably talked about this so much. It’s because I remember sitting in the Oncology clinic when my husband was sick and how I promised myself I would help these kids when I finally got established. To see a child who is such a fighter, light up when they see Santa or the Easter Bunny, in safe environment that still protects their health, is priceless.
4. You have sewed over 8,000 masks to donate to first responders. How do you manage your time to give back to others so freely?
Anyone will tell you, I was horrible with time management at one time, but thanks to my husband, I am much better at it now. I constantly have my black book, I write everything down. In March 2020, we decided if we were going make masks to make sure our first responders had what they needed. So I would make sure as soon as a finished sewing the 10 a client bought, I would sew the 10 we needed for donations. Even if this meant being up until 3 am, we got it done. We donated over 8,000 masks to our first responders.
Do you know an amazing mom that would be a great mom of the month? Nominate them here!