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Janice Mahoney Real Life Rosie

120906MamaMahoney214I am Janice Mahoney, the owner and designer behind Mama Mahoney Creations, a custom quilted tote and accessories company in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.  I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Sociology and a minor in Psychology.  For most of my young career, I was a preschool teacher and loved every second.  After getting married and having kids, I wanted to be able to stay home with my children but found that I needed a creative outlet.   I had learned to sew from a family friend when I was in junior high and enjoyed the satisfaction that I received making things.  I made a bag for a friend for her birthday about 6 years ago and it was so well received in the local community of moms that I decided to start my own business.  Since starting my company 5 years ago, I have added several designs and have created hundreds of custom bags.

What inspires you?  Simply?  Color.  As a mom myself, I know that it is easy to fall into the Mom Uniform; jeans/yoga pants and a tee shirt.  It is simple, requires little thought and most of all washable.  I love to help moms, especially, get their style back.  When a mom orders a custom bag from me, we work together to get her a little out of her comfort zone to find a fabric that speaks to her, that is bright and colorful, but will go with jeans.  What is great about my totes is that because of the high quality materials and the techniques that I use, every item that I make is washable and dry-able!

Do you have a favorite quote? I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel -Maya Angelou

I try to make every customer feel important and valued.

What are the most pressing issues facing women today? I think that it, sadly, is being taken seriously as a business person.  Although women owned (mom owned) businesses are on the rise, most of the power is still held by men.  I think that it is still difficult for society to understand that a woman can be a wife, mother and smart business person.  I don’t necessarily handle people or run my business the same way that my husband would, but I can still get it done!

What are the biggest keys to your success? Patience. Success often takes time.  You need time to develop your skill set, time to decide what you want to offer the world and time to make a name for yourself.  I am a perfectionist by nature so I put a lot of time into creating my designs and work harder than I ever thought possible to make people aware of what I do.  Love what you do, be the best at what you do, and OWN it!

What are the biggest keys to the advancement or success of women? I think you need to be fearless.  Once I stopped worrying about what people thought of me or what I do and just believed that I could do it, success came!  It is OK to say NO.  It is OK to forge your own path.  Keep moving forward, don’t look back and know that every step you take gets you closer to your goal.

Where did the inspiration for your business come from? My inspiration came from other moms. When I first started making  bags, I had a team of moms that were testers.  They told me what they liked, what they didn’t like and what they would like to see.  I think that if you are creative and your business is geared toward a particular demographic, that demographic should be your inspiration.

Where is your product sold (if applicable)? Right now, you can find my products online at  We are working to get lines into boutiques and stores throughout the country as well.

What advice do you have for a woman who is considering starting a business? Do something that you LOVE, that makes you happy, that you believe in.  As women, we connect emotionally with what we do.  If you love what you do and follow what your gut tells you, there is no telling where you can go.  Stay true to who you are at the core and what you believe in.

What are the biggest hurdles you have faced in starting or growing your business? How did you overcome these? I have had two major hurdles to overcome. One, was time.  Trying to balance a family and work while working from home in the midst of said family can be difficult.  It took awhile, but I now have my own space (with a door, no less!) that I can go to and my kids understand that I need to work.  I had to learn that it is OK if the house was a mess and if there is fabric everywhere.  As long as I can get my orders out and my family is happy, healthy and fed, the world is good.

The second hurdle was accepting rejection.  In business, you are going to hear no more than you hear yes, especially in something like design.  People are drawn to what you do and will be repeat customers for life, or, well, not.  I had to learn to be OK with people saying no, and am now pretty fearless when it comes to approaching boutiques, stores and even press to get coverage.  If you don’t ask, you don’t get.






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  1. Val Fitzpatrick - April 24, 2013, 5:42 pm Reply

    Mama Mahoney Creations are beautiful and she is obsessed with maintaining a high standard of quality. I love her creations and I LOVE that they can not only survive the washing machine but ALSO a spin in the dryer and come out looking like they are brand new!!

  2. Joy Light - April 25, 2013, 9:16 am Reply

    What a thoughtful interview, providing great insight to your process and your progress as an independent entrepreneur. I like hearing about the team of moms you work with! Congratulations on your continuing success Janice!

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