Mandy Kellogg Rye can do no harm in our book — she’s always impeccably dressed, knows the coolest places to shop in Atlanta, (as well as around the globe), can whip up a mean vegan fettuccine alfredo and curates amazing products on her site Waiting on Martha. Oh, and she’s really nice and down to earth. This Michigan native traded in her plans of becoming a high-powered attorney for a life bursting with creativity, color and, of course, food and wine. Mandy wears many hats — stylist/designer/editor/blogger/Martha’s alter ego — to create a lifestyle brand that truly helps everyone find and unleash their own inner Martha. Get to know Mandy Kellogg Rye, today’s FACE of the South!
You spent much of your life in the Midwest, growing up in Michigan and working in Chicago, before settling in Atlanta. What do you miss most about that region? What were you happy to say goodbye to?
I was happy to say goodbye to the cold weather. As much as I love snow during December for the holidays, I’m over it by January. As far as what I miss, there are a lot of things. The people — Midwesterners are the most humble, hard working, down-to-earth people. I miss the simplicity of growing up in a small town in Michigan. Maybe I’m getting nostalgic in my old age but of all the things I’m thankful for in my life, growing up in Michigan is definitely at the top of that list.
How often do people call you “Martha”?
Every day, at least five times a day. Ha!
Share the backstory on “Waiting on Martha” and what your inspiration was to create the brand.
It starts where most great stories start — I was drinking wine and with no real thought, I followed an idea and decided to start a blog. The next day, I applied for a wholesale license and filed as an S Corp. The rest is history.
We read that designing a bracelet is what sparked your entire creative movement. Do you still wear it?
Yes, I actually just wore one the other day. My mother still wears them on a daily basis and I still have the beads and all of the supplies at the house. I keep telling myself I may get back to it if I have time but the time is what seems to always be the problem.
What advice would you give up-and-coming entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses?
- There is no such thing as overnight success so don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s end.
- You can have everything, just not all at the same time. Like all things in life, you will have to sacrifice to be an entrepreneur.
- Trust your gut … always.
- Stay humble; let your success be your noise.
- WORK HARD! Nothing worth having comes easy. Entrepreneurism will be one of the hardest things you will ever do but it will also be one of the most rewarding.
You began as a one-woman show and now manage an all-female staff. What’s the hardest part about being the boss?
Managing people and walking the line between boss and friend. In the beginning, I said I would never cross that line. However, that line becomes non-existent in a small business because your employees are your family. But I have found that it can usually be okay, as long as you hire the right individuals. They are the people who naturally respect and believe in you and your business.
There are some tasty recipes posted on your blog. What’s your favorite Waiting on Martha recipe? Any fails you experienced when crafting one of these yummy dishes?
Ooooh that is SO tough. I’d have to say the heirloom tomatoes with mustard quinoa is a favorite and just about every cocktail recipe. And yes, so many fails … even a mini-stovetop fire. It’s all part of the process!
You wear so many professional hats (very cute, fashionable hats we may add). What do you like to do on your day off?
Truthfully if I have a day off, I like to do absolutely nothing and not leave my house. Because of everything I have to juggle, my days are very heavily scheduled. If I have the chance to not make plans, not leave my house and just be still, that’s my idea of a perfect day off.
You do so much — blogging, styling, designing, collaborating, branding, etc. What is your favorite aspect of running Waiting on Martha?
Probably the fact that it’s always creative, always different and it can bring so many new and unexpected opportunities. I literally never know what I’ll be doing a week from now.
If you could time travel to 15 years ago, what one thing would you tell your younger self?
Take better care of yourself and study harder! I’m just now understanding the beauty of taking care of yourself both physically and mentally and I would have been so ahead of the game had I begun years ago. Also, I wish I had studied harder and taken school and college more seriously. I did fine — I mean I went to law school and all — but I wish I would have really understood that this is your only time in your life where your only responsibility is learning.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
You can be whatever you want if you work for it.
What are three things you can’t live without excluding family, friends and faith?
I’d have to say wine, coffee and Chapstick/lip gloss.
Thanks to Mandy Kellogg Rye for sharing a bit about her life, her style of work and how to build a beloved brand with ingenuity, dedication and a really amazing bracelet! Find her daily at waitingonmartha.com.
Thanks to CatMax Photography for today’s lovely images!
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