Homeschool Hints
Homeschool Hints Podcast
Marissa Hitt with Melane & Co. on creating a business, homeschooling, and pursuing your passions

Marissa Hitt with Melane & Co. on creating a business, homeschooling, and pursuing your passions

#Classof2023 Graduate

Shanxi: Hello, this is Shanxi Omoniyi, host of MPE’s “Homeschool Hints” podcast to encourage you wherever you may be on your homeschool journey.

Today we’re interviewing a recent high school graduate from MPE, Marissa Hitt, who runs her own business called Melane & Co. So Marissa, would you like to tell us more?

Marissa: Well, thank you so much for having me. It's a true delight to be able to be a part of this podcast, and I thank you so much for allowing me to come on and impart some advice to some homeschoolers or some homeschool parents, and I thank you if you're watching this.

I'm so blessed to be able to have a business, and I recently graduated from the class of 2023 through Midwest Parent Educators. And I, looking back, I am just so thankful for all of the time I had to dedicate to my business. The flexibility and also being able to fully pursue my interests.

Shanxi: Tell us a little bit about the graduation ceremony.

Marissa: The graduation ceremony was absolutely amazing. I truly went into it having, you know, an idea of what it was going to be like because we had prepared for it the past school year. But I was talking to my friend, I was like, I really couldn't have asked for much more. It was amazing, it was so amazing.

I had the honor of providing one of the senior addresses, and I do feel as though it kind of pertains to what this podcast episode is going to be about as well.

Shanxi: Well, tell us a bit about, you know, how you got started and, you know, how you began homeschooling and what that looked like for your particular family.

Marissa: So I began homeschooling ever since pre-kindergarten. It was really amazing because I had that time to really dedicate to my studies and also time with my family. That is just one of the best blessings that I have received throughout this homeschool journey.

And then another blessing that I received is the ability to pursue my interests. So I was able to go to casting calls, and I was able to paint and create. And my mom - oh my goodness, I'm so thankful for my mom because she really nurtured that creativity in me because she saw that I was interested in that. And she allowed me to implement that into my schoolwork. And I am just so, so thankful and I wouldn't have started Melane & Co, I don't believe, if it weren't for homeschooling.

Shanxi: Can you give us some examples or like some stories from your childhood of just doing something that may be, you know, off the beaten path?

Marissa: Right. So one of the things that instantly comes to mind is, I used to have this little science board. And it was just this little cardboard science board, probably like, three dollars, you know, or something from the wonderful Hobby Lobby.

And what was so neat is I would cut out - it would be kind of like this collage / sort of news stand or deal - and I would make, you know, I'd cut out things for magazines and then I would fill it up and I would say, “Hey, Mom!” Like, I’d update it like every single day and I'd be like, “Hey, Mom, can you come look at this? This is what I made today.”

And so, just little things like that, I'm not sure if I would have done if it weren't for homeschooling. And it's really along the same path of what I'm doing today, you know. Through Melane & Co. I create custom pet portraits, watercolor prints and cards, and I'm also going to be introducing florals pretty soon.

What I do is I love updating the website. I love managing our social media pages. And it's a true blessing because I see those themes in my life, and I am so encouraging anyone to look for those themes in their life as well.

Shanxi: Were there certain challenges that you encountered along the way or certain setbacks? I'm sure you didn't, you know, hit the ground from day one thinking, “I'm going to be building all these amazing, fabulous products.” So how did that begin for you?

Marissa: Well, it wasn’t until actually recently that I have seen the themes in my life of creativity. I’ve always been a creative person, but at the same time, I felt as though I pursued so many different interests because I was genuinely interested in so many things. And that's a wonderful quality to have, and I just now realized you know these are the themes that I like.

It's always been going back to creativity. And you know, I just so encourage everyone to look for those themes in their life, no matter what you're pursuing or where God calls you. Just looking for those themes and seeing like, where is God leading me?

And then as far as business goes, I think, when starting Melane & Co. I started Melane & Co. in between, well, at least brainstorming in between my freshman and sophomore year of high school. And then I officially launched it during my sophomore year.

What was really neat was being able to come to the realization of our mission. And that's to create joyful watercolor prints and filling the home with just innocent and beautiful pieces that are meant to be keepsakes, especially the custom pet portraits because those are uniquely designed just for you and your furry family member.

Shanxi: Oh, that's beautiful. Did you have a special pet growing up that gave you the idea? Or was it just along the way you realized, I could do this for other people and scale? Or how'd that work?

Marissa: So I have always grown up with pets, specifically Golden Retrievers and Miniature Schnauzers. And what’s funny is, I always see a theme in families, like, we usually stick to having the Goldendoodle breed and we love the Goldendoodle breed, or we love Labs. And that's what's so special, but what was neat is it started out as me giving pet portraits to people as gifts. You know, family and family friends.

And what's so inspiring to me about that is I always like the quote - and I feel like it's been mentioned here and there - but find something that you would do for free and then find out how to make a living off of it and make a profit for it while also serving others.

It becomes more than a job, but an occupation you know God gave you. Right? That's what's just such a blessing because I know God has gifted me with creativity, and I know He gives each one of us something unique and something different that only we can carry out just through Him.

Shanxi: When people are running a business, they don't necessarily think of it as being creative. Did you ever encounter things where you were like, “This is really stretching me past my comfort zone” or maybe “I never really thought or considered that I would have to do such and such a thing in pursuit of something creative”?

I know some people tend to contrast their accounting vs. the content generation part of your business. Did that ever factor in while you were building your business about you running into areas where you might not have thought you were going to do, but you ended up doing?

Marissa: Well, when I first started Melane & Co., I was just like, “Oh well, it's an art business, period. We're not going to have a certain theme or really a tagline.”

I mean we started out with “Creating Joy,” like that was our tagline, but then we narrowed it down more to we're creating joyful and innocent watercolor print cards and custom pet portraits.

And so for me, just really defining what our mission was and what we wanted to bring into the world through the brand. That was something that I really had to think about as an artist, business owner and what I always to call Melane & Co. is a lifestyle business because it's a lifestyle to bring joy into the home. It's a lifestyle to choose joy to have in your home.

Shanxi: Did it start with friends and family, like you said, and then has it branched out to people that maybe you know became friends of friends? How far has your business extended so far?

Marissa: So yes, it would go from friends of friends or friends. I know one of my first sales was through a groomer that my two dogs went to. It was super neat and she was just so encouraging to me and just like, “Oh my goodness, this is beautiful.” And so it kind of began from there, and I knew that I wanted to start creating these keepsakes for others.

Shanxi: Are there any benefits or things that you're glad you did or learned while running your business?

Marissa: I would say how many jobs you have, and it's truly a blessing for me to be able to have so many unique jobs. But you have the social media presence, and so a huge brand may have several, or more than several, team members for social media. But you know when you're just starting out, it's just you.

Shanxi: Right.

Marissa: And then so I would be creating an email campaign, working on a custom pet portrait, working on social media, and managing the website or something like that, all in one day.

And it's just like, “Oh my goodness, I'm having all these jobs to where you would hire a whole team for each one,” but that was what is so neat about it. And it really stretches me and grows me as an entrepreneur. And someday if I do happen to have a team or something like that, I will know what their tasks look like and what is needed for the brand.

Shanxi: Did you have any business mentors along the way besides your mom? Does your mom run a business too? Is that some of the reasons why you knew that you would have to have, for example, a social media presence and have a website and all those things?

Marissa: So my mom and I run the business together. I really take on the creative side, so the social media posts, the email campaigns, the painting, that sort of thing.

And my mom has just been the biggest cheerleader. She helps with emails, she helps - you know, my parents both help with the taxes part of it and that sort of thing - but what was neat is I have always just seen themes of entrepreneurship and creativity in my life.

So when I was 5, I started showing in art galleries and was really considered then a professional artist. And you know, I've had so many interests and such along the years, but I've always seen it guiding back to art or creativity in some way.

Shanxi: For, you know, younger high school students, you said your business started during your freshman sophomore year of high school. Would you give any tips for, say, starting a business earlier? Or do you think that that's probably the earliest that someone could start reasonably, just because of the scale and the details and all the administrative things that go with the business?

Marissa: I think it depends on your resources. I know when you're younger, I believe you will need more help with it, and so just having that support system of parents, like, “OK, like this is their interest, you know. We just support them all the way, and we're just gonna see where this goes.”

And really, what I always really appreciate about my parents is they treated it and they really saw it just as such a serious pursuit of mine. They were never like, “Oh, this is just a little dream she's going to have and then she's gonna go on to the next thing, the next, and the next is…”

You know sometimes kids do, right? And yes, I've had a lot of interests throughout the years and passions. But it's always, like I said, been creativity and I would just say knowing if they're younger, they will definitely need some more support.

And as far as starting a business, I would just say - like I mentioned before - just finding something that you would do for free without pay. And finding a way to make profit out of it and giving back to others.

That's another main thing because people - when it switches, when it turns around from, “I need, I would like some money for college or whatnot” to “I want to serve others because this is my passion, and I know I can, and I know what I bring to the table because God is giving me these gifts,” that's when your whole mindset changes.

Shanxi: That is awesome. Are there any resources, like online or books, or any tips like that, that you could recommend, maybe? Sort of like an ongoing project for other homeschool students who may feel like they want to start somewhere they just don't know where?

Marissa: I would say it really depends on what you're pursuing. So there are just so many podcasts out there, I know. I listen to podcasts while I paint. They're perfect for when, you know, you are on the go and like just listening to a podcast.

I've seen business documentaries. And just even, like, googling “business documentaries” or whatnot. And even things that sometimes don't feel related to what you're pursuing, sometimes those can strike in inspiration as well.

What's interesting to see is there's just so many different passions and pursuits. And especially when you see people my age, you know, you see that they're going off to college for a certain major or they have internships. And even if our pursuits aren't necessarily related in the aspect of our niche or interests, what I always love asking people is, “What led you to this? What inspired you about this?”

And their inspiration just kind of seeps onto me as well. And it's so wonderful to hear their story. So even just hearing other stories is just so, so inspiring. So I would always encourage people to ask that as well and asking good questions, like “What have you learned through your profession?” Because you never know what lesson they can impart on you.

Especially when you are in a Christian atmosphere, you know you all have one goal of just working with the Lord and serving him. And that's what's really wonderful to you because you have so many different professions or whatnot, but you are always children of God. That's the biggest job you're going to have.

Shanxi: That's right. Yeah. What has been the feedback from some of your customers and clients that have really meant a lot to you and inspired you?

Marissa: Oh my goodness. One of the first things that comes to mind is seeing others’ reactions when giving them a pet portrait, or a card, or a print.

That's what really inspires me because when I am able to hand deliver a custom pet portrait to them, or something like that, you see their reactions, and you see, you know, you don't even need words from them. It is just so touching and seeing that joy from them just fulfills me even more as an artist.

Shanxi: Well, thank you so much, I think those were all the questions I had. Is there anything else you'd like to add, or … ?

Marissa: Just pursue your interests, whether you are a homeschool parent or you are a homeschooler yourselves. Pursue your interests.

Become interested in others’ passions around you. You never know what you can learn. And just keep seeking out, well, number one, keep seeking out God. But also seek out advice from others, whether that be through books, podcasts, documentaries and no matter what, keep pursuing your passions.

And look for key themes in your life. I know for me it's been creativity, but for other people it could be something just as wonderful and just so amazing, because I feel like everybody's interests are all unique to them and all just equally special.

And especially when those interests combine with, “I feel led to this because I know God is leading me here.” That's just wonderful.

And as parents, you have the opportunity to nurture that and to encourage your children, and especially through homeschool. Just through homeschooling. That is just one of the best ways to grow those interests, and those pursuits, and your children's passions.

Shanxi: Thanks so much for listening. We hope you are encouraged in your homeschool journey.

Please continue the conversation with us on our website,, or email us at We're also active on social media if you'd like to connect with us there. Thanks to Kevin McLeod of for providing this royalty-free song Wholesome, which is licensed under

Homeschool Hints
Homeschool Hints Podcast
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