Say hello to local entrepreneur Danielle Nott! She is the bright and beautiful creator of Monkey & Peanut, a sweet small business that I only wish was around when my little ones’ pants were drooping to the floor. Bree and I were introduced to Danielle through her good friends Jack and Marty – you know who you are 😉 and we got to continue the conversation over coffee on Main Street, and of course through the interwebs. Find out how she made the leap from dental office to creative business below!
P&H: What were you doing before establishing Monkey & Peanut?
Danielle: I was working full time as a dental office manager in Kits. I started as a dental assistant 16yrs ago, and after being with the company for so long, I slowly worked my way up to management.
P&H: What was your trigger to follow this career path?
Danielle: While being on maternity leave with my first child, Ethan, I gained perspective of what I was really doing. I was working so hard, giving all my effort and time to someone else’s business/dream. I wondered what would happen if I took those efforts and put them into my own business. And so I started searching. First it was my own dental consultant business, and although very lucrative, I wasn’t tapping into my desire to create and do something fun. My little girl Ashlyn arrived… skinny as can be… and all her pants felt down. I couldn’t find any cute little belts anywhere! And there Monkey and Peanut was born.
P&H: Where do you get your inspiration from (product, packaging, design, etc.)?
Danielle: The idea for children’s belts was simple…. Ashlyn needed one. And if she did, surely others did too! From my first prototype, I envisioned the belt rolled up and the round packaging was a must. I was also thinking eco-friendly and reusable, so making a package that was not only aesthetically pleasing, but that kids could craft with or moms could reuse was really important. After countless hours working with an amazing local design (Rokotype) we developed something we are so proud of.
P&H: What role does social media play in your business?
Danielle: Social media is a way to just get the brand out there and helps me promote what we are all about.
P&H: Do you involved your children in your work at all?
Danielle: Yes! Other then the company being named after them… I also use them as product testers, brand reps and they’ve been inspo to some of my prints. Our “DreamBird” print was inspired by my daughter Ashlyn, whose name means “dream”.
P&H: How important is it that your kids take on or play a part in the business when they’re older?
Danielle: I’d love for them to keep inspiring me! If they want to get involved more as they get older, I’m all for it.
P&H: What has been your biggest challenge in running your own business?
Danielle: Learning as I go! Working in dentistry for so long, I know it like the back of my hand and am confident in everything I do. Learning to run a business with no “handbook” is hard. I’m just learning as I go and making mistakes along the way. I have a vision with so many ideas and it’s hard to step back and take my time with it all to get it to where it needs to be.
P&H: What’s the hardest part in maintaining the work/life balance?
Danielle: Definitely being “present” in all aspects of my life. I found myself doing a workout with my phone in my hand, or baking muffins with the kids… with my phone in my hand. All the while just getting frustrated. These past few months I’ve tried to create a schedule where I just focus on what I am doing in that moment. It means utilizing naps and bed time as much as possible and prioritizing!
P&H: What does success look like to you? How will you know when you’ve achieved it?
Danielle: Success means being happy and fulfilled. It’s not about the bank account (but that’d be nice, don’t get me wrong). If I can do something that inspires me and allows me to be creative and can help take a vacation once a year and put money aside for the kids’ education, I’m happy with that!
P&H: What advice would you have wanted to know 5 or 10 years ago?
Danielle: That if you are interested in starting a business, going back to school, travelling…. anything…. do it before you have kids! I look back on my life 5 years ago (pre-kids) and think… what did I do with all my time??? I am now married, have kids 3 & 1.5, run a business and work part time as an office manager. There is no perfect time for anything…. if you want to do something, get started!
Thank you Danielle! Keep your peepers open for Monkey & Peanut at markets near and far this summer! Follow along on Instagram and Facebook! Shop online, or at Giving Gifts on Main Street, and Little Bean & Co.
All product photos by WhiteLinen Photography