Meet Smarty Mom, Maitland Danner of the Ballantyne/Marvin Creek area. Maitland is married to husband, Chad, and is a stay-at-home “mompreneur” to two boys, Tyler (4), and Hayes (2). After a year of living large as a stay-at-home mom, Maitland had the itch to do something with her creative side. And Danner Creations was born and is it ever Smarty!
Tell us what inspired you to start Danner Creations.
Prior to having children, I worked in Sales as a Government/Corporate Rep for Nextel. After having my first son, I came to the decision that I would walk away from my corporate life and become a stay at home mom. After a couple of years of being at home, although loving the opportunity to be with my sons full time, I needed a creative outlet and founded Danner Creations. I started by creating personalized welcome bags for weddings and would customize them to the colors and theme chosen by the bride and the groom. After doing this for several couples, I realized that the market was there, so I started also expanding my services to include personalized favor bags, water bottles and gift packages for bridesmaids and groomsmen. My biggest passion, however, is creating customized gift baskets for any individual for any reason…birthday, holiday, wedding, new baby, appreciation, corporate raffles, etc. and over the past two years, I have also expanded my services to include personalized note cards, birth announcements, christmas cards, invitations for any occasion along with specialty bags and gift packages.
How do we get in touch with you to learn more about Danner Creations?
Although I would love nothing more than to give you a nifty website address and beautiful home page, in the midst of beginning to outline one, my youngest son arrived and the rest is history. My time was no longer “my” time or even time at all. I find that any free moments that I have now- I use completing my work. Once they go to school (college perhaps?), I will hopefully have something more in line with the modern world.
For now, I can be reached by phone 704-361-3074 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do you find the balance between work and family?
In my situation, finding a balance, in my opinion isn’t possible. Since my business can’t yet lend itself to full time (meaning I am without kids for more time than a trip to the bathroom),I still have to dedicate my time first to the boys and then any and every opportunity I have to myself beyond that, I find myself using this creative outlet to keep connected in an adult world, while doing something I truly enjoy.
Favorite piece of baby/childrens gear?
My potty in the car- I know it sounds crazy, but it has saved us many times and I can’t imagine going on any trip alone with my kids without it….Not to mention it carries many funny stories that would have to be addressed in an entirely different interview.
BUT, if I had to choose something more cool, I would have to say at this stage- an outdoor play set. We got ours at Creative Playthings and have been very pleased.
Favorite children’s boutique?
I am a simple girl when it comes to this- when you have boys- you stay with Old Navy, Target, Children’s Place and Gap. Nothing else is worth the money when they fling food at each other and roll around in the dirt. Lucky for me, I prefer this classic look anyway and there isn’t anything much cuter than a little boy in a baseball hat.
I tend to stay around my neighborhood for this, b/c we have so much to do right here- but, my kids love the playground at Sharon Baptist on Sharon Road and also Carmel Road Park
Favorite activity with kids?
This sounds crazy, but I love having them watch when I cook. (Although, I must emphasize to do this while they are not starving and eagerly awaiting a plate of food, and you are in place where you aren’t just trying to throw something together for a quick dinner). I have always loved to cook and when they are in a great mood- they have so much fun watching even the simplest of meals come to life. Cookies, Pancakes and Pizzas are their favorites. Since they are boys- I do feel it necessary to honor their daddy and say that watching them play Soccer or T-Ball outside on a nice day is right up there as well.
What is your favorite kid-friendly restaurant?
Nothing But Noodles…at Stonecrest…..known to my kids as “The Noodle Place”. I wish I could say PF Changs (my favorite)…but each time we seem to make it there- the kids seem to break into chopstick wars.
What is your favorite date-night spot?
Date night? Does that exist after kids? Hmmmm….I guess that I would have to say that if we do get the chance to get away- I am happy to go anywhere “NON” kid-friendly to eat a meal that is warmer than room temperature, at a place that is quiet and just hope no one brought their kids sitting next to me having chopstick wars. But I must admit, sitting at home with a good bottle of wine isn’t all bad either.
Best birthday party you’ve attended?
It was at the Discovery Place. All of the kids met and rode the train together to get there, which alone was half of the fun. The Discovery Place was a great place to have a little boy birthday party because they got to touch real bugs and snakes (yuck!), and by the end, my son said it was the best party he had ever been to- even more fun than his own party a month earlier….I guess that answered that question for me! Next year, if we get another invite- we will save our money and just go to someone else’s:-)
Best place to get a deal on clothes?
Old Navy- they have great sales
Minivan or SUV?
I drive an SUV and am very happy with it….However, I truly wanted a minivan and secretly still do.
What is your favorite weekend escape?
Definitely anywhere out of town with my husband and old friends…Charleston, Boone/Blowing Rock, the beach…I could think of so many.
Best thing about raising a family in Charlotte?
Everything- I love so much about this area. We live in a very family-friendly neighborhood, which my children adore and at the same time- there are great shops, great restaurants, lots of our family around and always something to do.
I could not live without my…
Closest girlfriends…At this point in my life, I truly depend on them daily and lean on them through the ups and downs of parenthood. I especially love the really close ones who can tell you when you are losing your mind!
I wish someone had told me sooner about…
Not to stress out about potty training. Although, I still have one more to go- I think as soon as they are ready- your instincts tell you and you go with it then- not a moment sooner, regardless of what you think you are doing wrong or what others tell you. My experience was a little later than some- but I have to admit- when that moment did arrive- I knew it, my husband knew it, my son knew it, and it was smooth sailing. Why give yourself an unnecessary headache? Your Doctor is right- they won’t go to college in a diaper.
Best kept secret in Charlotte?
Hmmm…I would have to go with Danner Creations? That really cool business that can make you fabulous customized gifts and much more! Sssshhhhh…..Well, I guess the cat is out of the bag now!
Your Smarty tip for Charlotte moms?
Start with and enforce a nap from a very early point. The earlier and more consistent you are- the longer that beautiful thing will last! I have done the same thing with both of my boys and I truly believe it was b/c I stuck to my guns from day one. To this day- even my 4 year old (who doesn’t fall asleep anymore), will ask to go have some “quiet time” to himself and read books…It is the only time I feel like I can actually sit down, think and re-charge for “Round 2″.
Thanks, Maitland! Super Smarty answers:-) Do you have a Smarty Mom or Dad you’d like to nominate? We’d love to meet them. Email us here and we’ll get in touch. Have a fabulous weekend!