Maker: Melissa of Family Store

Today I have the pleasure of introducing Melissa of Family Store.  I love her advice for creatives! Meet Melissa and check her out at her store, or online, or if you are close by, go hang out with her at one of her workshops!


Please introduce yourself.

Hello! My name is Melissa Carpenter. I am an artist and designer from Long Beach California.
Originally, I lived in Indianapolis in a small farm town about 30 minutes north of Indy. My family and I made our way to southern California about 15 years ago. I have also lived in NYC and Seattle.
Who are you? Where did you grow up? Where do you live? What do you make or do?
My formal training is that of a clothing designer. I studied at FIT and also at CCAD. For 18 years I worked in the fashion design industry. I designed mens’, women’s’ and kids as well as interiors. In 2014 I opened a store in Long Beach. I am lucky enough to make many things for the shop from a small capsule line of baby goods to housewares. I also teach workshops at the store.
Where can we find your creations?
You can find Family creations on our web at as well as our brick and mortar in Long Beach.

Family Store

Is there an interesting story behind the name of your business? How did the name come about?

My line and store are called Family. Because at the end of the day, that is all that matters. Whether you find this family by birth, by location, by work or by play…your family is what matters. I created a Family for artist in the store. I created a place for people to gather and share. The store is a curated assortment of goods and events that harvest curiosity and creativity.

How long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?

I have always been creating. This was my gift. And I share it whenever and however I can. I have been making things since I can remember…as early as 4.  I can clearly remember my grandmother teaching me to sew at 8.

When you’re not making things, what do you do?

I am always creating and making. I also enjoy music.

Is creativity a luxury or a necessity for you?

It is a necessity.
There is not an option for me to not create. Creativity flows through every vein. I am nothing without it.

Family Store

What obstacles have you had to overcome to lead a creative life?

My town that I grew up in was not very artsy. I suffered through a lot of criticism. However, that constant disapproval only fed my desire to find other creatives. I knew they existed! I just had to find a place to grow and really use my strengths. I quickly mapped a route to NYC. Once in the city I was exposed to so many channels of creativity and really learned how to express myself.

Did someone in your family, a friend or teacher introduce you to your creative side or have they helped you along the way?

My mother was always so supportive. Even with ridicule from her family and friends, she always believed in me and supported me. She told me every single day how talented I was, how beautiful I was…she was such an inspiration for me to keep searching to find my path.

Family Store

Where do you find inspiration?

I am very inspired visually. I love to find off the beaten path places. I love interiors and architecture. I also love textiles. People also inspire me…and music. Ok, pretty much everything inspires me!

What’s on the horizon for you and what you do?

Today is an interesting time for creatives. I am finding for new paths to explore. The technological age has set new rules into place that I don’t always understand. I am searching again for paths for my creativity.

I have the store which is new and will continue to grow. I also have the workshops. My next adventure may take me to the desert. I am hoping to do overnight workshop retreats and possibly event planning.

If money wasn’t an issue how would your life change with regards to your art?

I would travel more.

What would be your perfect day off?

I would do the same thing as when I am on…
What inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?

I would tell them to be obsessed. Obsessed by what fuels them.

I would tell them not to scream, as everyone is screaming right now.

I would tell them to find their passion…and to not be lured by the 10K of photos and stories out there…and to just feel it, own it and love it.

Who are the makers that inspire you?
I am inspired by all makers.

Family Store

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