Time for another round of Main Street Moms on the Move! We have three more inspiring women to introduce to you today. These women are movers and shakers right here in the Triad and are making a difference in their lives and the lives of others.
We hope you enjoy reading more about Sydney, Melanie, and Kim today. If you know a mom who is doing amazing things, email Rachel@triadmomsonmain.com and she may be chosen as our next Mom on the Move! Enjoy ..
When it comes to children’s furniture, who better to design it than a mom? Local mom and furniture designer Sydney Cavanaugh has built her career on creating beautiful furniture that is as functional as it is stylish. A furniture designer by trade, Sydney was frustrated by the lack of options when she set out to furnish nurseries for her own children, Cooper (four) and Cole (18 months). “As a mom I was frustrated, but as a furniture designer I was inspired—inspired to create furnishings that are both functional and beautiful.”
Sydney embraced the challenge and set out to make furniture designed from a parent’s perspective. She created stunning cribs and coordinating pieces designed with flexibility, storage, and durability in mind. Before long her designs were being sold at Target, Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby and specialty stores across the country. As a mom, Sydney has the perfect research and development lab right at home. She takes her real-life experiences—raising her sons with husband John—and puts them into practice each time she sits down to design solutions that help parents do things more efficiently. For example, she found herself hiding the changing station in her own nursery so it wouldn’t be a focal point of the room, and she has since designed furnishings to disguise that space.
Today, in addition to launching her namesake ‘Sydney Cavanaugh’ brand with manufacturer Creations Baby, she’s working on nursery pieces that are attractive enough they can be used forever—not just in a child’s room, but in any part of the house. Her vision is to develop furniture that is designed to grow with children and adapt to their changing needs. “I want to make pieces that are functional, yet stylish enough that when you convert a crib, it doesn’t look like a converted crib.”
“Passionate” is the perfect word that describes Melanie about every aspect of her life, which includes owning her own hair salon, spending time with her family, as well as taking on the personal challenge to lose weight and eat healthy.
Melanie’s passion for styling hair came as the result of growing up playing in her grandmother’s home salon, as did the dream of owning her own salon. In September 2004, her dream was realized and Angell Hair Salon was born. The passion Melanie has for styling hair is translated to her passion for people. Believing that hair frames the true beauty of the individual, Melanie strives to really get to know each person to give the right style that best suits them. Keeping up with the latest style trends and techniques, and growing in her skill is what fuels Melanie’s business but it is her love for her clientele that keeps them coming back.
Married for 11 years, Melanie and her husband, Myron, have three daughters; Megan, 16; Morgan, 10; and McKenzie, 6. Whether taking weekend trips together, a family movie night, or an uneventful night at home watching TV, time with her family is one thing Melanie is most passionate about. Without the support of her husband, Myron, she is the first to admit she could not do it all. “Myron is my rock. He is the first person I call when something breaks or doesn’t go right in the shop. Through the many ups and downs in my business, he has always believed in me and tells me we are in this together!”
Raising a family and running a business doesn’t leave much time for one’s self; however, this past February, Melanie, along with her sister, Carla, made a serious commitment. They decided they were going to be in line at 4:00am, hoping to get chosen for the Triad Nation Transformation sponsored by WXII and the YMCA. Both Melanie and her sister were chosen contestants, and though it hasn’t always been easy, Melanie tackled this with the same passion she has in every aspect of her life. Working out at 5:30am every morning, rushing home to get ready for work, getting the girls to school every morning, planning, shopping, and cooking healthy meals has not been easy but is paying off for her. Down 3 dress sizes and still going, Melanie is passionate about her new life style and is incorporating it in every aspect of her life. Everyone who knows this lady believes in her and is passionate about all her success!
Kim is known as the “iCan Lady” and for good reason. She designed a creative solution to a personal challenge that helped not just her daughter, but many families in the community and beyond. After years of uncertainty about her daughter’s behaviors, in 2006 she learned that Erica had Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of high functioning autism. Finally having a diagnosis she searched for local resources and guidance. However, surprisingly there was no place to go. She and many others were left to “figure it out” alone. Also, now with the diagnosis, people were focusing on what Erica could not do, rather than what she could do. Kim was frustrated as she knew how bright, creative, and smart her daughter was. She did not want to put limits on Erica’s abilities and opportunities. Erica was not disabled, she just had difficulty with social skills.
Recognizing the gap for services in the community, Kim designed a solution: The iCan House, a resource center for those with social skill difficulties. By incorporating her consulting skills, healthcare background, inimitable capacity to give back, she designed and founded the iCan House.
At iCan House, no diagnosis is required to participate. Using a unique social skills curriculum written by Program Director Allie Wilmot, they teach social and life skills to children and adults, making abstract concepts concrete and meaningful. With positive experiences in the club, self-esteem is enhanced. As trust grows, so does the desire to be social. Members experience a sense of belonging, and thus lives are transformed. When opening in September 2008 only 12 children attended iCan House. Now after only three years, more than 120 families travel from 13 counties in NC and VA to participate in the programs at iCan House.
Erica is thriving as a freshman at Atkins High School and often speaks publicly with her mom.. When you talk with Kim you realize that no matter what is going on, there is always hope, which leads to action. With this approach she’s raising Erica and helping many other parents remember that “It’s about what you CAN do.” The iCan House is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located in the West End of Winston Salem. To learn more, visit www.icanhouse.org or watch this short documentary here.