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it's Gemma from Meli Melon

Monday, 30 November 2009 by Irene Hoofs

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I (=brittni) recently had the pleasure of interviewing Gemma Antelo, who is the proud mother of two children and the owner and creator behind Meli Melon, a handmade children’s clothing line. Gemma currently lives and works in a beautiful Barcelona home, all the while balancing life as a mom and a creator and artist. Hope you enjoy the tour…

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In what kind of home do you live and with whom?  

I live with my hubby and my two little princesses in an old Mediterranean style house in the mountains surrounding Barcelona.  We moved here two years ago from a small flat downtown because we needed to take a break from the city madness, and actually we still haven't finished the renovation of our home.

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How has being a mom influenced or guided you as a small business owner and maker?

In everything! Before moving to this house, I was working as a freelance graphic designer.  I was very stressed and didn't have the time my family deserved, so I decided to become a stay-at-home mum. But I was a little bored, so I begin sewing my children’s clothes and this is how I eventually ended up opening my Etsy shop.

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On average, about how much time per week are you able to put into creating for Meli Melon?

Maybe the average time is around 20 hours per week, but if I'm very busy, I can work up to 35 hours or more. I start working at 9:30 am and at 11:30, I take a half an hour break  and drink something on my terrace if it's sunny.  Then I keep working until lunch time and then spend the time before the children are out of school in promoting, taking photos and other "not creating" working tasks. On Fridays, I go to the flea market and to my favorite supplies shops, so it's my favorite weekday.

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What has been the best advice you have received as a small business owner?  And what advice can you share/give to moms, or anyone for that matter, on getting a business started?

Once someone asked Picasso the secret of being successful, and he answered that the inspiration always has to find you working... As a stay-at-home mom, my daughters come first, so I decided to hang a big timetable and clock in my sewing room wall to be the most productive I can while they are at school. Also, my iBook is my best friend, so I make most of my promotion efforts when I'm in bed at late night.

Being organized has been the key to having fun while working and helps me keep calm when I'm very busy.  And if the inspiration finds me cooking dinner, it will have to wait until next morning.

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If you had to name one item in your home as a favorite, what would it be? Where did you find it and what drew you to it initially?

I really love my almost one hundred years old sewing machine, and it's still working!

It once belonged to my great grandmother and whenever I look at it, I am always reminded of my childhood and my mother, who left us a few years ago.

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As you mentioned earlier, you’ve made some changes to your home recently. What changes or additions have you made to the house so far? What parts have you decided to keep as original? 

When we bought the house, it was really ugly, so we have changed almost everything. We still haven't finished the terrace and the garden, but hope will be able to do it in the  spring. The only thing we decided to keep as original was the kitchen, that has a really country and warm look. There is an antique fuel wood cooking kitchen that my husband  restored and we often use it on cold winters.

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Antique fuel wood? What a unique piece to have in your kitchen. Who is the cook of your family? And what is your favorite meal to make?

I'm usually the "home maid", but my daughters really enjoy helping me make great cakes and muffins, and on Sundays, my husband cooks "paella" for us and sometimes a few friends. I love guests!

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There are bright paintings and beautiful sculptures scattered throughout your home. What do you look for when buying new art?

I studied Fine Arts, so I have lots of artist friends that help me decorating my home. I love painting too, so I have some of my own creations hanging on the walls. And one of my favorite pieces is a sculpture my sister made on hard stone that is titled

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After looking through all the pictures of your home, I certainly have a favorite: the living/dining area. But what is your favorite room of your house and why?

The playing room is where all the family spends the most funny time of day.  We decorate it thinking about creating a comfortable place to be together while playing, watching a movie or listening to music. I also spend a lot of time painting a lot of flowers and butterflies on the wall, and my children love it. So, this room is always sunny, even when it's raining outside.

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And my final question: Creating that mural in the playroom is a great way to inspire your children. As a creative woman and mother, how are you able to encourage creativity in your children?

I love to make big collective paintings with all the family together! I also try to spend a lot of time making crafts and playing with the toy kitchen with my girls. I think too that books are the best way to develop their creativity and actually I'm currently reading to them "The Small Prince", my favorite book.

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..Visit Meli Melon on etsy..

Thanks Brittni and Gemma for this lovely interview!

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