Balancing Creativity and Business: Interview with Miss Mustard Seed, Writer, Designer, and Stylist.


Miss Mustard Seed, aka Marian Parsons, held a special place in life during my teenage years. We painted murals together, baked desserts, volunteered with middle schoolers (all to the soundtrack of musicals on the cd player!) - she was my mentor and friend who welcomed me into her life and creativity. A lot of what I do today with mentoring middle school girls is inspired by her! Although we moved to different parts of the country years ago, I have loved following the flourishing creative business she has built with Miss Mustard Seed. Enjoy reading about her perspective on entrepreneurial creativity below!

Miss Mustard Seed, aka Marian Parsons:

What do you do or make?

Marian Parsons, (Miss Mustard Seed, MMS): I do a lot of things! I am a blogger, designer (products, textiles, and a paint line), artist, and freelance writer, stylist, & photographer.

Miss Mustard Seed started out creating pieces of hand-painted furniture.

Miss Mustard Seed started out creating pieces of hand-painted furniture.

How do you define success for yourself?

MMS: In a business sense, I do look at profitability as well as how creatively fulfilling an endeavor is, but I also think simply trying something can be a success. Even if it doesn’t work out, you can learn and grow from the experience. I think my failures have built into me just as much as my successes. 

What are two ways you characterize yourself that might seem contradictory? How do these make you who you are? 

MMS: I am a free spirit and a nerd. I don’t like being boxed in and I want lots of freedom to be creative, but I also want to have my books in order and I love a good profit and loss report!  I think it’s those two sides that have helped me be successful. It’s not all about creativity and it’s not all about business. It’s a balance of both. 

Marian's current studio.

Marian's current studio.

What are three influences from your childhood on what you find beautiful today?

  1. Definitely growing up in Germany. I’m attracted to just about all things from that region – décor, food, color palettes, architecture, etc. 

  2. My Oma was very sentimental about things and loved collecting. I think she gave me an appreciation for family heirlooms. 

  3. Music was a big part of my family. Everyone played multiple instruments and we sat around and sang often. We also listened to music a lot. So, music is an integral part of my days. I listen to it when I’m cleaning, painting, exercising. It’s a good motivator and it helps me focus. 

How do you keep joy in what you do?

MMS: I do a lot of different things, so I don’t get burned out on one thing. If I painted furniture every day, it would get very tiresome. So, I mix it up and try to chase what is feeding my inspiration on that particular day. Sometimes I have to pin myself down and do the work whether I want to or not, but I know I can shift gears once that project is done. 

In 2017, Marian started a series of oils paintings.

In 2017, Marian started a series of oils paintings.

What is some of the best advice you received? 

MMS: Early in my business, I had a very business-savvy mentor who told me I didn’t need to apologize or feel bad for making money. It was a simple piece of advice, but what I needed to start thinking like an entrepreneur. I was having a hard time putting ads on my blog and charging a worthwhile amount for my services. Would monetizing my blog or raising my rates mean that I was selling out? The fact was, this was a business and it needed to be profitable for me. She really helped shape me into the entrepreneur I am today.    

Marian's (aka Miss Mustard Seed) Websites/ Social Media:

Marian's Miss Mustard Seed Website

Marian on Instagram and Twitter

Marian's Miss Mustard Seed's Shop for books, chalk paint, and products

Dimensional Creatives is a series of interviews with a selection of the creatives who bring me perspective, inspire, and motivate me.

Laura Dreyer

Every person has aspects of their work, personality, or interests that seem contradictory, but the way these traits coexist in the same human makes them multi-faceted and unique! Sharing these lets us all be a little more ourselves, which makes the world magical. Read more Dimensional Creatives Interviews here >

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