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Q: How do you make a craft kit dance?

A: You put a little boogie in it!

—Meghan McCloskey, Founder + Creative Director

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Born to Party

My grandmother says I used to toddle around in my diaper asking when the party would start. (That’s her on the right, circa 1989. I’m the one sitting next to her.) “Parties” were big in our family. Even if we weren’t having a real party with guests and everything, my grandmother called the 5 o’clock hour a party because there was always music and laughing and board games and general togetherness (and for the adults, “happies”—the extraordinary nickname she gives her cocktails).

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Hearts and Crafts

As a kid, Valentine’s Day was my favorite holiday. Each year I awoke to a trail of paper hearts leading me from my room to an over-the-top breakfast in the kitchen: strawberry waffles; hot chocolate piled high with whipped cream and sprinkles; and festive streamers and heart-shaped confetti surrounding pink and red place settings. My incredible mom threw this fun little party for my sisters and me every February 14, rising at dawn or staying up too late the night before to set it all up. Throughout the day, the house was a mess, but she didn't clean—she helped us craft sparkly cards or necklaces or something requiring the hot glue gun. It was magical.

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Mom Genes

Apparently my mom’s craftiness is genetic. So is her celebrate-everything-ness. I have that gene that keeps me up all night hanging streamers and blowing up balloons and baking treats to surprise my kids with on their first day of school. No matter how hard I try, no matter how tired I am, I can’t not do it.

So I celebrate everything, just like my mom did. Every silly holiday, every birthday, every first something, every last something. And I make family togetherness a priority, just like my grandmother did. (The kids even call their juice boxes “happies” when it’s 5 o’clock. “Happies” is just too fun not to say.)

But get this: through my first six years of motherhood, I also worked full-time as a professional copywriter at Nike World Headquarters. The only time I had to celebrate and play with my kids was in the fringe hours of the day. I knew how hard it was for working moms to carve out intentional, screen-free family time, let alone plan for the holidays . . .

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Side-Hustlin’

Just before my third baby turned one, I had coffee with a friend I hadn't seen in years. She was pregnant with her second child and wanted advice on balancing a career with being a mom. It sparked an inspiring and powerful conversation about working moms—and all moms—and just how awesome they are.

Then we got to talking about this borderline obsessive thing I have with the holidays—the table decorations, the kids' crafts and games, the festive snacks. My friend said I needed to box up my holiday supplies and sell them at our company's farmers' markets.

She wasn't the first person to tell me this. Or the second. Or the third.

Before the next holiday, I sent an email to a bunch of coworkers to see if they'd be interested in something like this. I sold 25 boxes immediately.

In the first few months of running my side-hustle (which I’d hastily named Meghan’s Craft Kits), my goal was to help kids experience the same holiday magic I did as a child, while giving their hard-working moms and dads the break they deserved.

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An Urge to Give

I’d always felt a strong urge to help others, to give back the community. After my first baby was born, I’d looked into getting a teaching degree to help kids in the classroom, then I started sponsoring a child in the Middle East and donating to other causes. Selfishly, donating money didn't mean much to me because I wasn't doing anything—I was sitting at a desk all day in my comfortable corporate job.

Then I heard a podcast that told the Toms story and was inspired to grow my little side-hustle for the sheer purpose of being able to give. It hit me: the boxes I sold could fund boxes for children in need.

I contacted With Love, a nearby foster care resource center, and they were thrilled to start accepting boxes. I rallied my friends and family to help me put them together.

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From Pastime to Passion

In August 2018, I quit my full-time job at Nike to focus on my business, which had become an all-consuming passion. I renamed the brand Craft + Boogie.

Why “boogie”? Because it captures the essence of celebrating and partying, but in a childlike way. (When my son mistook the word for “booger” and thought it was the funniest thing in the world, I knew I’d hit the mark!)

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Employee #1

Three months after I dove head-first into Craft + Boogie, I hired my first employee, Molly. Finally, I felt I had it all: a job I absolutely loved and the ability to pick my kids up from school every day. Freedom. Passion. Purpose. It was better than I could have ever imagined.

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Humanity Over Profits

In 2018, with the help of Molly and many, many volunteers, we were able to bring arts and crafts to 750 children and families in need. We formed new partnerships with more foster care resources, children’s hospitals, low-income elementary schools, and other non-profits that provide emergency assistance or education in Oregon. Volunteers came from all over Portland to put these together—Girl Scout troops, church organizations, three CPA firms, students and teachers, and groups of friends who wanted to spend their girls’ nights out doing something good for the community. They all came to my garage.

In 2019, we’ll be hosting volunteers from Nike and other companies.

Please email outreach@craftandboogie.com if you’re interested in volunteering or know of an organization that would benefit from receiving our kits!

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Stronger Bonds, Higher Self-Esteem

This is why Craft + Boogie persists. As a mom, I know arts and crafts not only create lasting memories and strengthen bonds between parents and children, but also enable healthy self-expression and boost self-esteem.

With my insights, I’ve now created dozens of hand-made craft kits inspired by activities and traditions my kids enjoy. They include all the materials you need for a variety of themed crafts, simple decorations, educational games, recipes, and more.

I hope you have as much fun with them as I do with my kids, and as my mother did with hers.

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I just told you so much about myself—now it’s your turn! Are you a mom who’s looking for ways to connect more deeply with your children? Do you love to celebrate holidays but hate all the prep work? Are you wanting to give back to your community somehow? As a parent, what’s the hardest part about your day? I read every message, and I’d love to hear from you!