We had the good fortune of connecting with Melisa Siebert and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melisa, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I was born in Harlingen Texas and am the oldest of 3 children. My family moved to Houston when I was 2 years old for better jobs and opportunities. My dad was a Marine reservist and was a painter by trade. My mom was a telephone rep for Southwestern Bell. My mom was the driving force of YOU can do better than this. I was pushed throughout school to make good grades so I could go to college. Unfortunately, there was little to no money for that. I became a statistic of a young, 21 year old with a kid who got married because it was the right thing to do. I was barely educated with a junior college background. My marriage failed, but my drive and my daughter forced me to want to do more. I became employed a couple of years later by Southwestern Bell just like my mom. Saved, bought my first home by the time I was 24, met me now husband of 22 years. Early on on our relationship I expressed my desire to run my own business. When we had our son it became more prevalent that we needed to do something fast. The business we were in and worked for was not going to last forever. We researched many businesses and franchises and nothing stood out more than Once Upon A Child because of our kids. Kid number 3 came in 2003 and 3 years later we started the 2nd franchise in the Houston market. It was a difficult beginning. We struggled to make ends meet. It put strain on our marriage and our family. After a year and a half I was diagnosed with a rare cancer, multiple myeloma. After all I had been through I asked why me and was ready to give up on the business. My husband convinced me to stay in it. I had invested so much time, blood, sweat and tears in this and he just felt it was going to pay off. I worked this business through chemo a stem cell transplant and almost lost it in 2009. When I returned after my stem cell transplant 3 months early, against doctors orders. I knew I had to do what I had to do to turn things around. My family was dependent on me to not lose our home and everything we worked for because of a dream I had and failed. I worked long hours, replaced staff that had bad attitudes and weren’t on board with my vision for my business. We had the most successful year we had ever had that year and I earned my first pay check after 3 years in business. My mom was always a sink or swim kind of person. She definitely let me sink many times. This wasn’t a bad thing, it made me who I am today. It gave me what I needed to be a successful business owner. It gave me what I needed to be more understanding of others and their struggles. It gave me what I needed to be a better person. Despite all my struggles through business ownership. I feel the best and most important part of what I do everyday is the impact it has on the community. Being able to offer a service that they can receive cash for their kids items. They can shop for items their kids need and are super affordable. I also feel blessed to be able to meet people, my staff that sometimes encounter similar struggles that I faced and can help them by being a more understanding boss when they need it. All in all, I think it is multiple situations not just one that makes a person. Every one of them good or bad you can’t take one without the other. Each one of those situations made me who I am today. Over all I feel fortunate to be where I am at today.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
What sets Once Upon A Child apart from any other resale brand is that we pay cash NOT consignment for kids stuff. We do not require an appointment to sell so it is when it is convenient for the customer. I am proud of having overcome so many challenges. The biggest one is COVID shut down and hiring and replacing a lot of lost staff. After Covid, like many other businesses it has been extremely difficult to find good people. Most recently this year I lost a store manager of 3 years. I decided to step back in as manager of one of my locations, and it has made a huge difference. We are now fully staffed for the first time in 2 years and have a happy staff at that. I have spent more time listening to staff and their needs and in turn I feel it has paid off with the customers as well. I see a better atmosphere for everyone that is in it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend were visiting we would visit the Woodlands waterway area. There is so much to do. There are tons of great places to eat and hang out. Cynthia Woods Mitchell pavilion for a concert, Gooses Acre for some fish and chips or Grimaldis for pizza are some of my personal favorites.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mom was a huge impact in my life and driving me to do more. My husband deserves a huge shout out for always being there no matter what. He has stuck with me through thick and thin and always made me strive to be a better person and push me beyond what I thought were my limits.
Facebook: Once Upon A Child The Woodlands