When people ask what I do for a living my go to reply is, “what do I not do”. To sum up what I do in a few words is, “I am a crafter”. My Grandma Ruth hand made me a Minnie Mouse costume for Halloween when I was a toddler. She made everything from the polka dot dress to the white gloves with the hand lines. She’s what started it all.
I was born and raised in SoCal and was fortunate enough to go to a high school that had academies which helped students excel in special subjects. I attended the Academy of Creative Technology (ACT). It was a three-year program where I learned skills such as graphic design, photography, videography, various computer editing programs, screen-printing and other artistic skills.
After high school and equipped with the knowledge from my ACT and the creative skills my grandmother taught me, I attended the Art Institute of California in Santa Monica. After obtaining my degree I was working as a video editor when all of a sudden the economy crashed and I was without a job.
I gathered all my belongings and moved back home with my parents. I took a job at the local mall doing glamor shots style photography and editing. I felt lost and frustrated with where I was at. I felt as if I could do better.
I did some traveling and was constantly on the lookout for something better. One year my family wanted to go to Disneyland together. My grandma Ruth taught me how to sew when I was young so I decided to make a few Minnie Mouse skirts for a few of us ladies to wear inside the parks.
After so many people noticed them, I was told I should try and sell them. I felt it couldn’t hurt as I wasn’t paid much at my current job so opened an Etsy shop to sell them. I exclusively sold skirts in cute Disney and Star Wars fabrics.
One day, I sold my first skirt to a girl in Australia. Skirt orders came in every once and a while but were kind of rare. Then one day, orders came flooding in. It took me a moment to realize everyone was buying costumes for Halloween. This came to be known as “skirt season”.
It was nice to have this as a means of extra cash but I still wanted to be a successful photographer. I left my job at the mall and worked as a graphic designer for a local studio doing graphics and retouching senior portraits.
I signed up on a dating website, eHarmony to see what was out there. I am not your typical club/party girl. I was a catholic, Disney nerd who had Tourette’s Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that got anxiety attacks frequently. Who would love that?
You know that saying, “it takes crazy to know crazy”? Well, I met a guy named Nick on there and on our first day I found out he had Tourette’s, O.C.D. and high anxiety as well. Together, we found comfort in each other and of course love blossomed from there.
He was just as creative as I was. Any time I hit a wall on how to do something, he’d figure it out and vice versa. He would encourage me to make something but do it better than anyone else. He’s kind of my Roy Disney. We’d spend our weekends building and crafting and having fun at Disneyland.
Nick came from a background working in media and radio promotions but currently worked in IT. He constantly helped me promote my business and teach me the ways of promotion and business. During skirt seasons he helped me roll out fabric, prep and pack skirts and even built me a sewing desk from scrap wood.
I jumped from job to job trying to find footing in my pursuit to be my own boss as a photographer. I ended up getting a job that was the least creative thing I could do. I worked at a credit-reporting agency.
I am grateful I found a job that paid the bills and worked with such great people there but I felt a lot of my time and creative talent was going to waste.
One day, after a long week of work at the credit-reporting agency I came home to find Nick had made me some shirts to wear to Disneyland. They were the Star Wars Han and Leia “I love you...I know” shirts.He designed a lot of what you see in my store.
We went to Disneyland that July night after work and wore them. Everyone noticed them and asked were we got them. It was at that time, Nick and I saw a bigger prize than photography.
A month or so later, my Grandma Ruth passed. She taught me everything and believed in my dreams as much as I did. She always encouraged me to keep working on my dreams. She’d always ask how my photography business was going and tell me to keep saving my money.
I’ve lost a lot of things in my life. I’ve lost jobs due to the economy. I’ve lost friends from drama but this was the hardest loss I’ve ever dealt with.
At this point I was more determined than ever to succeed. I expanded my Etsy shop to doing more than just skirts and sewing items. I started to do heat pressed shirts and had fully refocused the business from photography “Mindy Takes Photos” to crafting, calling it “Mindy Creates”.
We were making shirts and sewing non-stop. Every opportunity I had to make something better than before I took it. I moved from a cheap heat press to silk screening after Nick had built me a silk screen stand completely out of wood and scrap parts.
A few months later, at a Disneyland trip Nick and I were in front of the Disney castle where we took our first photo together. He told me how much he loved me and dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him.
As we were engaged, all of that “extra money” we got from Etsy was devoted to paying for our wedding.
We had over 150+ items in my shop and Nick was 100% supportive of my business goals.
After my honeymoon I decided I wanted to get off my medications for my Tourette’s, OCD and anxiety. I used skirt season as a distraction to wean myself off my meds. I dealt with dizzy spells, tunnel vision, and slight withdrawals. It was the hardest thing I had ever done, and as always Nick was there to cook meals, clean the house, and do much more for me than I could imagine. His goal was to make sure I was doing okay so I could focus on sewing to distract myself.
As of December 2015 we had now lived in our new house for few months and my shop was helping pay the bills. It was ALMOST enough to live off of. We had a plan for me to be self employed by 2018. I decided I wanted to lose weight and be healthy. By February 2016, I lost 25 lbs. and found out our family was getting bigger. We were pregnant and Nick and I were so happy.
My shop was growing bigger by the day, I was working 40 hours in a credit-reporting job, pregnant and like always, my husband was my rock. We looked at my stats and collectively decided to take a leap. My husband, Nick believed in my dream so much I put in my two weeks at my credit-reporting agency job to be full time by mid-March of 2016.
That April we announced to everyone we were due in November and I was full time being my own boss.
I had reached my goal and was happy with my life. I had a family that was growing, I was my own boss doing what my grandma had taught me to do, strong support from my husband...life was great.
If my own history has taught me anything, it’s life only gives you what you can handle so life must think I am a really strong person. One month later in May, after announcing we were expecting we were diagnosed with Gastroschisis. It’s a birth defect that affects 0.05% babies born every year.
Nick, again, was by my side to hold me as I cried and being pregnant for the first time I cried a lot. We had so many doctor appointments I lost count but we were there 3 times a week every week and never missed one appointment. Only if hospitals had frequent flier miles, I’d be set for life.
On October 26, 2016 our daughter Alexandra Kathleen Espinoza was born at 37 weeks. She was put into the NICU for 3 weeks till we were able to bring her home on November 14th.
Nick took FMLA from his job where he works in IT. He and I visited Alexandra every day in the hospital. We read to her, talked to her and sat there looking at the most beautiful thing we had created.
During and after the NICU stay Nick took over all the chores as I recovered and went back to work in my studio. He fed our daughter, did diaper duty, cleaned the house and cooked all the meals.
I quickly learned how amazing and supportive my clients are because in no time my shop was back in full swing. Eventually, Nick had to go back to work and I began to learn to juggle my business and a baby at the same time.
In December 2018 Savannah Ruth Espinoza was born and our family was complete.
I am very blessed to have such happy girls, be able to work from home and take care of them, have a supportive husband and such loyal customers.
Nick once told me that what I do is not just making people skirts and shirts while they give me money.
Rather, people are believing in my dream by ordering from me and my business. In exchange, I provide them with a product that makes them happy. So, every product The Royal Threads, makes and mails out, is made to make someone happy and the thought of that makes me happy.
April 2019 marked the 7-year point where it all began with a polka dot skirt.
I hope to fill this page with helpful information for parents at the Disney parks, DIY crafts, and other Disney fun articles!
If you have any suggestions for a topic, please feel free to message me!