Welcome to another Mom Around Town Feature! We have an interview with Melissa Schwartz and Kathy Ruhnke from the blog, Two Moms, a little Time and a Keyboard! This is a fun, local blog with plenty of resources for moms! The blog was established in 2011 and focuses on Chicago’s North Suburbs.
Erika: What services does your business provide?
Melissa and Kathy: We introduce our readers to unique and interesting products and activities that we discover with an emphasis on small, local businesses. We also discuss easy recipe solutions and simple crafts. As parents, we like to share some of the interesting things we encounter while raising our children. However, we are not just defined by motherhood, so we also discuss ways that we are growing ourselves.
Erika: How does your business benefit the families in the Chicago area?
Melissa and Kathy: We try to provide real life glimpses of local businesses and activities so families can get an inside view and a feel for what fits with their families. We also try to spread the word about businesses that they may not know about or did not know were appropriate for families. Parents also need time away, so we like to introduce them to things they can do sans the children.
Erika: How did you get the idea to start your business?
Melissa and Kathy: We both enjoy trying local businesses and interesting products, so it seemed a natural progression to discuss them on the blog.
Erika: What did you do before you started your business?
Melissa: I worked at National Louis University as an Admissions Coordinator. I helped students with the admissions process and also worked as a backup for other positions in Admissions. I have spent most of my career in Higher Education and wanted a change. So, I left Higher Ed. Besides this blog, I am also helping out as office staff at a local dental office. I am learning a lot at both my blogging and dental office jobs which is fun!
Kathy: I worked for about 10 years as the Chicago-based reporter for a national trade magazine that covered the TV commercial production industry. I mostly interviewed directors and ad agency executives; a highlight was being on set watching the production of a spot directed by Joe Sedelmaier (best known for doing Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” spot). I then left and got a masters degree in teaching special education; I worked for several years teaching 8th graders before I had my daughter.
Erika: Can you share one memorable story from an experience you had related to your business?
Melissa: For me, the most memorable experience is our first visit to PrimaTea in Wheeling. We were just blown away by Nina and all of her knowledge about tea, essential oils, gems and much more. Her tea class was amazing and I came home with a lot of knowledge that was easy to employ.
Kathy: I think our visit to the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie was one that left the biggest impact on me. Walking through the exhibition, it’s impossible not to be affected by the testimonies, artifacts and images you encounter. It was a haunting, moving experience.
Erika: Do you have children yourself?
Melissa: Yes, I have one daughter and two fur babies.
Kathy: Yes, one daughter, two greyhounds and a cat.
Erika: Feel free to tell us about them.
Melissa: My daughter is eight years old and is quite the restless soul like myself. She loves to experience new things and broaden her horizons. She also has a big heart and likes to help make the world a better place. My oldest fur baby is a sweet 10-year-old Shetland Sheepdog who loves to sleep under the door of the dishwasher (true story). My youngest fur baby is a 5-year-old Australian Shepherd whom we adopted from a rescue. While she can be a little possessive, she really is a sweetheart.
Kathy: My daughter is about to turn eight and – it’s worth noting – she met Melissa’s daughter when they were both about 6 weeks old (we met at a suburban mom-baby group). She is non-stop energy, loves to read, play piano and is full of curiosity about everything. My oldest pet, a fat orange tabby we named Vinny, we adopted in Galena in 2001. We adopted our first greyhound Rowdy through Greyhounds Only a couple of years ago and – thinking our small house wasn’t full enough – we took home another, Bella, last fall. My husband would take 12 more. Happily all of our pets are sweet and kid-friendly.
Erika: What do you think makes a quality service or product?
Melissa: A quality product or service has been put together to the best of the provider’s abilities. The particular service or product is open to changes. The business owner is always seeking ways to improve the product and/or its presence.
Kathy: A quality service or product is one that meets the needs of its intended market. Ideally, it provides good value.
Erika: How do you think you provide a quality service or product?
Melissa: We work hard to give readers a unique glimpse of local businesses—something that jumps out at them rather than just an ad in a paper. We also like to work with business owners to learn a little more about their business so that we can truly relate the passion behind the business to our readers.
Kathy: We also report our honest experiences with businesses and products (no sugar coating). We think it’s worth promoting local businesses that deserve a wider audience (i.e. PrimaTea in Wheeling).
Erika: Do you have anything you would like to tell us that is new for your business in 2013?
Melissa and Kathy: We would like to work more with businesses local to the Northern suburbs to help spread the word about their services and the uniqueness that they add to the region.
And a fun one!
What is one thing on your “bucket” list?
Melissa: One thing on my bucket list is to go dog sledding in Alaska.
Kathy: I’d like to make it to Europe (England or Italy) again, this time accompanied by daughter and husband.
Check out the amazing review that Two Moms, a Little Time a Keyboard did of Just Peachy Photography last year HERE.
There are no current giveaways on their site, but check back soon! If you mention this post when booking your session, I’ll give you $25 off any of our services through the end of May (2013).
Two Moms, a Little Time and a Keyboard
North Suburbs of Chicago