Columbia, S.C. (WLTX) - Few people would walk away from their career with three kids under the age of six to pursue their dream, but that’s exactly what a former teacher did after spending a decade in the classroom.
Haley LaMarche juggles mom life while owning a mom-friendly monogram business, Palmetto Twist, in The Vista.
"To be honest and frank, it's crazy. There have been a lot of days where I think God, why did you open this store? How did this come about?”, said LaMarche, laughing.
Becoming an entrepreneur was on a bucket list she created when she was 15-years-old, but LaMarche never considered checking the item off until a random conversation with family members who also own a monogram business in South Carolina.
"I thought well, why not,” said LaMarche. “God opened a door and here we are.”
The doors opened July 9th, just about a month after her last day in the classroom.
“It has been definitely a balance. And I’m still learning that balance. Some weeks are better than others.”
Part of the balance has been spending time with her family. That’s one of the reasons she has a playroom for her own three kids and customers’ little ones.
"Shopping with kids is sometimes crazy! That's just point blank,” said LaMarche. “And this typically isn’t one of those stores you kind of can’t come in for 5 minutes either because there are so many possibilities from monogramming to fonts to threads to styles to images, so it could be endless time.”
From wedding gifts, to sorority gear, to beach wear, customers can monogram just about anything. LaMarche said she designed the store to be mom-friendly.
“I know even taking them to the grocery store, unless it’s like the Target buggy, it doesn’t have spots for all three kids. So I literally, when we opened the store, I went through with my double stroller to see that we could go through every aspect of the store to make sure a stroller could fit through.”
Her kids are there often, including her oldest daughter, Hayden Elizabeth, who at just 6-years-old has been counting the registers.
“She’s been on the penny to the T, and I’m impressed. She’s getting real-life math skills,” said LaMarche.
She may not be in the front of the classroom, but her inner-teacher still comes out in the business world. LaMarche has a cubby system for employees and her years of organizing are apparent in the displays.
"I almost miss the simplicity of teaching, and it's not a simple job because I know exactly. But it's a different stress,” said LaMarche. “It’s a different kind of wake you up in the middle of the night. I tell my teacher friends that it’s like the first day of school every day. And you can’t turn it off.”
LaMarche is now counting threads, instead of crayons, and planning events, instead of lessons. She said the schedule change has also allowed her to do “mommy things” that many parents may take for granted.
"It is neat because I'm able to go on field trips and take a day from the classroom."I do carpool for the first time of my life,” said LaMarche.
Hayden Elizabeth said she misses seeing her mom at school every day, but now she’s there for field trips and lunches on special days.
“I can say the biggest thing that I’ve been taught through this whole experience is faith, family, keep them first regardless. And that, to just go day by day,” said LaMarche, who admits she’s always been a planner.
But considering she didn’t plan on becoming a teacher, or plan on quitting that job to become a full-time business owner, she said she can’t exactly plan on the future and whether or not she’ll end up back in the classroom.
"I've learned too to never say never. Who knows what's ahead. I never know anymore,” said LaMarche.
Palmetto Twist is located in the Vista. LaMarche said along with normal business hours, she’s hosted events like ‘Monograms and Mimosas’, ‘Mammograms and Monograms’, and is testing out a kiosk-style shop at Fort Jackson this week.