About Me

Melissa vickers mama llama originals

About Mama Llama Originals

I always go and check out the “About Me” sections of websites because I love to learn more about the people who are passionate enough about something to either write about it or start a business.  So welcome to my “About Me” section, hope you enjoy my story…

Mama Llama Originals is a business that was started right after my first daughter was born in 2010.  I have always been a creative spirit.  My favorite classes in school were art and to this day, I never go anywhere without my bag full of colorful markers and a journal. 

A Passion For Design

I graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park with an International Business and Marketing degree in 1999.  I worked various jobs out of college, but eventually went back to Salem College in Winston-Salem where I earned my BA in Interior Design.  Upon graduation, I was hired by a local architecture firm to work on commercial interiors.  Some of my favorite projects were the Hanesbrand Theater, Brugger’s Bagels, both in Winston-Salem and Hotel Indigo in Asheville, NC.

tile mosaic of south america from cochabamba bolivia photo by melissa vickers mama llama originals

Motherhood Is Creative Expression

When I gave birth to my daughter, I decided to stay at home and relish life as a mother.  As a hobby, I picked up sewing and started making bags for friends as gifts.  Shortly thereafter, my friends suggested that I start selling them at local craft shows.  Without the support and encouragement of my family and friends, it would not have been possible.  And that is how Mama Llama Originals was started.  Over the course of 2.5 years I sewed and sold over 400 bags.  I enjoyed being able to put my color theory training and eye for design to good use by creating one of a kind designs using upcycled fabrics. 

When my second daughter was born I had to put the sewing on the backburner, as being a mother to two children under the age of 3 was a full-time job.  There were no regrets, and I decided to store my materials.  Even though bags were no longer my creative outlet, I started painting small wooden signs for fun.  It scratched the itch and allowed me to continue growing as an artist.

Mindfulness and Self Healing

In 2014, two major events happened in my life that changed me forever and for the better.  I gave up drinking and shortly thereafter, I went and spent a weekend at Yogaville (ashram), in Buckingham, Virginia with my friend Michelle.  I had always considered myself a “spiritual” person, but I never really attended church or gave it much thought unless someone asked. 

I took up the practice of yoga for health and before I knew it, I was drawn to learning more about yoga and other spiritual avenues.  The first time I had ever meditated was at Yogaville and I instantly loved it.  I know that isn’t the case for many people, but that was how natural it felt for me.  A meditation practice alongside my yoga practice became a new way for me to respond to stress in my life since alcohol was no longer an option.

For me, putting down drinking and focusing on my family and myself prompted a lot of internal reflection. It was apparent I had been ignoring myself spiritually and using alcohol as a method of self-medicating.  Among other things, I began working with a local shamanic healer in an effort to begin getting "reacquainted" with myself.  It has not been easy, but the growth that has come through the type of introspection that only, "looking deeply" can bring, has brought me to a new level of understanding of who I am, what I’ve been through and what that means today for me as a wife, mother, daughter and human being. 

The journey inward has allowed me to realize and accept that I have many gifts and talents.  My main focus is and always will be my family.  I am grateful for the life that I am creating alongside my amazing husband.  He continues to support me in countless ways.  

Love with conviction original artwork by melissa vickers mama llama originals

Gratitude and Purpose

I am always seeking outlets for creative expression and exploring different mediums and to see what resonates with my being.  I constantly struggle with the desire to create beautiful things but to also have whatever it is I make to serve a purpose and ultimately to be a way of spreading love in this world.