We had the good fortune of connecting with Danica LePorte and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danica, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When my son was an infant I had the privilege to find some very supportive mom groups. Once a month as the kids in our group aged we would meet and read a book and do a craft along with the book. We stacked apple blocks and made paint stamps with apple halves while reading Dr Seuss 10 Apples up on Top. We read about seeds and planted flowers during Earth Day celebrations. The moms enjoyed the time together and the crafty projects the kids would come home with. As our kids grew older one of the major questions I was getting from moms was “What should we do for our kids birthday?” The craft projects we had been doing in our groups were an alternative solution to those moms. One party we created “dog” tags for our stuffed animals who were invited to a Secret Life of Pets themed party. Another princess wanted crowns and wands and so we created our own magical accessories. One of my favorites was the light-sabers and super hero masks we made for a kid who wanted to draw on the force! Create Art 4 Kids offers fun craft projects to fit any theme party and we allow moms a chance to enjoy the event while I help the kids stay entertained. I enjoy getting creative with the guests and they get to take that creativity home with them from the party.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My professional path into working with kids creatively took off from a change in life style. When my first was born I got the opportunity to stay home changing from the corporate environment that I had been in for over 10 years. I wanted to educate my own kids through hands on learning and crafts. I was encouraged at how much your could find online for crafting and learning but I was more surprised that some moms found it hard to implement those crafts with their own children. I provided a space for moms to show up and have kids get creative while moms socialized and compared wounds (metaphorically). Now my kids are school age and the moms group is spread out and mostly we have time to get together on the weekends. So I create a way for families to enjoy adult company while I get the kids busy with crafts. Some of the biggest challenges came from the lifestyle change. Going from a corporate office with deadlines and deliverables to full time stay at home really had an impact on my identity. The social aspect of a daily office disappears when you decide to commit to being home and a full time care giver. I sought out groups of moms in my situation through social media and apps like MeetUp to fill up that social need. In seeking those supportive moms out I found a need that I could help with. I could bring those moms together and we could collaborate on mom life and help our kids be creative and fun. As my kids age I am challenged to find ways to bring finger painting, and vegetable stamping up to a level that grabs their interest. One common thing I have found is kids all ages enjoy being creative. A project like gluing paper together can be done by 3 yr old on one scale and then enhanced and improved on by a 13yr old (as I think about the paper pumpkins we made last fall). Kids can take simple craft ideas and make them really elaborate. I love encouraging the space to allow that creativity. I want the world to know that mom life is hard and kids like to get their hands crafting. If I can provide a space where moms can get a break and enjoy time socializing with friends while kids can create I feel like I am filling a need. Create Art 4 Kids brings creativity to kids and takes the stress out of planning.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Welcome to Arizona! On a week long trip you can’t visit without seeing at least one site up north. Here’s what a weekend moms trip may look like without kids. Sunday plane arrives early afternoon. We pick up lunch at Pita Jungle in Tempe for some healthy food and a glass or too of wine. That night it’s relaxing in the pool and decompressing with all the girl talk time. Monday is up early for a hike. Some of my favorites are Silly Mountain and the Hieroglyphic trail in Superstition Springs Mountains. That usually takes up until mid-day so on our way back we stop for lunch at In-and-Out on Signal Butte for refueling. Then pedicures at Platinum Nails on Power and Baseline in Gilbert. Dinner that night is happy hour at Kona Grill and outdoor shopping at San Tan Mall. We grab coffee and breakfast Tuesday morning at The Coffee House on Ray at Joe’s Farm. Then we head up to Phon D Sutton recreational site for some water splashing. Maybe even some paddle boards. That night we take one of the fun classes at Studio 223 in downtown Gilbert and make a wood sign or hand knit a blanket. We eat at Liberty Market and play games at Culinary Drop Out. Wednesday is shopping time in Scottsdale so we roam around Scottsdale down town, spend money and eat lunch at Scottsdale Fashion square and catch a movie. Afterwards we meet friends at Mavrix for bowling and arcade games and enjoy their happy hour. Thursday we drive up north a few hours and explore the Jerome – Cottonwood loop. We stop and check out all the old time mines and hotels and small towns. On our way back we stretch our legs at Montezuma Castle and Well. Once back in the valley we stop in north Scottsdale at Four Peaks for some local brew and great food. Friday is stay-cation day. We go up to the MIM (Musical Instrument Museum) and then check in to the Valley Ho for some swimming and drinks by the pool. That evening we have wine and bread boards at Kelly’s Kazimierz Wine & Whiskey Bar for live music. Saturday morning we walk to The Daily Dose for breakfast and back for some more sun by the pool. After check out we head back to the house. That evening we take the trail south of the 202 on our bikes and ride the canal to the Gilbert Riparian for sunset. On our way back we spy coyotes and bats and ride as fast as we can home!! Now if this was a trip with kids I’d have a very different itinerary; but girls weekends are what a mom really needs 🙂
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First I recognize the moms who did the first 3 years of life while my kids grew up. I found these supportive moms through aps like MeetUP and Facebook. These moms created a space that was safe to share the struggles of first time new moms and the opportunity to flex my creative skills with our babies. Second I recognize all those creators that have worked to encourage others in creativity. Crissi from Made by 2 Sisters started her wood sign business from her garage and grew it into a space at Studio 223 in Gilbert. It was encouraging to watch what a creative business could do. Little Sunshine Mom is a local craft business that sends craft box orders monthly out to families who are interested. And I’d like to recognize my life long friend Kate Bakkila with KleanDesign. Her creativity in logo design and marketing has brought out the vision of what Create Art 4 Kids really means. We create an art party for kids and can really allow every child to be an artist (Pablo Picasso).