A positive sign: Single mom to 9 kids launches creative DIY business

    "Each of my kiddos is amazing. They have their own history. I have adopted 7 of the 9" says Erika.<p>{/p}

    Grand Traverse County, MICH (WPBN/WGTU)--Erika Rogers is not one of the those people who struggles to do two things at once. She can explain how she manages to juggle a busy life while at the same time pounding away with a meat mallet to distress new wood. "So, we like to joke and say that we get to de-stress while we distress" joke Erika.

    Last October, Erika opened Traverse City's Board & Brush Creative Studio. It’s like an artistic, woodworking shop that provides anyone, regardless of experience or skill set, the opportunity to come in and create some impressive wall art. "They come in, we start with new wood, we take them through the whole process. It's a three-hour long process to distress, stain, stencil, make this sign, and walk out with it. It’s a complete sign they are going to be proud to put on their walls."

    Seemingly, out of thin air, thanks to the hands of often woodworking-rookies, plain new wood is turned into character-filled old pieces of wall art. But that's not the transformation that studio owner Erika Rogers appreciates the most after a day at her studio. "Mostly women come in who have never touched a power tool before and they walk out feeling empowered" explains Erika.

    If anyone can teach all of us a thing or two about being empowered, about being able to do more than we think we can, it's Erika Rogers. She kind of does it by example.

    "About a year and half ago, I became a single mom and decided I needed to do something to help support my family" says Erika. She needed to find a job that would not only provide financial stability, but also a little bit of freedom when it comes to scheduling. She decided to take a big step, and open her own business because she couldn’t imagine any employer being willing to work around the number of appointments, conferences, and scheduling obligations Erika has a single mom to 9 kids. Yes, 9 kids. "We have Jessica, Madison, Caleb, Joy, Matthew, Kaylee, John, Malachi, and Claire” lists Erika. She goes on to quickly say "Each of my kiddos is amazing. They have their own history. I have adopted 7 of the 9." The oldest is 22, the youngest is 9, and the four she adopted from Ukraine have Down Syndrome.

    Starting and then successfully running your own business is a lot of work. Raising 9 children is pretty much unimaginable. But Erika, with a lot of help from her 17-year-old daughter Madison, has found a way to do both at the same time, and remarkably, with the same level of enthusiasm and grace.

    This month, Board & Brush is offering several special projects for kids and parents looking for something to do on Spring Break. Plus, Erika is donating some of her proceeds to a cause dear to her heart. March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day.

    To learn more about Traverse City Board & Brush click here.

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