I’m Mia Belotti, and This is My Way…

My Way series asks entrepreneurs, experts, and influencers to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. Have someone you want to see featured or questions you think we should ask? Email [email protected]
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Designer/ General Manager
Maison Warehouse

21558 Stonetree Court
Sterling, VA 20166
703-773-7000
www.maisonwarehouse.com

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I studied interior design, merchandising, and business at East Carolina University. But my love for design started many years before. Since the age of three, I would sit in Laura Ashley dresses at antique shows at the D.C. Armory in my aunt’s antique shop booth. Through high school and college, I worked for a high-end interior designer as an intern. My other part-time job in high school was working for the family business because since we started Maison in 1998. My dad, who is an extremely talented designer, does luxury landscape and custom building. It was a privilege to be an artsy kid from talented, designer family. My passion started at home, which is fitting since Maison means home in French!

One word that best describes your workplace:
Inspiring

Take us through a typical day. What apps, gadgets, or tools do you rely on every day?
A typical day for me always starts with racing to get my kids on the school bus at 7:15. As soon as they’re on the bus, I snag a little metime and go for a walk. I use Map My Walk, my favorite walking app. If you don’t take that piece of time for yourself when you can squeeze it in, something will inevitably fill that time slot. After I get ready, I usually race into the shop, check-in with Dave, my store manager, touch base on anything from orders to shipments to bills. Then I grab more samples than I can fit in my arms –rugs, fabric, tape measurer, catalogs, Benjamin Moore paint wheel, and the always essential Annie Sloan paint swatches. Then I race out the door to meet with clients. I usually have a design board prepared for them using the PicCollage app, with an assortment of all my recommendations from the various swatches and ideas I’ve gathered. Most of my jobs start with sketches and drawings, which I wouldn’t be able to do without good old fashion graph paper. Then I transfer my doodles and sketches onto a computer program. After meetings, I usually race to meet my kids off the bus and then work at my home office doing floor plans, paperwork, and placing orders until it’s time for dinner. Throughout the day, I do most of my work on the phone—calls, and texts, because I hate emails. But I do check them out of necessity. So all in all, the iPhone is my most essential gadget.

What is the best and worst decision you’ve ever made?
Best decision I’ve ever made was marrying my husband, hands down. He’s the peanut butter to my jelly. We’ve built a pretty cool life together but more than that, he is my best friend and my rock. Even though he won’t admit it, I know he’s my biggest fan.

The worst decision is sort of tough to say. I don’t have one because I try to live life without regrets. I’m sure there has been a roughlooking outfit or questionable haircut along the way, but honestly, all of my mistakes or road bumps have led me to something bigger and better. I’m continually recreating, redoing, and evolving, which is why I don’t see failures or hiccups as a permanent situation.

What was your dream job as a kid, and why?
As a child, I wanted to be a talk show host. I wanted to be Oprah. I still do. I recently auditioned from an HGTV gig and didn’t get it. I think the OWN network needs to pick me up.

What woman inspires you, and why?
Annie Sloan, the creator of chalk paint because she continues to create and reinvent new designs, techniques, and styles every day. She has also raised three boys and as a boy mom myself, I identify with her. She has created a FEMpire of design with her paint. She loves to support small businesses, most of which are womenowned. She’s fantastic, and I am proud to call her one of my friends.

What is your best time-saving shortcut?
Time-saving short cut: During the week, picking up a rotisserie chicken and only having to worry about the veggies. Whole Food tequila lime is the best. Cook with InstantPot too, because who has time for a slow cooker. Also, I advise getting a fake Christmas tree. It takes half the time to decorate and holds twice as many ornaments. Maybe even more. It also won’t tip over.

Who are the people who help you get things done, and how do you rely on them?
I rely on a vast team of people to get things done. One of my friends coined them all as the Mia Mob. Our tag line is “making women happy world-wide.” I have a store manager, Dave, who helps me hold down the fort. All in all, it takes an immense amount of teamwork to run our business.

How do you keep track of your to-do lists?
To do list: lots of pretty notebooks. I take my kids old marble composition books from the end of the school year, rip out the used pages, cover them with leftover TempPaper scraps, and upcycle them into pretty new notebooks. I prefer to handwrite list over apps because there is no better joy than physically crossing something off a list.

What’s your least favorite thing to do, and how do you deal?
Exercise is my least favorite, but I try to make myself to take time, self-care is essential. Second least favorite is putting away fabric and rug samples after I have pulled them for clients. I like it clean, but I hate doing it. Someone from the Mia Mob secretly helps me out. That or I just get fed up enough that I start organizing it myself. Thanks, Mari Kondo.

Do you take Posh timeouts? What do you do when you want to forget about work?
Easy, binge watch Netflix.

What are you currently reading, or what’s something you’d recommend?
A book I would recommend is “Fat Chance” by Nick Spaulding. I read a lot to my kids—we just finished “Flora and Ulysses” by Kate DiCamillo.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
My dear friend Louis, who was a grandmother figure to me, said: “Don’t borrow worry”. There is no sense in worrying about things that haven’t happened yet or may never happen.

Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers and fans?
I like to share how-to and tip videos on my Instagram, @mama. mia.maison, and Facebook @maisonwarehouse. Check me out! I started my own Facebook group called LoCo Designing Women—it’s an enjoyable page where home-owners, designers, and design enthusiasts come together to share inspiring projects and seek design advice.

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My Way series asks entrepreneurs, experts, and influencers to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask? Email [email protected]