This week I’m introducing you to my friend the funny, straight-shooting southern lady Christina Kelly; she’s the proprietor of Southern Mesa Trading Co. I met Christina a few years ago through mutual Instagram friends.
I asked Christina to share some details about herself: I’m 35 years old, grew up in south east Alabama but, moved 2 hours south to the panhandle of Florida for a work promotion. During that part of my 12 year career with Bath and Body Works and was overseeing 3 locations for the chain.
I have been best friends and roommates with my husband (Mr. Mesa) since I was 19 but didn’t marry him until I was 31.
Marvin is my rescue dumplin’ who’s about to turn 12. I named him after a Pulp Fiction character and I’ve had him since he was 8 weeks old and could be cuddled in one arm. Now he’s an 80lb teenager that sleeps all day.
I asked Christina to tell me where her spark for Home Design stemmed from: I grew up a military kid and the oldest of my clan of 3 misfits. We moved from base to base all throughout my childhood. I think it helped me make connections with people more easily and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I was, and still am, the kid that marched to a very different (very 80s 🤣) drum. I’ve always enjoyed art and creating and learning how things fit together. TV was definitely the baby sitter during the summer with a working mom and I stumbled upon Martha Stewart, Bob Vila and Design on a Dime and fell in love with the idea of making a house a home.
Christina has tackled her share of renovation projects in her current home - the Kitchen complete with custom concrete countertops she created, the Bath with amazing banana leaf wallpaper, the Master Bedroom with an ode to surfing with a magnificent mural and most recently her dining room with one of her Southern Mesa Trading Co. custom made dining tables (she’s manufactured almost a dozen for clients).
Christina shared that she’s always been a bit of dare devil: I remember finding a mattress on someone’s curb for trash day and concocted a brilliant plan. I rounded up some boys in the neighborhood to help me drag it home to my play house on stilts. I was going to try and roller skate off the roof and use two umbrellas (like the Penguin in Batman) to help slow my decent. I had not learned about angles and inertia yet and the cast I rocked for 9 weeks afterward was a fun reminder that an object in motion remains in motion until met by an opposing force. Ha!
Like most creatives I speak with - Christina shared that she too - rearranged her bedroom as a teen and spent one of her first paychecks on a bucket of paint, some candles and a new bedding ensemble. Christina added: I actually wanted to go to college for interior design but my parents thought that was more of a hobby and a trend that wouldn’t produce steady income. I got a scholarship out of state but never made it to my dorm room that fall. We had a family emergency and I had to stay behind to help. Days and year ticked by and I never went. I actually just passed my Florida Real Estate License and signed with a Broker. I was secretly working on it all summer. Since deciding to focus solely on my own business last spring - I realized my other passion is Real Estate.
Next I asked Christina to tell me why she created Southern Mesa - what made her say Yes, I’m doing this! I had enough people push me and I’ve always enjoyed being creative and making things. And I really respond to someone telling me I “can’t do something” or “it won’t work”. Let’s just say proving Mr. Mesa wrong is a favorite pastime. Then she added: I am constantly dreaming up new ideas and I’m still blown away that people click add to cart. It means the world to me. What started with a few custom dining tables and signs made with left over lumber - now includes apparel, plants stands, seasonal offerings as well as custom artwork.
Christina is the force behind the Just Chill Nation friends… it’s one of the first items she created at Southern Mesa Trading Co. and continues to be one of her most popular - so popular she’s expanded to include a T-shirt and Sweatshirt with the same motto.
Christina and I discussed how being shared on social media through large accounts can be both phenomenal and disconcerting. It’s always fun to see yourself in print or on a major platform but I’ll be honest... that comes with a lot of negative feedback as well. The bigger the platform the less like a human - people will think you are. My banana baño (Bath Reno) is a controversial space apparently. I believe one comment was “Blanche Devereaux on acid”. I guess haters gonna hate hate hate.
I asked Christina what her goals were for the rest of 2019.
To launch a kick-butt holiday collection, finally finish the front door and staircase project I’ve been putting off at the Mesa casa and sell my first property as a Realtor. I think that would be a great way to close out 2019!
She added that she has a few bigger goals too: To become a Real Estate Mogul and to land a show on HGTV!!! Bahahaha! Kidding but, hey…
Friends I believe this lady will accomplish anything she sets her mind to!
There’s still time snap up some of these groovy Halloween goodies.
Til next time.