Stories of Small Business New Zealand

The Story of Mel & Melanie Ross Designs

The Story of Mel & Melanie Ross Designs

Let’s start with who you are?  Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Mel, I live in Christchurch (born and breed) on my husbands family farm, we have been together since high school (21 years) we have two children and a Golden Lab called Alfie, aka "AlfieDog".

After high school I studied Interior Design for two years followed by Graphic Design, graduating with diplomas for both. I'm a creative enthusiast, literally love all things creative. I love keeping fit, curling up with an Interior Design Mag. I'm a Pisces and I think that sums me up pretty well!

And what is Melanie Ross Designs?

I create Watercolour designs and illustrations, I have these printed onto 100% Merino and from there I sew into Beanies, Headbands and infinity Scarves.

What encouraged you to start your business?

I had been tinkering around with the idea of my designs being printed onto Merino and was always afraid of putting my stuff out there as I was afraid of rejection “what if no one liked them”. 

It wasn’t until suddenly losing my brother-in-law that I realised how short life is and how you need to make the most of now, by doing the things that make you happy. From that day on I promised myself I would just “try” and stop saying “what if”.

What did you do before creating your business?  Tell us your journey from there to here.

3 weeks after graduating I got my first Junior Graphic Design job, then my husband and I went travelling.  We lived in Perth for 4 years before coming home and starting a family.  By this stage I was working from home as a Graphic Designer and when Isaac was 5 months old we purchased a gym and created a CrossFit Gym. We owned the gym for 4 years and I learnt so much in that time about myself.  After we sold it I realised I needed to get back into doing the things that I love, the things that I had put aside while we owned the gym.


Knowing what you know now. What would be one piece of advice would you give your 21 year old self?

I would tell my 21 year old self to relax. Don’t feel like you need to have it all figured out. Trust yourself.

What are some of the highs and lows of running your business?

 Highs - 

  • That I was able to bring an idea to life. 
  • Customers sending me photos explaining how much they love what they have purchased from my business.
  • Connecting with other businesses and making new friends. 

Lows - 

  • When self doubt has got the better of me and I've convinced myself that I should just give it up, feeling like I don’t know what I'm doing.

What's the biggest lesson you have learnt in your small business?

Learning from my mistakes. I've learnt from every single one both in this business and when we owned the gym. Not all mistakes are “bad”.  In fact, one of the best mistakes I made was what led me to creating my scarves. 

What’s one piece of advice you would share with someone starting out?

Don’t be afraid, don’t compare yourself to others, trust yourself and go for it.

What do you love most about your business?  

Working from home and having my business fit around family life. I'm always available for when the kids need me which I absolutely love!


Share 5 things that bring you joy?

My Husband and our children

Being Creative

Spending time with our families and friends


Coming across new places to eat/visit/stay

What do you do for some time out or when you need a break from your biz?  What resets that light inside you?

in the past a little getaway always helped, a change of scenery. 

When I'm in a creative rut I've found listening to podcasts or flicking through Interior Design mags helps me get back on track.

Coffee or Tea?

Loves Both! Strong coffee in the morning, cuppa tea while sitting with the kids after school, and either a Herbal tea or a scrumptious Milo in the evening :-)

How do you balance business life + motherhood?

Pfft….got no idea. 

I have to be organised with my business obviously which gives me flexibility for Mum Life which I'm usually winging on a daily basis. 

If there is someone out there who has it all figured out feel free to DM on your secret...

What one quote are you always drawn to?

Not one, but here are a few…

  • Don’t compare your chapter 1 with someone else’s  chapter 20
  • "Nothing is impossible, Even the word itself says I'm Possible” Audrey Hepburn
  • Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself - Coco Chanel
  • You do You - (one of my favourites, I bought this print off Anna from 

What can we expect from your biz in the future?

I'm always going to be pushing my creative boundaries, it's how I learn and grow.  I have some new design ideas which I'm currently working on for Winter 2021.


You can get in touch with Mel on her Instagram page.

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