For the past 3 years I have watched my friend and CrossFit swolemate go from a shy young wife and mother of 2 to a vibrant, bold and beautiful woman and small business owner. Her upbringing has always intrigued me and how she has overcome the obstacles of leaving the Amish community and settling in mainstream USA with no problem.
Her love of life, fitness and everyone around her inspires you to do the same. I hope you enjoy the interview and please pardon the sound quality…I couldn’t get the darn microphones to work!!! (I am not a techie…just a designer!!!)
As always enjoy my gallery of stills I like to pull from my videos.
Angie 2: 00:17
Hi there, it’s Angie with Flip Flop Your Life. And this is episode four with one of my best friends and Swole mates Malena Miller and gosh, we’ve known each other for what now? Three and a half years. I think. Something like that. Not Very long and we’ll talk about how we got to know each other and everything. But I thought that you would be a very, very interesting guest. Interesting for everybody. So she has a very very interesting background. That is a major flip, more of a major flip than what most people have ever gone through and, and will ever go through. And I think it’s, I think it’s interesting, especially if you’re from Ohio and around here, we have a lot of Amish people around here and everybody around here goes to Amish country.
Angie 2: 01:15
It’s like a, it’s a big thing. So obviously now, you know Malena used to be Amish, so she’s made a huge flip flop, but then herself and her husband are also entrepreneurs. So, which I can’t say that words like, excuse me. Entrepreneurs I’m, I’m always awful at saying that word Blake makes fun of me all the time. But they got cheese heads in business a lot. So we’ll get into that. But I think there’s a lot to your guys’ story that a lot of people would really find interesting. Cause I did. Okay. So uMike, tell us about yourself now. You know, personally and professionally married the kids, all that kind of stuff. Okay. So we are originally from this area, Ohio, but we moved to South Carolina in February, which everybody asks why we did that and I’m not sure it just happened. How long have you been married?
Malena 2: 02:19
Oh, we have been married for oh five 14 years. You’re so much like me because I would not be able to do that either. A lot of long glorious years, right? Yes. We stuck it out and then the kids, Wyatt and McKayla. 12 and eight. Awesome. And you moved to the Carolinas why? Oh, that’s where I was at. Because I don’t, we, we always, oh my word. The doors just opened to go with like work and we always kind of felt like we were gonna go somewhere else, experience life somewhere else out of this area. Even though we liked it here it was, yeah. Cause we lived in Montana in 09 and when we came back from there, we never really felt settled here. We kind of felt like [inaudible] too. Yeah. We lived in Montana for year. I don’t think we ever really talked about that.
Angie 2: 03:24
Yeah. So does that, where one of your sisters is right? She’s an Idaho out west, so yeah. We just, yeah, I don’t know. It was just this knowing, feeling that we’re not gonna stay in this area forever. So the opportunity came up and the doors just kept opening and yeah. So I [inaudible] really well. And your kids are younger, not young enough. You can take advantage of that. That’s why we were like, well, we’re at that stage of life. It’s like either now or, or never. Never. Well, your, your past being an Amish it’s unique and in most, it’s unique to definitely to most people. Yeah. And like I said, I would imagine leaving would be your first major flip flop. I mean that’s, that’s a major life changing. Yeah. can you tell people what it was like growing up Amish and what was it like then leaving the community?
Angie 2: 04:26
Well, it was definitely majorly out of our comfort zone to stay there because like that felt normal, you know, and like we love to like, I like to be around the Amish, like we just do everything. What was it about being Amish? What’s, I don’t know, different culturally different. Like we were at home a lot on the farm. We worked on the farm, we’d go riding like on our horses, like on the farm property. We really didn’t do anything outside our community a whole lot honestly. Like how big was your community? There was, I don’t know that within, I think it was like a nine mile span that was our closest or our furthers. Like people from our church that would go to the Amish church was nine miles away. And we biked there sometimes for church Sunday morning. Really awesome. So it was just more like very kickback.
Malena 2: 05:22 Like as far as there was no technology, like no radios, even though we would kind of sneak our way, find out ways to get radio, but no television use the horse and buggy everywhere we went pretty much or a tractor. I drove a tractor for the first time when I was nine years old. Did you really? We drove everywhere around their property and stuff. So. And how many siblings? You have a 10. There’s 10 of us. Yeah. And so it was very like country life. My dad was entrepreneurs whole life. Was he really? Really pretty much his whole life I think had a job. Like, yeah. So what did he do? He did farming and I would do, like, I helped with the milking and all of us, all of our siblings that we worked very hard on the farm. But simple was very simple.
Angie 2: 06:15
Very, very simple. Was that the hardest thing to, to overcome when you guys left? One of the things, I think the hardest thing still is the whole honestly like kind of insecurity or like feeling like you’re different or like almost like low self esteem type thing. Yeah. Yeah. That’s other people make you feel that way or people, well, it was very discouraged to think much of yourself. Like, I mean it was very community humbleness was like a big deal. Yeah. So, but [inaudible] but like to really, you know believing that to learn to like, it’s okay. I mean there’s a lot of self focus, so like it was, it wasn’t really, I don’t know, I think that was the biggest hurdle. I feel like that’s good. But no, it’s just, yeah. I think the whole like having confidence in that and believing in yourself was about the, the biggest thing for me personally.
Angie 2: 07:25 I’m trying to think. There might be something else. With your dad having had his own business, do you think that’s why you and Roy have gone the way you’ve gone with starting your own businesses? Yeah, I definitely was raised to think like that. To have your own business and it’s good now. So that’s a big deal to me. I’m like, yeah, well I think that’s a huge inspiration, especially coming from being in the Amish community and then leaving because then isn’t it once you leave you don’t have contact with them very much. Yeah. That was another big thing is like, I mean everybody we knew and I was 18 years old and we left. So like up to then like everybody would hung out with everybody we did stuff with out of our life, you know, pretty then pretty much your family, you were by yourselves cause you don’t know any yeah.
Speaker 2: 08:15
I mean from a community in a way of life to all of a sudden boom. Like our way of, yeah. So clothing, like yeah, that was, it was kind of exciting cause all of a sudden we were like and I left the same time my mom and dad, which went Mennonite. So that was just like, we kind of slowly eased in. So the, where, where I’m at like where we are now. But but so like we, like when we were allowed, when we started being allowed out, I allowed, cause you know, we weren’t allowed to do stuff, so, you know, when it was all some like you have the freedom to like get your permit and get licensed and then like were like, you know, not our shorts. Yeah. Just homemade clothes and like all that. That was exciting. So like it made it kind of you know, more pot and I always kind of knew, I always knew I wasn’t going to stay elvish my whole life.
Malena 2: 09:09
Like it was just, I didn’t like the whole thing. And when we’d go out everybody would stare, you know? [inaudible] And you were just like, you knew you were different. So that’s why I like to just kind of be with, with our people. Cause that’s when we were just normal. We were a self or just like everybody else, you know, really. But we were just as crazy as you know, as everybody else. You are not really that much different. Yeah. Well, so, but we felt different when we went out and about like to town or wherever. But I could see that, I can see where people that was, yeah. But it was, I definitely like don’t, like, there’s not, the lifestyle was cool and I’m, I’m, you know, I’m glad we, I don’t like resent it or I think it’s helped you. Yeah. If anything. Yeah. That’s what I’ve learned to embrace it instead of like be ashamed of it or like to kind of like it’s a negative when its not.
Speaker 2: 10:10
It’s not, I don’t say, I don’t think so either. I really need to know. Yeah. It taught is like good work habit and, and just to enjoy like the little things in life and you guys have determination on stuff that, yeah. That’s an inspiration. It really is. It’s very, very inspiring. And why don’t you tell them, I mean, you started a jewelry and you started a jewelry site. It was probably, it’s not quite a year. It’ll be a year. Yeah. And I think it was September. Yeah. September. She has jewelry. Her husband is a contractors. Yeah. Well he’s a foreman, but he’s, he’s starting his own. He’s starting his own business [inaudible] stages. And it is Epoxy creations. And that’s exciting. I’ll share information on that later when it’s ready to go. But early baby stages tell everybody though about what I love is I love the whole idea of your jewelry store and, and your, you know, how you got started and who your helpers are and stuff. [inaudible]
Malena 2: 11:23
Kids. That was a big I, that’s what I love most about it is the flexibility I can be with my kids and like, you know, they’ve helped me make jewelry and so that’s what I love. She would send me pictures of what the kids had helped with and that’s so much fun. But isn’t it fun to work with your family and to see them create and yeah, they make their own. Like they have their own designs that they made and stuff. So you’ve had stores pick up your stuff and are selling it to boutiques. And so yeah, that’s exciting. And I want to, now that we just moved to South Carolina, I want to get into more boutiques down there. I think you definitely could. Yeah. Especially with that kickass logo.
Malena 1: 12:06
Yeah. Yeah. Somebody designed. No, I seriously, you’ve helped me so much. I would not,
Malena 2: 12:13
I would have not ever. Yeah, you helped me. It was my pleasure. You helped me more than I ever expected anybody would help me. [inaudible] Another part that I think that I’ve been around as you’ve flip flopped your health yes. And with CrossFit is yes. CrossFit. Yes. And just eating. I yeah, just watching. I mean I’m not, that’s my biggest, the hardest thing is to, you know, eat right. But I’m just watching, you know, not making it like a huge deal, but like watching my portions and trying to eat real food, you know. Do you do it? I do that and I do it based on what I know the workout is gonna be the next [inaudible].
Malena 1: 12:56
Oh yeah. We normally have pizza where you do a big pizza thing on Thursday nights. And I’m like, I don’t know, cause I have a competition this weekend. Actually, competition has motivated me a lot.
Angie 2: 13:13
Yeah. Eat better. And so I just feel great. I love CrossFit. So, and that is how we met. Yep. So, Yep. When I’m, when people listen to this or watch the video, what kind of words of wisdom or inspiration can you give somebody who is, is really thinking about wanting to start their own business or, or wanting to change themselves and for the better health wise or business wise, what would address what you the words that come to mind is like give it your [inaudible]
Malena 1: 13:47
Best shot, your best shot. That is inspiration. No, but ,it wasn’t that hard was it? No.
Malena 2: 14:01
And just like, I guess the fear of failure I think is what stops a lot of people. And so just to, you know, like, okay. Yeah. Not, not let that stop me. And I think, I mean, what to really like think I mean for me it’s so much on like treating people like my customers and stuff, like how I would like to be treated. Yeah. And so that’s, and I know my husband has the same mindset, you know, and everything he does. And I think yeah, just to like really, I have no doubt how to be successful in that. Cause I’ve had a sneak peek at what he does. Yeah. He’s awesome. Like that’s another thing that came from Amish background is like, and his, you know, it’s a long line of, of what workers, you know, in his family. Yeah. Skill is a skill trait that is used. Yeah. But they take pride in and doing good work and putting in, you know, effort that they would like. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Okay. If your flip flops were magic slippers and you could go anywhere you’d want to go, I asked this question to everybody, where would you go and why?
Malena 1: 15:23
Well, we got vacations. Oh, where would you want to [inaudible]?
Malena 2: 15:29
Yeah. Somewhere where the beaches and there’s, yeah, just like where I can wear my flip flops..
Malena 2: 15:38
Beach, Island, with blue water. I want to go somewhere with like icy blue waters. Beautiful water. Yeah. Pretty Sand and yeah. Not too crowded. Yes. Privacy. Well, if someone, if someone wanted to get ahold of you in terms of, or wanting to see your jewelry, what is the website? Malandtribe.Com. Okay. Yeah. And I’ll make sure that I have a link to her store at within, you know, at the bottom of this video in the description. And we’ll also, as soon as Roy gets his stuff going, I’ll make sure that that link is in there too. And if you follow us, we’ll, we’ll be talking about it. I’ll definitely be boosting them because that’ll be, it’s really cool the stuff he does. So you guys will like it. So you guys have been a great encouragement. Thank you. Thank you.
Angie 1: 16:34
I swear I didn’t pay her to say [inaudible]. I think that’ll do it. I think,
Angie 2: 16:42
I think you’ll definitely, hopefully can inspire some other people. And I’m sure there’s probably a lot of people that didn’t know what your background was, but yeah, but now they do. And I think it’s, I think it’s important for people to understand. So I think, I think this was good.
Angie 1: 17:01
I can’t wait to see you grow your business.
It’d be great to have people let you in our lives. And thanks for asking me to do that and not a hard, no problem. And as we always say, live a life that you do not need a vacation from. So we’ll see you in the next, in episode five.
Visit Malena’s Jewelry site: https://www.malandtribe.com
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Did you catch episode 3 with Abbey McGuire by chance? Check it out!