Mom Next Door: Feature in Dallas Child

OCCUPATION: Designer and owner of Melanie Auld Designs

PERSONAL STATS: Fresh out of college with a fashion merchandising degree (and a love for all things stylish), the young Canadian set her sights on working as a department store buyer. But, after marrying longtime high-school love Alex, a professional hockey player, Melanie found she “needed a career to take from city to city.” After completing a metalworking course, her eye for style and knack for making homemade jewelry sparked the idea for her first line. She launched Melanie Auld Designs in 2002, and six cities later after Alex, a goaltender, signed with the Stars, the Aulds settled in Dallas (he now plays for the New York Rangers). The couple have a son—Sam, now 2 ½—and plan to remain in Dallas, despite new team loyalties. Melanie (with a little help from Sam) runs her ever-growing jewelry and handbag design company from her home’s second-floor office.

WHY YOU SETTLED IN DALLAS: “We’ve lived in Vancouver, Fort Lauderdale, Phoenix, Boston … the list goes on! But Dallas has everything. It’s big-city living, but you live next to down-to-earth people. And there’s so much to do with Sam. It’s going to be tough to stay here with Alex playing in New York, but we’ve been juggling his travel schedule for eight years now. It gets easier with time, but now the challenge is how to explain it to Sam! We make a lot of trips to visit his Daddy.”

YOUR INSPIRATION: “Everything I see inspires me. I love having a vision for something in my head and then to create it and hold it in my hands. Designing jewelry was a natural progression for me after some strange coincidences. It wasn’t the first thing I was thinking of doing with my career, but I fell in love with it.”

WHAT YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB: “Being creative! It’s the ultimate compliment when you see other people wearing something you created. I found a wonderful manufacturing company in Brazil that mines its own jewels. So now I pick out the stones, sketch designs, critique samples and choose the best pieces for my line—it’s challenging and exciting at the same time.”

HOW MOTHERHOOD CHANGED YOUR WORKLIFE: “It was a huge change; I had a really difficult time. Before I had Sam, I was always a little selfish with my time. When he came along, I could no longer sleep later into the morning and work later into the night. I knew there would be no way to get my business where I wanted it without getting some help …. This has helped make that transition. Running a business is just such a full-time job, you have to work hard to carve out family time.”

KEY TO MANAGING HUSBAND’S TRAVEL: “Alex is usually on the road from about October to April. We’re all pretty used to it. Sam is starting to understand a little better .... Our family is pretty transient, so I think the key is to stay as stress free as possible, so that Sam will feel the same way and go with the flow. Kids feed off of your example, so I try to keep myself grounded and I think that’s his personality now, too.”

YOUR SON’S VIEW OF YOUR JOB: [She laughs] “He’s much more interested in Daddy’s job! The Stars were the first team that he really started following with his dad, and he still wears his Stars jersey everywhere. He loves to tell people that his daddy plays hockey; he plays hockey with little mini sticks all the time! He does know that I make jewelry, but I’m not so sure he’s as excited about my job!”

DREAMS YOU WANT TO FULFILL: “I would love to keep building a brand, have stores and someday move into home goods and textiles. I just want to keep building. At the end of the day, I would love to have a more nationally recognized brand.”

Melanie’s Favorite …

Style of handbag: Oversized hobo (from my new fall line)
Gemstone to wear or design with: Turquoise or mother of pearl
Must-have summer accessory: Drop earrings with a big, colorful gemstone
Family outing: Our neighborhood pool or eating on a patio in the West Village
Way to spend “me” time: Flipping through magazines
Book: Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler
Can’t-miss TV show: Brothers and Sisters
Music download: Carrie Underwood. My husband played hockey with her fiancé; I adore her music!
Magazine to read on the sly: US Weekly (it’s a guilty pleasure)
Indulgence: Alone time!
Romantic getaway: One&Only Palmilla Resort in Mexico
Piece of jewelry: Big disk earrings