Industry veteran Maria Brady, owner of Marakae Marketing, has launched a new website with a focus on optimism during these trying times.
Celebrating 25 years in business, Maria Brady refuses to rest on her laurels.
A pioneer of what she calls “momtrepreneurship,” – starting her promo business while raising two young children – Brady began Marakae Marketing (asi/260725) out of her Pittsburgh home. Named after her and her two daughters, Rachael and Kailey, the company specializes in event management, providing branded apparel, marketing collateral and promotional products. With the COVID-19 pandemic preventing trade shows, conferences and other large gatherings, she was forced to reinvent her business.
Often considered a ray of sunshine by her friends, family and clients, Brady decided to launch a brand based on her positive outlook. After all, with so much uncertainty in 2020, folks needed a reminder to smile.
I Chose Happy, an inspirational website and product line, launched on Nov. 24, 2020.
“I’m a big proponent that we’re all here to help others,” Brady says. “I’ve always been a women-in-business advocate, helping with resumes and referrals. Now this website is a tool to create positive energy, and it’s where I share life lessons and encourage others to find gratitude in every day.”
I Chose Happy has been targeting charities in need of custom gifts for fundraising efforts. In December, the brand partnered with Faith & Gratitude, a nonprofit that empowers cancer patients through education and holistic services. “Through the generosity of many donors just like Maria, we’re proud to say we’re able to offer all of our resources free of charge,” says Lori Ball, founder and cancer survivor.
Brady introduces Lori Ball and the work that “I Chose Happy” is doing on behalf of Faith & Gratitude.
Working with suppliers like Tekweld (asi/90807) and Castelli (asi/44305), a division of Top 40 supplier The Magnet Group (asi/68507), I Chose Happy’s gift assortment currently includes a journal book, tumbler, magnet, face mask and a variety of T-shirts with motivational messages. The merchandise has caught the attention of local boutique Feathers, which will be bringing the products to retail.
On the first Thursday of every month, Brady posts a new blog entry to her website. Her entry for March focuses on resilience – quite timely as the industry continues to rebound in Q1. “I believe resilience is a seed in each of us waiting for the opportunity to sprout,” Brady wrote. “During this time of such uncertainty, we all need to cultivate resilience. Silence our fears… see the positive… rise above.” A local CEO recently asked to incorporate the blog entries into her employee newsletter, which Brady hopes segues into branded employee gift sales.
The momentum doesn’t stop there. Brady was invited to contribute to Twenty Won, an anthology book of 21 female entrepreneurs sharing stories of business resilience during the pandemic.
Brady is a contributor to this anthology of female entrepreneurs’ accounts of pivoting during COVID.
“Many of the women in this book are first-time entrepreneurs within their families, like me,” says Kelli A. Komondor, curator of Twenty Won. “Others were born with the entrepreneurial spirit – they watched their parents and even their grandparents own businesses. Although we’re all so different in how we started our businesses, and what our businesses are, we have a common thread: we pivoted and persevered in 2020, and we want you to know how in the hopes you will find the courage and support to make your dream of being an entrepreneur come true.”
Although a digital release is scheduled for April 21, Brady has shared an excerpt from her chapter:
“According to Forbes magazine, eight out of 10 businesses fail in the first 18 months due to lack of persistence. Perseverance is an absolute necessity for success! This attribute is the energy source to sustain your core reason for launching your business and is fueled by the faith you need to grow your business. When a sales seed sprouts with an interested prospect, you immediately cultivate that relationship. Stay in touch with emails, leave a friendly voicemail or ship a small gift. Why? So, YOU are at the top of the mind when a decision needs to be made.”
In just four months, I Chose Happy has found its niche, identified a new sales distribution channel and has been recognized in what Brady knows will be a “best-selling” book.
“A powerful combination for success in life is to show gratitude for your blessings every day, believe in yourself and have faith in God,” Brady says. “I chose me. I chose happy. You can, too.”