In two years, Emma and Carla Papas – aka ‘The Merrymaker Sisters’ – have taken the Paleo and blogging world by storm.
As former communication professionals turned happiness advocates and health coaches, this dynamic duo have turned their love (and need as Emma is gluten intolerant) for a healthy lifestyle in to a passionate online following of more than 150,000 per month.
Having launched their first recipe book Make It Merry in June 2015 Emma and Carla will no doubt persuade many more to change their tired foodie ways as a result of their contagious passion for a delicious dish and dessert or two (Paleo chocolate anyone?).
Here, the Papas sisters show Woman Rising inside their merry making mission for Week 3 of our In Her Shoes Women In Business Summer Series.
Firstly, let’s get the facts:
NAME: Emma and Carla Papas
BUSINESS: The Merrymaker Sisters
LOCATION: Online at themerrymakersisters.com
YEAR LAUNCHED: 2013
AGE: 25 and 27
Q: What was your professional journey before starting your business and how did your biz concept spark?
It was mid-2012 and we’d both just completed a 12 week diet and exercise plan, not designed for health, designed to lose weight. We were over the moon, we’d reached our goal weights (aka stick thin) BUT along with our ‘perfect bodies’ we were tired, moody, cold all the time and our bodies literally started to shut down. Definitely not healthy or happy.
This unhealthy way of living needed to stop, so we searched for something that would work.
Real food was our answer and the catalyst to creating The Merrymaker Sisters. Being the food lovers we always have been, we started to share photos of our healthy foodie creations to our personal social media accounts and our followers started to grow organically.
We loved it so much and wanted a place to document all of our recipes and thoughts so we googled ‘How to start a blog’ (seriously!). We both studied and worked in the Communication industry and were passionate about health and happiness and so we began The Merrymaker Sisters – it was like two passions perfectly intertwined!
Q: What gave you the confidence to dive in at the beginning?
We just love everything about The Merrymaker Sisters. It has never felt like hard work (yes hard and confusing at times) but never not wanted. We love a challenge and we’re always setting new goals to reach. Once we started The Merrymaker Sisters we knew that we’d found our thing because it brought us so much happiness. There was no way we could turn our backs on it.
We did a few basic calculations on how much money we had to make to pay our mortgage and bills and thought we could achieve it if we hustled a little harder! So… we quit our government jobs and got to work! Best decision we ever made that’s for sure!
Q: What has been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced since launch and what lessons came from the experiences?
Our biggest challenge would have to be self publishing our own hard copy book. Gosh that turned in to a mountain project!
It was a flippant idea that we threw around and decided to go for it. We had many blocks and obstacles to get over… like finding a printer! But we finally got there and everyone loves it which is really exciting. The huge lesson that came from this is that anything really is possible if you put your mind to it and are prepared to work your butt off.
Q: How important is following your intuition in your business?
It’s absolutely SO SO SOOO important. We’ve had many times where something goes wrong and one of us will say… oh I kind of had a funny feeling about that event… or post… or recipe. And we always are like WHY oh WHY didn’t we listen to our gut! Now we’re very open about how we feel and make sure we really delve deep to check in if those feelings are warning bells or signs of fear. If it’s fear… we go for it anyway!
Q: What are 3 things you wish you knew then?
Back when we first started we would tell ourselves to dream BIGGER, listen to your gut and learn to say NO!
Q: What is the key piece of advice you would provide others starting out?
FOCUS! It’s easy to get distracted by Facebook, Instagram and move from project to project. Focus on one thing at a time, tick it off and only then move on. Multi-tasking isn’t all that productive. If you focus, you’ll get lots more done in less time. After all… what you focus on grows.
Q: What does it feel like to look back on what you have accomplished so far and know you have developed your own path?
It feels like bliss. We have so many pinch ourselves moments… where we go “do we actually do this?!” and the best thing is that ANYONE can do this. If we can do it… so can you. We had no idea about blogging, business, photography… anything! Everything you need to know is out there to learn… so just begin!
- A biz system/program/platform you can’t live without: MeetEdgar and Drip and Instagram
- What keeps you motivated (aka professional motto): Follow your bliss
- Who do you admire in business: Dan Norris of 7 Day Start Up
- When I started, I wish someone told me…. Start collecting emails as soon as you launch!
- One day I hope to…. Be on the New York Times best seller list
Want more Merry? Check out the sisters at work on their Youtube channel below…