In order to bring some new content unto my website/blog, I have started interviewing friends that have small Catholic businesses online. Last week, I spoke with my friend, Allison Seitz from Small Things, Great Love. Allison and I first met in Arizona when she was working for Maggie’s Place. We both transitioned at nearly the same time to Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she worked for student housing and I was working on my Master of Arts in Theology.
Tom: Although we stay in touch via Facebook, how has your life changed in the last five to seven years?
Allison: In 2013, I left Franciscan University of Steubenville which had been my home, first in Ohio then Austria, to pursue another passion, working with expectant women and their children who were alone or on the street. There was an opportunity to do this in Carmel, Indiana, just north of Indianapolis. I was back and forth between two jobs and the Lord convicted me to move to Indiana through scripture. Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest – Matthew 11:28. It was not until about a year later that the Lord made it clear to me that He did not call me to Indiana for a job but for my vocation.
I met my husband in October 2013. We were engaged April 2014, and got married on November 1st, 2014. Six weeks after we got married, I found out I was pregnant. We were so excited. Little Leon “Leo” was born in August 2015. During my pregnancy, I started working for my OB who had a family practice as well. She is trained in NaProTECHNOLOGY (Natural Procreative Technology), it’s a women’s health science that monitors and maintains a woman’s reproductive and gynecological health in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church and its teachings. It was a great five months, but I was eager to embrace my role as mama and stay home with my little man. `
Tom: Great! So, how did you get started in this small business? Any motivating factors?
Allison: When Leo was approaching 9 months, my husband and I discerned being open to having another baby. One month, two months, three and four went by. I tapped into the knowledge I had gained from working with Dr. Casey (Reising) Delcoco, and started with a battery of tests which included multiple appointments for charting, blood draws, and imaging. Then came the supplements, shots, and prescriptions.
In the midst of this, I was wanting something that took my mind off of what was missing and reorder it back to serving and loving God. We were also undergoing a major home renovation so that my mother could come and live with us. Someone locally, Liz Outzs, had started a new business venture called, The Little Catholic Box. She featured Catholic artisans and religious orders in a subscription box model. I had toyed with starting up a little side gig to honor the relationship I have with the Blessed Mother and to bring in a little something to help the cost of all these appointments and medication, a side of infertility, secondary or primary that is not talked about. I reached out to her and she immediately ordered 200 rosaries. After making them, I realized that the Lord was allowing me to serve Him, and my family in this way.
All of my products are a fruit of my own journey. Here is the full story of how a popular product, GOD IS FAITHFUL box set (bag, notepad, and pen) came to be.
When my first son was approaching a year, my husband and I prayerfully decided to try to conceive another baby. We did not anticipate it would be too hard. We found out we were expecting our first child just six weeks into our marriage. A few months went by and we had not conceived. We turned to our NaProTECHNOLOGY trained and certified doctor for answers. She rans tests. I started some medical intervention through vitamins, supplements, and even medication. My husband and I turned to the Lord.
I prayed. I bought a rather large pill keeper. We charted. We prayed. I got imaging. I got blood work. I gave myself shots. We begged. I cried. We cried.
Through my own private prayer, the phrase GOD IS FAITHFUL was ever present on my heart. What does that mean? What does that mean, especially when what I want is GOOD and God is not giving it to me? I spent the next year reflecting on this phrase in regards to my current struggle with secondary infertility.
After the 9th failed cycle, we made an appointment to discuss surgery. The office was booked three months out. I quickly did the math and realized this meant it would be a full twelve cycles by the time we met with the doctor. On the way to the appointment (it was a two-hour drive), I had a bit of a breakdown. Why God? Why is this happening? I know having children is a gift and not a right, but why would you deny us this? So many people do not even have one child. We are grateful for our child. Are we being greedy wanting two? There were so many questions. My husband and I were painfully honest with each other on that drive. We finally let the other know how much our heart ached.
This story ends differently for many people. Ours ended conceiving only days after that initial surgery consult. I never even needed surgery. Our second child was born into this world in late February. Our God is a faithful and there is no other that can do all He has done and all He can do. For me, God’s faithfulness in this journey meant He would not abandon me in this struggle. He walked it with us. His love was present in the doctors, my family, support from my friends and community, consolation in prayer. His love and faithfulness was ever present.
I wanted a product that honored the beautiful and sometimes hard truth that GOD IS FAITHFUL, always. In the joys, sorrows, waiting; He is always faithful. I chose a bag to put it on because I love high quality bags and it is a great evangelization piece. I once had a GREAT conversation with a woman in a McDonalds because of the quote on a bag I was carrying. I also wanted to include a pen and paper. Write a note to a loved one and they see your words and a reminder that GOD IS FAITHFUL. Write out your grocery list and see the beautiful truth that GOD IS FAITHFUL as you stroll the aisles. Keep the pen in your bag. If someone asks to borrow a pen then they see the message of truth that GOD IS FAITHFUL.
Tom: Wow…That’s a quite story! Where did you come up with the idea for your small business?
Allison: Golly, gee! It must have been seven to eight years ago. I was toying with the idea of starting a little side hustle. I did not want to do any MLM (multilevel marketing) companies and I wanted something that I could pour myself into that and also honored my faith. I remember chatting with a friend and the name of my shop just came out, “If I have a small business, I am going to call it, SMALL THINGS GREAT LOVE, because they will be small things made with great love.
Years and years ago, I learned how to make knotted rosaries. I remember this vividly. I was in high school on the way down to the March for Life. My youth minister taught me how to do it and he said that he would not give me more twine until I got the knot placement correct. I did and undid that same piece of twine eight, nine, ten times! Finally, I got it. I sold my first rosary for $5 to give to the ministry my uncle started, St. Luke Mission of Mercy, in Buffalo, NY.
Tom: The side hustle is a great thing. I understand that well. How do you see your small business as a tool for evangelization?
Allison: The New Evangelization for me has always been a person encountering another person in communion with the personhood of Jesus Christ. My products are handmade and are a direct result of my journey with the Lord. Each component of my products is chosen carefully and made with purpose. I like to think that besides offering a quality product, people purchase my products because these small things bring them closer to being fully alive in Christ.
Tom: If you have a quite few items for sale on your site, what are your top three most popular ones?
Allison: Number one is the Rosary pouch that boasts “to Jesus through Mary.” I love this as a true evangelization tool. Catholics do not worship Mary but simply ask for her intercession.
The second is my knotted rosaries. In the last two years, I have made over 2,000 knotted rosaries. I have been making them with using a wood bead for the “our father” and a unique crucifix I encountered over ten years ago that features the Blessed Mother beside Christ on the cross. This is known as the “sorrowful mother” or “Unity” crucifix.
The third item is the Be Not Afraid Bangle Bracelet. This bracelet is a hot item. The charm simply states BE NOT AFRAID in the handwriting of Pope St. John Paul II. It is accompanied with a mini miraculous medal and a St. Benedict medal.
Tom: It was great catching up with you and learning more about Small Things, Great Love.
Allison: Thanks, Tom. And thank you for bringing attention to my online business.
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Categories: Catholic Interviews