Carissa Miller: Encouraging each other to get uncomfortable
Carissa Miller believes in taking chances. A little over four years ago, a seed was planted in her heart, and she felt a shift that resulted in a decision to pivot from a successful photography business to a full lifestyle brand. Admittedly, her leap of faith was scary but resulted in exponential growth both personally and professionally in the Home Décor and Lifestyle Brand, CC and Mike Creative, that she and her husband, Mike, have built together.
Carissa’s outgoing and vibrant personality shines through her social media feed, which is full of real-life parenting of their tween and teens, easy recipes, budget-friendly fashion, and of course, beautifully curated home design.
In addition to all the success, there have been plenty of failures along the way. But, she has embraced those by learning lessons and pivoting their business to scale dramatically in a span of four years all because she took a chance, stepped out of her comfort zone and got uncomfortable!
CC: I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Michael, and we have three amazing kids.
TK: How did your company, CC and Mike Creative, get started?
CC: Four years ago, I updated my Instagram account, and that started this incredible journey. I was feeling a shift to rebrand and take the word photography out of my business name and become more of a lifestyle brand. My husband and I had always designed and built our own homes, so I decided to post a photo of our bedroom. After sharing that photo, everything took off!
TK: What feelings did you have related to your rebranding?
CC: I felt inspired to share a lot of different things but was very nervous about how it was going all to turn out. I really didn’t have a plan other than putting myself out there. I pushed through the doubt and took action! I am so passionate about sharing this message. If a seed is planted, you can’t just let it lay dormant and expect something to happen. You have to take action! There is a part of us who seeks others approval, especially from those we love. I had all those thoughts of failure and embarrassment, but I just did it anyway! You have to push through the fear!
TK: Share a little about how you approach your role as mom to your three kids:
CC: I think I’m strong; always challenging my kids to be the best version of themselves; to be honest, self-aware, and fearless and to go after their goals and dreams. I tell my kids that failure is just an opportunity to learn. When you look at it like that, you don’t have to be so afraid of it. Our kids have been a huge part of this transition of growing and scaling our businesses; they’ve been in the trenches. I talk very openly with my kids about the struggles and the successes.
TK: What do you enjoy most and what do you find most challenging about being a mom?
CC: I enjoy encouraging them in their goals and dreams. I just helped my daughter start her own business, EmmyM Designs. I will admit, the challenging part of helping her took a huge amount of time and energy on our part. The easier thing to do would have been not to encourage this endeavor, but I know in the long run that this is a seed that is going to grow into something beautiful for her.
TK: What is your favorite thing to do as a family?
CC: We have an RV that we’ve renovated. Some of our best family memories are jumping in our RV and taking off; we’ve been all over! We also love going to Oklahoma State University football games and events!
TK: Do you have a personal mission statement? If so, what is it?
CC: Great things never come from comfort zones – get uncomfortable! I tell that to my kids! We just renovated our teenage son’s room and painted those words on his wall. He’s at an age where I just want to encourage him to take that step and take action! Don’t worry about failure!
TK: Why does this message resonate so strongly with you?
CC: I’m so passionate about this message! It’s something I want to talk more about and eventually write about in the future. If any part of sharing my story could be that piece of the puzzle that can help someone take their next step, just think where that journey can lead! I think there’s so many people out there not living out their passion and not doing what they are created to do because they are stuck in their comfort zone. You’ve got to get uncomfortable!
TK: What do you consider is key to making a “happy” home?
CC; There are so many things! That’s why I enjoy DIY and look for less because it’s not about what you spend. Strip it down and think about surrounding yourself with what you love and makes you feel at peace.
TK: If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you do with your life?
CC: I would be traveling and writing and doing exactly what I’m doing now. I think it would be so cool to take our family on the road to do more travel projects. We have people who contact us from around the nation, so we’re starting to travel to build custom dream homes.
TK: What do you enjoy most about your work?
CC: The reveals – seeing my vision come to life!
TK: Where do you find your inspiration?
CC: I have some designer friends who I enjoy following on Instagram. But I’m creative by nature, so without a doubt, I’ve learned when I walk into a space and trust my vision for what I see to just go with it!
TK: What have you been most surprised by in your business?
CC: To know that I’m inspiring what people are doing in their own homes and being tagged on Instagram. To even be mentioned is very special and humbling to me. When I started this four years ago, I couldn’t even have imagined what this has turned into.
TK: How do you let yourself be vulnerable enough to share your life on social media?
CC: I don’t know any other way. Honesty, to me, is everything. It doesn’t feel right not share the struggles. It’s just easier to be authentic.
TK: What’s next for CC and Mike Creative?
CC: We’re working on some very high-end, custom projects, including one in Arkansas. We are also teaming up with two sponsors, HGTV Dream Home Tour and Delta Faucets, as we work on a home in South Tulsa.
To listen to the full interview, check out the Sharing Passion and Purpose Podcast by Nancy Moore on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Podcasts, I Heart Radio and Amazon Music.