Nov 16 at 11:59am

Local mum-maker gives back to community through beloved Texas tradition

by Audrey Seykora

When Misty Odenweller went to buy a homecoming mum for her sophomore son’s date, she wanted to splurge.  

"I'm normally a very practical person, but something got into me," Misty said. My daughter had graduated from high school the year before, and I had more homecoming dollars in my budget, so I went for it. I spoke with a very popular mum designer and was told to pick out add-ons. I had no idea how much those add-ons were going to add to my bill.”

When she went to pick up the final product, Misty says she was shocked by the price tag.

"It was $400, and that ate at me for an entire year. All I could think about was the good I could have done with that amount of money.”

Making mums for good

That feeling stuck with her, and during her son’s junior year, Misty decided to make a mum for his date on her own. She had crafting experience, and after the urging of a friend, gave it a try. And it turns out, she was pretty good at it.

"The funny thing is that when the mother of my son's date saw my work, she asked if I'd make his garter, too.”

As her accidental side business took off, Misty decided she wanted it to be more about ministry than money. At the time, Misty’s son was attending Northland Christian School, so she opted to donate all of the next several year’s profits to the school’s tuition assistance program.  

Now, when a client mentions he or she is supporting a specific group, Misty donates $10 of the order back. In addition to making an impact on an organization, each mum is given personal attention and care from Misty and Shaw Smith, her friend who now dresses and accessorizes each stuffed bear that goes onto a mum.

"This is really a service and ministry for me,” Misty said. "I pray over each mum or garter and put a bible verse on the back. This year’s verse was Psalm 37:4: ‘Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.’”   

Thanks to her generosity and unique touches, Misty has developed a devoted clientele. Many students have even had her create their mums or garters each year of their entire high school careers.

"I recently had a senior who picked up her final mum from me,” Misty said. "She was so excited, she hugged me twice. That makes all the work worth it.”  

The making of mum-stocities

As Misty has watched her business grow, she’s seen requests for bigger mums become more popular.

"Mums are a tradition farther back than I even know,” Misty said. "Originally you may have had a fresh mum with a few ribbons, and if you were really lucky, you received a double mum with some trinkets and a little cowbell on your ribbons.”

But times have changed, and as any true Texan knows – bigger is better.

"I’ve had people tell me they want the gaudiest thing I can create. I tell them I don’t do gaudy -- I only do beautiful.  Others just want something that’s personalized or themed.”

Despite Misty’s attention to detail and unique designs, she says her pricing isn’t on the high-end. She strives to keep her creations reasonable. In fact, her average is about $150. 

"I discuss prices upfront and have an open conversation about how much each person is willing to spend,” Misty said. "I learned that the hard way. I don’t want clients to be surprised when they pick up their dream mum or garter.  That would ruin the moment.”  

To learn more about Misty’s business, Mumstrocities by Misty, click here.

Mums are an important part of football season in Texas. The Woodlands’ newest promotion, The Gridiron Giveaway, celebrates football, family and friends. Learn more here.

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"I’ve had people tell me they want the gaudiest thing I can create. I tell them I don’t do gaudy -- I only do beautiful." -Misty Odenweller, Mumstrocities by Misty

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