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Laura On: Happy Birthday Mom!

Thu, July 25, 2019

My mom, Dee, is celebrating a big birthday today, she is turning 80. I simply cannot believe it. And as we are busily readying the celebrations we will enjoy this week in her honor I couldn’t help but reflect on the life my mom has lived and what she means to me.

When people ask me questions such as, “How did you ever think you could create Coton Colors?” the thought rushes instantly into my mind - my family. And today I am particularly thinking of mom and all of her contributions to our company.

I am also often asked how I was inspired to start Coton Colors. I always start out with the fact that I loved art early on, and at this point is when my mom usually chimes in and claims the credit {loudly} that she was the one that “saw my passion and blossoming talent and drove me to art lessons all over Miami to foster my growth.” And she is right, my mom was the one who fostered my talent then and has been at it ever since.  

When I started this dream of having my own business it was my mom I turned to test the thought. When I floated my {then} small idea out to her, there wasn’t a whole lot of pondering or market research to the answer she gave, it was quickly and simply, “Do it,” which she immediately followed with {in true mom fashion}, “What do you need?” It is amazing how a single person believing in you provides you with the ability to believe in yourself.

When things got crazy and overwhelming, as start-up garage businesses often are, she would always be there to save the day. I remember many times her coming over to load her trunk and drive my just painted pottery to the kiln across town to be fired. And there were {and still are} countless other small acts through the years that allowed me to finish more orders, advance the company further, or simply pick up the carpool.

She was the one who put the ball in action to move out of my garage and into a studio. Some people have a knack for seeking opportunities everywhere and she is one of them. No matter what it is her mind is always open; that is a true gift.

And in that first pottery studio, she was the one loading the kilns, glazing pottery, packing boxes, shipping orders, writing into the UPS log, answering customer service calls, and selling Coton Colors pottery each and every day. For the past 22 years, she grew from kiln loader and account manager to retail store owner and an incredible merchant.  

What drives her? Accomplishing things. Not always big, giant things but simply the things that she wants to get done every day. She is a master at a to-do list, not written down mind you, but all kept “in her head.” She essentially invented what we like to call around here, the “Big 3” concept. She accomplishes her three “big” goals every single day – even on Sundays.

She also has provided some really insightful {and honest} design advice along the way, making her a valuable member of our product focus group. Something most people don’t know is she was the one who actually named our “Happy Everything!™” platter. Not sure to this day if our business would have been the same if I had moved forward with the “Merry Everything!” platter I originally created.

Through this fun birthday celebration week, I have often heard the amazement people have that she is actually 80 {including myself!} What keeps her young they ask? I believe it’s getting up every single day with a list, and not finishing until each thing is done. But the “true” sign of her supreme intelligence is that she knows when to pause and rest, which is something I truly admire and seek to do in my own life every day.

Words I often hear when people mention my mom:

One of a kind
Super intelligent
Tells you just as it is, without you even having to ask
Wizard card player
No nonsense
“Get ‘er done” attitude

Happy 80th Mom! I look forward to celebrating with you today and for many more years to come.




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