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Lemons to lemonade feature #12: April McCray

Wednesday, November 26, 2008
For April McCray and her family, the dream of owning their own business became a reality in 2008 due to major sacrifices they were all willing to make. You could say they decided to trade one dream for another.

Color Me House, which was inspired by a passion for creativity and her husband's tales of childhood memories, produces fun and creative playhouses and forts made out of eco-friendly, recyclable white cardboard that children can decorate. The mission of the company is to encourage children to use their imaginations and be creative.

April, mom of three - ages 12, 11 and two, believes that "art is healthy and stimulating for us all, in fact it is actually "healing therapy" at many clinics and hospitals around the world". On the eve of Thanksgiving, I feel April's story is particularly inspiring. Here is her story...

How has this economy affected you, your business and your family?
The downturn in the economy has had a major impact on the business and my family. We wanted to proceed with caution as we knew the economy would bring about challenges. In order to keep moving forward and strive for success, many sacrifices would need to be made. Our biggest sacrifice was giving up our dream home!

How are you making lemonade from lemons?
We decided to rent out our home in order to cover monthly business expenses. It was a sacrifice we were all willing to make to build a future for our family. Freeing up critical income could be the difference between failure and success. It was a tough choice at first, however, when we look at the wonderful business we have created with Color Me House and how much kids and parents love our product - we know it was worth it!

Making sacrifices can be a blessing in disguise. During times like these, we reflect on what is most important in our lives and count the blessings that we have. If we focus on this new perspective, we gain new energy that will take us anywhere we want to go.

Any encouraging words you would like to offer mom entrepreneurs?
Stay positive! Running your own business comes with many challenges along the way. Be flexible and this will help you to keep moving forward. Also, have a backup plan for your business. If things change, like the economy for example, you need to be able to adapt quickly. Challenge yourself to prepare a business plan or two that reflect a more conservative approach. This way when challenges arise you will be prepared to make decisions in your best interest. Lastly, don’t give up!

For more information, visit or You can also email April at The Color Me House products are in many stores throughout Portland, OR and are available to purchase online.