NC State alum connects with kids by making fancy faces

April 10, 2012
By Caitlin Barrett

After a family trip to Disney World in 2010, Kathy Risley ’96 discovered a great way to connect with her kids after leaving her job to become a stay-at-home mom.

dsc_00012Risley graduated from NC State with a degree in education, but decided not to teach after her enthusiasm for it waned. She moved to Wilmington and went to work for the American Cancer Society and UNC-Wilmington. But nothing suited her as well as staying home with her kids.

“I love being a homemaker and staying home with my family and that has been my number one priority forever,” she says. “That our kids have a strong sense of family has always been important for me.”

During the Disney trip, Risley was inspired to connect with her kids in a creative way after she saw her daughter get her face painted like a tiger.

“I mean, she became a tiger,” she says. “I thought I would love to try to figure out how to do that. It would be a great way to connect with my kids.”

dsc_00174Risley, who loves to craft and try creative things, had never seriously painted a day in her life when she ordered face paints and brushes and began to try out her new passion.

“If I have to draw a picture of a tiger I can’t do that,” she says, “but I can paint the features on your face and the shading to make your face look like a tiger.”

Risley continued to practice on any kids who wanted their faces painted and her new hobby quickly became popular. Her kids, who were once so excited to have their faces painted, have lost interest.

“Every time I pull my paints out they are like ‘Oh, got to go outside and play,'” Risley laughs.

Even though her kids got over her hobby, friends suggested Risley turn it into a business. Although she did not like the idea of charging for her work, Risley enjoyed interacting with kids and meeting new people. Creating a business was a good way to cover the cost of her supplies.

dsc_00242The business, Making Faces, has only been up and running since November, but Risley is excited by its success. “In this economy, trying to do something different is hard but fun, and it worked out good,” she says.

“I really just want to do something that’s enjoyable, and allows me to spend time with my family,” she says. “If it grows and I’m able to earn a little bit of extra money, to me, that’s the best thing in the world.”

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