Mom Boss Interview: CallieJo Schilling from Usborne Books & Backyard Creations

Alright, ladies and gentlemen, moms and dads: I am so so so excited about today's Mom Boss, as she is not only extremely inspirational and talented, but also a distant relative on my husband's side that I just met (thanks, Aunt Paulette!). Side Hustle Mom: Meet CallieJo Schilling. CallieJo is an amazing wife, mom, and business woman who is not only hardworking, but smart, as she holds both a Bachelors in Elementary Education AND a Masters in Teaching and Learning. (Major #goals, right?) Without further ado, here is the incredible CallieJo:


CallieJo, you wear A LOT of hats in your family, but I know the most important of all is that of wife and mother. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?

I am a South Dakota girl born and raised on a farm/ranch by Lowry, SD. I met my husband, Jess, when we both were working at the Akaska Bait Shop. He was a fishing/hunting guide and part-time bartender. We got married in 2009, that same year my husband also worked on the farm for my parents. I taught 1st grade, Title I Reading and Math, and Kindergarten for 5 years. In that time, we had our son Eli (5 yrs now) and daughter Raelynn (3 yes now). January 2013 I started Backyard Creations, my embroidery/sewing business, while teaching and helping on the farm. After my daughter was born in 2015, I went to work full time on the farm, continued running Backyard Creations, and that fall I was able to continue my love for teaching and reading by becoming an Usborne Books and More Consultant.

You grew up on a farm and still help out quite a bit with the day-to-day work that comes with this vital profession. What is your job in running the ranch and what does it entail?

On the farm, I am a hired hand and also help do the bookkeeping. So during planting season, I help my dad and husband with the planting. This time of year we are also calving our cows and heifers so I assist with this too, making sure that the calves are born, tagged, given their shots, and kept healthy. Throughout the summer I help with checking the cows in the pasture, helping my dad and husband with spraying the fields and other day to day farm duties. When fall comes, I run grain cart during harvest and when we bring the cows home from pasture we assist with feeding cows. Year round I’m assisting with the book work, so I’m helping keep track of what is done to each field and putting all the expenses and income into the computer for tax purposes. Also,I assist my mom with other secretary duties for the farm.

As if that didn't keep you busy enough, you are also an Usborne Books distributor (which is one of the very few direct sales companies I will buy from, which should tell you something about the quality of these books)! How long have you been working with Usborne and what has it done for your family?

I have been with Usborne Books and More since August of 2016. I love reading and want to share my love of reading and literacy with as many children as possible. This last January, I signed was able to become and educational consultant as well. This business has helped my family purchase supplies to finish our basement, but Christmas presents, and also add to our kids’ future CDs.

Do you have tips for any moms (or dads!) out there thinking of becoming an Usborne Consultant?

Usborne Books and More is so great, they are flexible and allow you to work your own schedule. I have been able to hold parties, cards for a cause fundraisers, and book fairs all around my busy schedule. I figure out what days/nights I have available and want to work and they start to fill those dates with parties or our other programs we offer. So I make my schedule and follow as best as I can, making sure I set aside at least four 20 minute periods throughout the week for me to work on this business.

In addition to raising a family, farming, AND selling Usborne, you also run a sewing and embroidery business! How did you get started with this?

My love for sewing started back when I was 7 years old and began sewing my own clothes for 4-H. I loved creating new outfits, quilts, and many other projects every year. Each year I would spend many hours sewing with my grandma and entering these projects in 4-H. I became fascinated with embroidery and the machines when I was 9 and set the goal to own my own machine someday. In January 2013, my husband and I purchased my 10 needle embroidery machine and started Backyard Creations. I started with doing embroidery and sewing work for family, friends, and some local customers. Now I have been kept busy with sewing quilts, Hooded ponchos, embroidering caps, t-shirts, coats and much more.

If you don't mind my asking, what was the investment you had to make in starting your embroidery business (buying machinery, materials, etc.)? Would you say it has paid off? Would you recommend it to other creative moms?

My investment in my embroidery/sewing business was purchasing an embroidery machine and all the supplies (stabilizers, bobbins, threads, and such). I also purchased some sweaters, caps, baby blankets and etcetera to stitch on. One nice thing is I had already owned my own sewing machine from years of sewing in 4-H. This has paid off. I’ve learned many things from this business and have accomplished many things. I’m in the process of finding and purchasing a long arm quilting machine to help with putting the many t-shirt quilts together. I love seeing my daughters interest in this business at three years old. If you have something you love to do, for example sewing or creating thing, think about how you can use that ability/hobby to help your family out. It feels great to be able to help my family out by doing what I love.

What does a day in your shoes look like? With all the hats you wear, I am guessing you get maybe a solid 3 hours of sleep each night, right? (Seriously, how do you do it all?!)

Every day is different depending on the time of year. Right now my day consists of waking up early to get my son ready for school, eat breakfast, and get on the bus. Then I try to fit in a 30 minute workout (for some me time ) and then get my daughter up and ready for the day. Within this time my husband has been up and gone to the farm for the day. Once my daughter is ready, we head out to help on the farm. Many times she rides with me in the tractors and things and other times my mom watches her so I can help my dad and husband with other things on the farm (checking cows, planting, etc). Most times I’m able to be home by 4 pm when my son gets off the bus (except for harvesting, that time of year it’s closer to 9 pm before I get home). I spend time with my two kiddos doing homework, playing games and exploring the outdoors. After supper, the kids are to bed usually around 7:30 and then I begin to multi-task on my embroidery/sewing projects and covering what needs to be done with my Usborne Books and More business until my husband gets home. I guess you can say I’m a lady who doesn’t usually need a ton of sleep. There are some nights, when the farm has kept me busy for a few days, that I work on my embroidery/sewing projects until the wee hours of the nights just so I can finish a project or two. I just seem to find time here and there and use it to accomplish what I can. I guess you can say I love to keep busy.

Okay, now if you absolutely HAD to choose, which job would you say is your favorite?

Oh my, to choose which job is my favorite is super hard. I absolutely love being on the farm helping my dad and husband while being able to raise my two kids the way I grew up on the farm and enjoying the outdoors. I’m able to spend lots of time with my family, which is my favorite thing to do. This wouldn’t be possible with the hard work from my husband and my Backyard Creations and Usborne Books and More businesses; which, I love completely. My Usborne Books and More business has brought me some awesome new friendships and meeting people from all over the United States while sharing books and the importance of reading with kids and young adults. My Backyard Creations business allows me to make time for my favorite hobby of sewing.