We had the good fortune of connecting with Marissa Hollings and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Marissa, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I have a very large family, therefor my thought process about starting my business was that I would be able to get my family involved to help me and then branch out to others with the knowledge of how my business would work, the process and steps needed to be done because I would have experience with the family first.

What should our readers know about your business?
I really appreciate this question, because a lot of people think this is just something that’s put together and it’s easy. This couldn’t be furthest from that mindset.

I am the Owner/ Publisher/ Editor in Chief of a quarterly magazine titled MHP Lounge. The magazine is geared towards Helping communities that are in need. The magazine started as a concept to get people on a magazine that were familiar such as a local celebrity or small business owners. Currently the magazine features up and coming artist from all walks of life, up and coming models, and small business owners. They are all, provided with a plate form to let the world (in MHP Lounge case- currently the small scope of less than 8000) know the talent they process the projects the are working on or towards and what services they offer. This also provides a great option to add to their resume if you will.

What sets this platform apart from others is that we take a large more established business ask them for an opportunity to advertise for them for a reasonable fee, then take the small business owners and creators and add them so that they are getting exposure and not having to pay for it while they work on getting to their goal. While they are working towards that goal it is important for them to stay ground and give back to a community that supports them. We do this by giving them the opportunity to give to the quarterly charity that MHP Lounge works with, either by just funding or with the purchase to gift.

MHP Lounge didn’t see a great deal of gifting to the charities when we rolled it out, so we created two umbrella companies (pending patent). The first is Bead It Out MHP Bead, which is beaded jewelry anyone can prepurchase on the site or personally, they are all hand made. This business is 100% donated in the following way, 60% is donated directly to the chosen charity and 40% covers the cost of more supplies.

The next company is titled G.L.O.W., is designed to be a natural skin care company, currently we are still in the process of working with merchant to supply product so that it is already in production and covered by all the legalities needed in a cosmetics line. The only available item currently, are lip balms, those sells are 100% donated to the quarterly charity, any lip balms not sold during that quarter is donated to local homeless citizens in Dallas/Fort Worth. We hope to soon go interstate, with that idea.

The charity is what I would defiantly say that I am most proud of, it makes me feel good that so many people are willing to help those in need. I am also proud of the artist, models, and small business owners that we work with some of them have been with MHP Lounge since we started in 2000 and to see them grow and reach the goals, they set makes me excited for them.

I got to where we are today by begging, pleading, and borrowing, I laugh as I type that because I am not exaggerating. I thought when I started, that my idea would be received at least my close friends and family as something great- this was not the case, I quickly learned that when you are applauding for you, there are people watching you as they sit on their hands (metaphorically speaking) I really got from 0 to over 7000 subscribers by speaking to, I must say hundreds of thousands of people, it is estimated that over 60% of people with say NO at least 4 times before they say yes- so you can imagine just how many people I spoke to about my business idea. It was and still is the biggest challenge I have had to endure in my life, this idea took about 8 years to become a reality.

Overcoming the challenge of either getting a big company to advertise on the magazine or getting my subscribers to donate either by making a purchase of just giving money or even to get non-subscribers to subscribe, I would have to say I overcame by clearing my head. I was in my headspace too much, to just ask for what I want or need, the challenge of turning an initial NO to a YES was daunting! What do they own me, I thought constantly, but then I started thinking, they owe me a little time?! I am helping them, so a small amount of time is absolutely what they own me, now it’s up to them to say NO thank you and chuck it up to time lost or say YES and create leads and business clients. I overcame by knowing my company and I are most defiantly worth the time.

Along the way I have learned that they people you think will be your best support system are never it, and you need to step out of your comfort zone and create a better support system that cannot fail you, and when or if it does you already have the skills to start that process again, in my experience anything done a second time is always easier. I have learned that people with use you until you now longer allow them to, I have learned that it may not always be better to give than to receive but it will always make you feel better. I have learned to listen to people and how they struggle with where they have had to get to where they are, and at times that is worse than my own experience. I have learned that not everyone that is in need is just waiting for a handout- they are waiting to be validated and treated equally to be able to move from a frighted place in their mind.

I was born in TX and raised in New Mexico, Roswell to be exact, and the question is already on everyone’s mind, no I have not seen an alien. Now I have seen things, but that’s a story for only those that believe. I was raised by Mexican immigrant parents that did not speak English, but I had enough sibling that did, so my first language was officially English. Communicating in Spanish for me growing up was difficult, sure I spoke it, but the stress and anxiety I felt of saying the words correct or conveying exactly what I wanted from my parents was always a challenge; with that said I never told my parents I loved them, nor did I hear the words getting said to me.

I love you, became my kryptonite. I struggled with relationships with both family and friends leading up to boyfriends due to those little (big to me) words I love you! I know I have always had the feeling, but feelings without expression made me a bit stoic. After being in a horribly abusive 3-year relationship with my son’s father; STOIC, was all that I became. I was called mean by a lot of people, but I knew that I wasn’t I just lacked something and couldn’t explain it. During my hell years, I was hungry with not hope for food many times, I was beaten and hurt, with no one to help me, I was lost when no one was looking for me. I came out of that situation of constantly going to the hospital for a “fall” and being broke and physically and spiritually broken to having tangible options to change my world around, it was at that phase in my life where I learned that it wasn’t love that I needed, it was “love” that I had to give.

I was asked by a blogger, what does love mean, to you? and I honestly told him, that is the hardest question he could have asked me, we both laughed, and then I gave my answer. Love to me is of a spiritual nature, it is something that is needed to be given to get, and it has no restraints, unconditional. We as human beings say the word love much too often and we also much too often don’t even know what it entails. I want the world to know that this magazine is committed to do all within it’s power to help those that want and need help at the lowest part of their lives.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I enjoy living in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, but to answer this question I would need to pretend I lived in Miami, Florida if my best friend was coming to visit me for a week, I must be bias here, I absolutely enjoy Miami.

My best friend arrives, and it is Monday morning in warm, sunny, and gorgeous Miami. We are going to the best little spot just outside the city in Hollywood, an Argentinian café by the name of Patagonia Nahuen Café, we are having some bakery style breakfast with a great strong coffee, followed by a delicious, shared dessert. The restaurant is right on South Ocean Dr, so we will walk to the beach to soak up the much-needed vitamin C, not to forget to grab our margaritas to enjoy oceanside. We catch up and some much needed details of our extremely interesting lives (LOL) do some reading, flirting and toe dipping, before heading to our Airbnb to shower and let Miami see us in all our glory. We arrive in by 11:00am for our yacht trip around Miami, we sip more margaritas and enjoy the city skyline by day, and dream of having one of the beautiful houses built nearby. We check out all the local shops and restaurants in the area. We end the day by enjoying a great laugh at one of the local comedy clubs. Tuesday we are driving to Key West Florida, that long stretch of Highway 1, just calls our name, we arrive after our 3 hours road trip, quickly jump on another Yacht sail an hour away in the open ocean and spend our day yet with more of our close friends- our margaritas. Wednesday, we must check out the very well-maintained botanical gardens, taking our time to take in the nature, we head over to the Everglades National Park, because we didn’t get enough of the beautiful scenery that nature has, to provide. The everglades remind us that less than 50 miles away from the busy Miami life full of Highrise buildings and lots of shopping there is a world of alligators in their national habitat, we take in everything the Everglades have to offer. Thursday we are going to the full of culture and life district known as Calle Ocho, 8th street the entire day. Who would think that you can spend an entire day on one street and do so many interesting enjoyable things! We start with breakfast in a restaurant known as the house of Cuban coffee name La Colada we have their famous croissants and the strong rich Cortado, which is a double shot of Espresso and steamed milk. We make our way to the Little Havana to go- it’s a local store that houses official souvenir items, and Our margaritas quickly take a back seat to be temporally replaced by Mojitos a popular Cuban drink which consists of rum, lime, mint, and sugar with a little hint of vacation in each portion. We check out all the Cuban memorabilia, crafts, and artwork. We walk over to the tropical supermarket too compare it with our everyday grocery stores, mind you we are still on Calle Ocho. Evening has set upon us, and we find ourselves in the local Cuban cigar shop, as we watch some of the pros make, cut, and roll the sweet-smelling cigars we learn about the history, and different tastes and scents. We made reservations to the always busy, very popular restaurant Versailles Restaurant of Cuban Cuisine; it is one of the oldest family-owned restaurants in Miami on Calle Ocho. We head over same street, to Casa Tiki, we find ourselves get getting some more laughs in, Casa Tiki is a night life entertainment spot that offers dancing and comedy, still sipping on our bottomless mojitos. We head over to Ball and Chain the world-famous bar & lounge on Calle Ocho, we listen to the wonderful sounds of the ball & chain trio that sound as if they were born with a trumpet on their hands! We try and keep up with the experts n Mambo dancing, with our two left feet. Guantanamera café and Lounge is our next stop the drinks kick up a notch and the dancing became easier; this place is incredible with the making of cigars on one end and the pouring of lots of alcohol on the other end.

Friday, we are making our way to one of my best breakfast spots in Miami Honey Uninhibited where they make the best crème brulee French toast! We head over too Wynwood Walls, it is a sectioned off area where artist around the globe come to bless Miami with their artful skills in street art known as graffiti. An outdoor museum that was started in the late 2000s the walls are covered with expression art from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the US. It is an impressive walk. We make our way to South Beach, for lunch we walk (excuse my not so French word) into Bacon Bitch, and share a fancy bitch sandwich, those are the real names, and really good by the way. We hop on to the speed boat waiting for us and enjoy the fast tour of the area while also feeling the waves. We start the drinking challenge much earlier, it is after all the last day in Miami, we take our time to see all the attractions in the city and check out some museums before heading to Story, one of the best night clubs in Miami, our night is full of bright lights, a lot of alcohol and endless dancing.

The most exciting people are those that are open to new ideas, have a selfless approach to everything, and don’t take everything to serious. These are the people that usually are able to enjoy any type of scene or situation.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?

I would like to say some family and close friends certainly deserve to get a huge shootout for the support and assistance some of them have provided. The biggest support unfortunately but fortunately came from people I didn’t even know, I met a lot of people through social media and my biggest supporters came from TikTok and Snapchat. Currently the subscribers range from the ages of 18-57, they are mostly male readers with about 11% more male subscribers than female – as guessed by the name they use to subscribe. The magazine has subscribers all over the US and currently proud to say in Mexico, the biggest support comes from North Carolina with over 800 subscribers that’s 10% of my total subscribers from North Carolina. The total as of today is 7609. Thank you NC!

Website: www.mhplounge.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mphlounge/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mhphoto

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MHPLounge

Facebook: https://facebook.com/MHPLounge

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6_6vKL9SMMKPyTDOkuWFzA

Other: TikTok https://www.tiktok.com/@marissa_mhp_lounge_mag

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.