We had the good fortune of connecting with Zoe Madewell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Zoe, how does your business help the community or world?
Music saved my life. I grew up in extreme poverty as the oldest of 10 children. There was no money for music or ballet lessons. It was my beautiful Bubbies, my grammas who brought art and culture into my life. Every year they would give me $25 for my birthday and XMAS. I saved it up and bought my first guitar. This guitar is now hanging on the wall of my music school. The music school in Irving that made history on the day of it’s opening in 2016. This music school, opened by a single mom, and a self-taught musician, has won 2 biz awards and been nominated for National Music School of the Year 2020. I didn’t open a music school to run a business. I opened the music school to share my passion. My mission. To give children the gift of music, now when they need it most. To give our community, and now the world, because of Covid, we have switched to both online and inperson lessons, a way to have music and ballet lessons in one location. I’ve seen first hand the benefits of early music education with my own children. They have been offered full rides to college, and my oldest daughter was accepted into 5 med schools. Music is proven to increase IQ, test scores and cognitive development. But that is not why I’m passionate about teaching music, and bringing it now to hundreds of children. Music and dance, allow children a safe space to express their feelings. As the world is coming out of a world-wide Pandemic, children need a place to put their feelings into their feet and fingers. Now more than ever. Music is the miracle that will save the world. One note. One child at a time.
Please tell us more about your career. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Imagine a little girl growing up so poor as the oldest of 10 children in a hope that had no indoor plumbing. Imagine a little girl being raised in a hippie commune, hidden from the world, terrified that the world was going to end. Imagine a little girl who never went to high school, managing to graduate college, make history and open her city’s first music school that was just nominated National Music School of the Year. I am that little girl, and these are words taken from the back cover of my book that I just finished, about my life and the stories of 7 dreamers who never gave up.
My road to my success has not been easy. I taught myself to play on an old donated piano with sticky keys and in under 4 years I opened my music school, added a ballet school, started an orchestra at my kids underfunded charter school, won 2 biz awards and was recognized in a national women’s magazine. I think my past, my struggles are the key to my success. I wouldn’t trade my poverty for privilege. It has made me more humble. More grateful.
I’ve learned that it is only through giving joy, that I am able to get joy. When I am teaching, and see the incredible spark and passion for music I ignite in a child’s life, it helps me to know I am not running a business. I am changing the world. One child. One note at a time. It’s not about doing big things. It’s about doing small things with great love. And music. Dance. I know what is it like to not be able to afford them. So the joy I get when I see children learning, growing and falling in love with the arts is what is my purpose. My WHY. If we don’t have a reason. A WHY behind our core business model. Then we will fail. Our WHY must be so passionate to us, that we will work 7 days a week. And never believe in failure. Or quitting. I will never give up. Because this is what my purpose is on this earth. And nothing will stop me. Not even a world-wide Pandemic.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love this question! I grew up in California, so I guess 12 years here makes me Texan enough. I LOVE Bishop Arts! It gives me a chance to support other small biz owners, especially women that I know who have boutiques there, and also hear live music! I would start at the great coffee shop Espumoso… then grab an early dinner at Boulevardier which has the BEST french onion soup in the world…besides Belgium where I lived for a year and a half…then I would stroll outside and listen to the live street musicians performing…while walking with my Bailey’s Bourbon popscicle from Picole’s. So yes. I’m a Bishop Arts girl if I have a night out. If it was a long weekend, I would take them close to home in Irving, and hit up Hugo’s and Via Real. Both local biz that simply set the bar for excellence from food to customer service. I eat intentiionally. I like to dine where I know it’s making a difference to a biz owner who is sacrificing everything to make their dream come true. I also like to dine and learn how to up the customer service at my own business. We can always improve, and I’m blessed to constantly be asking questions, trying to network and learn and always trying to pivot and find better ways to serve my clients.
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?
There are so many people who I credit my success to. I am a single mom, with no business experience and I wanted to open a commercial location, my city’s first school for performing arts. I credit the SCORE program at Irving Chamber of Commerce. My incredible mentors, Chuck and Stan, helped me to navigate the many, many hurdles to opening and running what is now 2 businesses. I owe them so much! I went from not knowing anything about a Profit and Loss sheet, to learning that Gross is GOOD…not just barf and boogers. I am grateful to Marty Fort and the Music Academy Success program, which gave me an actual blue-print for running my music and ballet school successfully. The constant support and encouragement from top music school owners from around the world I have met in this program have been a life saver as I have been able to navigate how to collaborate, pivot and thrive during one of the hardest times in small biz history. I’m grateful for all the women small biz networking groups I’m in. We are constantly encouraging each other, collaborating and helping eachother think outside the box for creative and innovative solutions to our new and uncharted Post Covid world.