Flushing Native Builds Business Focused On Creative Classrooms
There always seems to be a special saying when in comes to amazing teachers...."They were born to teach". It's something that just comes through in how they interact with students, and the passion they put behind everything they do, including the way they create a special learning environment.
After years as an educator herself, Flushing native Melanie Ralbusky, who holds a degree in Elementary Education, a Masters in the Art of Teaching, and an Education Specialist degree in School Administration, knew the teaching world well. She found that a creative classroom was a happy classroom....and Schoolgirl Style was born.
"Teachers are in their classrooms more than they are at home. Their space should make them feel happy and comfortable. I taught for 20 years and it's hard. I found that classroom decor can actually bring joy and happiness to a space despite how hard it can be. When you decorate your home with things that you love, it makes you feel good. The same goes for the classroom...when a teacher decorates the space - they are creating a home for themselves and their incoming students. It becomes very personal", she told us in a interview.
Ralbusky, a 1991 graduate of Flushing High School, started the company in 2011 with the idea of creating DIGITAL classroom decor for teachers. The concept, a first of its kind, allowed teachers to buy the pdf file, download the products, print it out on their home printer, then DECORATE! What originally started as classroom banners, nametags, nameplates, labels, locker tags, etc. has grown into so much more.
Now, 10 years later, the company is a power house source of creativity for teachers across the country. Schoolgirl Style has an impressive base of a loyal community topping over 150,000 followers on social media. The line is currently sold in over 10,000 stores nationally, including Amazon, Staples, Target, Lakeshore Learning, Office Depot, as well as all locally-owned teacher stores. Ralbusky also has an incredible select designs available through her exclusive collaboration with Carson Dellosa Education.
Investing in the Community
Ralbusky, who retired from teaching last year to concentrate on the business, has now brought her business "home". She recently opened a Schoolgirl Style store in downtown Flushing.
"I wanted to come back to my hometown of Flushing to invest in the town I grew up in and support the community. We have recently hired 25 employees and we continue to grow rapidly. Opening the storefront has given me a way to connect with my customers. I love to see what they choose for their classrooms and what they need or what they are looking for. I've dedicated my life to helping teachers. Giving teachers the tools they need to create beautiful and organized spaces is my purpose. I love what I do!"
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