Marianeth Crockett saw the world and gained skills during her five years in the Navy, but it wasn't the ideal career for someone with such a strong creative spirit.
Today, the 31-year-old is doing what she loves, working as a photographer, branding consultant and designer of everything from logos to jewelry and home decor. Her business is called MCIDEATIVE, an acronym that combines her initials with the words "idea" and "creative."
Crockett worked out of her home until this month, when she opened a small studio in downtown O'Fallon.
"With entrepreneurship, you've just got to take risks," she said. "You never know if it will work until you try."
To introduce herself to the community, Crockett has launched a summer series of Makers Brunches on Saturdays and Makers Happy Hours on Wednesdays. Small groups will gather to make handcrafted items while socializing, shopping, listening to music, posing for photos, eating hors d'oeuvres and drinking champagne.
"The idea is to promote and celebrate the space, and provide an outlet for people to be creative and lose themselves in the art of creation," Crockett said.
Crockett was born in The Philippines to an American father and Filipino mother and moved to the United States as a child. She showed artistic talent and business sense early on by making friendship bracelets and selling them on the playground, writing scripts and performing plays.
Crockett earned an art and advertising degree at the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago in 2010 before joining the Navy.
"My whole family is military," she said. "They represent all the branches, and I knew one day I would serve my country. I didn't know how long I would stay, but I wanted to try it."
Crockett participated in tactical missions as an air crewman on C-130s. She also honed her photography skills as a public-affairs officer for her squadron.
After leaving the military in 2015, Crockett spent two months speaking at promotional events for a veteran-themed production in the PBS series "Roadtrip Nation." She also backpacked through Europe.
Crockett started designing and making earrings, bracelets, necklaces and other jewelry for gifts before she began selling it online and at art fairs. Today, she has two lines: Beautifi, an eclectic mix of styles and materials; and Kazaru, a higher-end collection of silver, gold and stones.
Crockett's photography includes proposal and engagement portraits and photos of products, food, travel and fashion.
"I also sell hand-picked and curated vintage clothing," she said.
Crockett is earning an MBA in design strategy from California College of the Arts in San Francisco. She's guided by the philosophy that everyone has a creative side and it's important for people of all ages to use their imaginations.
"The creative process should always be flowing and celebrated," she said.
Four Makers events are planned in June. People can customize the experience, choosing to make jewelry, home decor, luggage tags or natural spa products and labels.
The MCIDEATIVE studio occupies Suite 1D of the old Taylor Opera House building, 220 E. State St. in O'Fallon. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, noon to 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, visit www.mcideative.com or call 888-415-9707.