Fashion = Passion for Scottsdale Mom & Ava Rose Designs Owner {plus $25 GIVEAWAY}


There was once a time in my life when I had literally entire weekends all to myself to follow fashion. I would leisurely, child-lessly, peruse the shops of Scottsdale Fashion Square, Kierland Commons, and the Biltmore just casually shopping for clothes. These were the days of popping into multiple stores (not just looking in the windows), the days of actually trying things on, and the days of having no idea where the splash pad, play center, or merchants that sold juice boxes were even located. Ahh.. The high-fashion good old days!

While those idle shopping Saturdays may now be in my past, there is still a little fashionista left in me and thankfully she has found her salvation at the hands of another Scottsdale Mom turned designer Melanie Santarius, and the fabulous clothing line she created, Ava Rose Designs.

Now if we’re being honest, part of me thinks I should really keep this great style discovery quiet…but I just can’t seem to help myself from sharing. Every time I wear any of my Ava Rose items I get a million compliments and, for some reason, I immediately feel the need to tell every person who mentioned my outfit all about Melanie and Ava Rose Designs. Her clothes are simply too great and her personal story too interesting not to share!

In 2008, Melanie Santarius was a Scottsdale mom to her 3- year old son Luke and expecting her soon-to-be daughter, Ava. It was hardly a stage in life most people would think of starting a brand new business. Yet in a bittersweet way, she knew it was the right time to follow the inspiring and challenging words of wisdom her father had given her before he passed away. So that November (at 9-months pregnant!!!) Melanie decided to follow her interests in design and begin persuing her dreams in fashion. Though she says that her original intention was just to have fun, her idea has grown into a phenomenal clothing line, Ava Rose Designs.

Here’s more from an amazingly talented Scottsdale Mom, Melanie Santarius on turning her passion into a business, her life now at a mompreneur, and her fashion advice for any style-struggling Scottsdale moms.

Q: Whether being a full time stay-at-home mom or balancing outside work and motherhood, so many moms feel overwhelmed with the enormous task and workload of raising young children. Yet you actually started a business? How on Earth did you not find that to be a daunting proposition?

It was the most difficult time in my life. I was still grieving the loss of my father, the economy took a nose-dive, which had a heavy negative financial impact on my broadcast advertising career, and I was pregnant with daughter Ava. At that time I knew in my heart that I had found my peace in this little business as well as helping my husband and I supplement our incomes during those tough times. This peace gave me energy I never thought I had to get through those late nights of working until 2am, waking up at 6am to get the kids off to school/daycare, and then off to my day job. When you truly love what you do, you will do everything and sacrifice anything at every angle to pursue it, as long as my family, of course, comes first.

Q: How has being a mom influenced your business or possibly your designs?

Comfort and durability is key as a mom. Being a business owner and how I represent my brand is very important to me. I have tried to create a happy medium when it comes to my designs, to  give my consumers and myself a variety of ways and places to wear my designs.

Q: What are the added challenges (or  the unexpected advantages) of starting a clothing line and being a mom?

Some added challenges of starting a clothing line are learning how to be patient when it comes to the creative process in order to make sure the quality of a piece has been perfected. I have to prioritize my time when it comes to the business side vs. the creative side. I could sit and develop ideas all day long, but keeping the business up to speed, and my kids schedules in line is critical.

Some unexpected advantages of starting a clothing line are the amazing friends I have met and relationships that have been created. I have also been introduced to so many non-profit organizations that I have been able to support locally and nationally. These experiences have really educated my children a lot about life and the people around them.

Q: What fashion advice would you give to busy moms in Scottsdale–especially ones who may not feel like they have the time or a really good reason to worry about how they look :)? 

Labels and trends aren’t everything! Timeless, basic pieces can go a long way in your wardrobe and can eliminate several shopping trips, allowing you to spend more time with your family. Also, as we get older and our kids grow up there is less time for us, which can lead to less time trying to have that perfect body we had back in our early 20’s. From an image standpoint Scottsdale can be intimidating. If you’re sick of trying to squeeze on your pants or zipper into that dress, it is ok to go up a size. Nobody is going to know but you!  Ironically, by going up a size your clothes will lay on you much smoother and make you look slimmer. Confidence is everything!

Q: What else do you want the to let the moms of Scottsdale know about you and Ava Rose Designs?

At Ava Rose Designs we really try to listen to our customers’ needs and what works best for them when it comes to their wardrobe. Our contemporary style is timeless, functional for most body types, colorful, comfortable and affordable for the busy mom who does not have time to walk the mall every week, those on a budget, or those who just want to feel good about themselves. If it weren’t for you moms we would not be where we are today. Thank you!


Ava Rose Designs is providing one lucky Scottsdale Moms Blog reader with a $25 Gift Certificate!

As usual, to be entered to win you have to do a little something… See details below.


In it to WIN IT:

*One entry per person per method of entry. Be sure to enter a separate comment for each method of entry (one comment for Facebook, one comment for Twitter, etc.). This way you have a higher chance of winning.

1. COMMENT: Tell us about your favorite article of clothing right now! What item do you most love to put on and feel fantastic wearing?

2. TWITTER: Tweet about the giveaway – just copy and paste this message into your tweet – Hey! @ScottsdaleMoms is giving away a $25 Gift Certificate to @AvaRoseDesigns – then leave a comment below saying you did so.

3. FACEBOOK: Like Ava Rose Desgins on Facebook – then leave a comment below saying you did so.

Giveaway ends Friday September 21st. Winner will be chosen at random and notified by email over the weekend. Good luck!


  1. My favorite article of clothing right now would be…simple…jeans and a tank top. I love the simple and comfy feel of it! With some cute jewelry!

  2. My fave piece of clothing right now would have to be a cotton black scoop neck knee length dress. It is cute, casual and can be accessorized to meet any occasion.

  3. Oh my goodness, I’m pretty sure I worked with Melanie many moons ago at the Hyatt!!! What a small world. I love her sweet dresses as those are my go to item right now. Something soft & flowy that lets me be a mom! Plus, I think dresses can be most flattering on every figure type.

  4. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is needed to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost
    a pretty penny? I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% positive. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  5. My favorite article of clothing is my dark-wash jeans. I absolutely love wearing them because they are so comfortable and can be dressed up with heels and a nice top or dressed down. Jeans are timeless and always my go-to item. 🙂

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