The Greatest Gift

I may have read this quote a hundred and one times.  It speaks to me in a way that I really needed to hear these past few months.

“Never be afraid to fall apart because it is an opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you wished you had been all along.” – Rae Smith

Matilda Jane started because a former boss said “you’ll never be a blip on the radar.”  Matilda Jane grew because you welcomed us into your hearts and homes.


Matilda Jane was never something I dreamed about doing.  I’ve always had the dream, and hoped, that I could be some part of a change for the greater good.  Matilda Jane was the vehicle I used to make that dream happen.


And in light of all the changes that have taken place over the past couple of years I think it’s time to tackle my dream with 100% of me.  I’m ready to make a change.


My heart and mind have been battling a lot these days – I decided I’m just gonna take the risk.  After all, I have always said, “the greatest risk of all is not taking one.”  I have decided to step down as the lead designer of Matilda Jane. I will still be keeping my seat on the Board as well as my shares in the company.  I look forward to continue being involved in helping steer Matilda Jane in the direction we have set in motion. It’s too great not to be part of!!!  But most of all I will be keeping true to my dream of making a change.  I will be taking a little time off and then I will be jumping full steam ahead into The Mighty Acorn Foundation to see what good we can bring to the world.


I have so many emotions and words to share but I’ll keep it simple and say: Without your support, love and kindness I would be lost wandering in search of a purpose.  Thank you wholeheartedly for being such a huge part of my life and welcoming me into yours.

– Denise


I am confident in Sam McDonald and Madeline Katzel to carry out the legacy of the Matilda Jane “look.”  As you know, Sam is a born and bred MJC girl.  She is practically my clone or as close as one could get.  When I met Madeline this winter and through the few short months we have worked together I can tell she is the right one.  I’ve got a feeling she is going to knock your socks off.  Madeline is a seasoned designer with the perfect look for Matilda Jane.  I am more than confident she will be perfect to lead the design team going forward.  I am excited for you to welcome them as you welcomed me.  But more so, I am excited to watch them make Matilda Jane even more beautiful than it already is.

KaMarlowete - July 8, 2014 - 5:31 pm

I’m sad and happy, simultaneously. Is that dumb? Go help grow those acorns into a forest of oaks, and show the world a whole new place to love like you’ve already done for us. Thank you.

Erica Scott - July 8, 2014 - 3:32 pm

I am filled with mixed emotions about this post, Denise. I am so sad to see you step down as lead designer. I am hoping what this means is that you have a lot more time to spend with your boys because it’s clear that they are the reason you want to leave this world better than you found it. You have been an inspiration to me from the first day I read about Matilda Jane. I fell in love with the clothes because of the photos and then fell in love with the company because of you. You have lifted me up through some pretty rough times over these past few years and I just want to say “Thank you!” You will truly be missed more than words can say. We will continue to follow you and spread the word about The Mighty Acorn Foundation and wish you nothing but the best!!

Emilee - July 7, 2014 - 4:36 pm

Way to go Denise! Such a courageous decision! You will be missed but I have complete faith in Sam and Madeline. Prayers for you and for your future 🙂

Joslyn nielson - July 7, 2014 - 2:21 pm

I applaud you for listening to your heart. Sometimes it’s hard but leads you to the right place❤️

Susan D - July 7, 2014 - 2:10 pm

Thank you for all you’ve given us through the years. Of course we are all sad but have faith in your decisions for MJ and wish you only the best. Know it wasn’t an easy decision to make, but you deserve this!

Vanessa Bullock - July 7, 2014 - 1:44 pm

My prayers go with you into this new and wonderful adventure. You clearly have many God given talents to share and I am so happy you haven’t confined yourself into one mold. You will be such an enormous blessing to those in need. As sad as I am to see the change, it also brings a bit of excitement to see a fresh MJ twist on new lines. Congratulations, Denise. ALL of your talents are appreciated.

Ele - July 4, 2014 - 9:56 am

Good Luck Denise,
You are an inspiration, I wish all the best.

Becky - July 3, 2014 - 11:54 pm

“Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don’t unravel” Denise, you have definitely been a blessing to me and my family with your Share the Love program and your beautiful clothes. I know that you will continue to be a blessing wherever your heart leads you. Thank you for letting me be a part of Matilda Jane.

christy dodd - July 3, 2014 - 10:56 pm

Congratulations for the brave choice you have made, Sam’s got this! You go take on the foundation with tires blazing, the mighty acorns are blessed.

Michelle Gresham - July 3, 2014 - 5:13 pm

This makes me so sad!!! I know that it is selfish of me, but I don’t want you to go! :*( It is great that you want to make a change in the world, but selfishly, I am going to miss you Denise! It’s not just clothes!

natalie - July 3, 2014 - 10:05 am

What an amazing role model! I am humbled by the example you are setting and truly honoured by the tiny part I play by purchasing MJC.

Thank you for creating change. For showing us that one person can make the world a better place.

Thank you Denise for being in this world.

Angie B - July 3, 2014 - 8:33 am

You have such success in all you do, I(you have the Midas touch) I know it will follow whereever you choose to go. You are an inspiration to all mothers. One person can make a difference. Thank you for reminding me that one person can make a difference. Best wishes on you latest adventure.

Susie Mc. - July 3, 2014 - 7:56 am

I love how brave you are. You’ve built a great company, looking forward to see what you do with another one.

Heather Yellina - July 2, 2014 - 10:00 pm

This is beautiful Denise and let me just say GOOD FOR YOU!!!! You are a beautiful light in this world, so go ahead girl….go get your shine on!!! XOXO

Maria Bellot - July 2, 2014 - 9:13 pm

Your company has done so much good. Because of you, I have made countless lifelong friendships & am so grateful. The difference you have made in so many young children’s lives in Africa can never be measured. You are so very truly amazing.

Sara Courtney - July 2, 2014 - 3:29 pm

Funny you posted a quote that has been speaking to you. Over the past few months I haven’t been able to get Mahatma Gandhi out of my head. “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Truly, that is what you are doing. Thank you for being not only a shining example, but such an encourager. (and i have no doubt-sam and madeline are going to rock it)

Coree York - July 2, 2014 - 1:23 pm

Congratulations! What an amazing adventure ahead! May God be Glorified through your work!

Jennifer Vess - July 2, 2014 - 8:48 am

Congrats on taking the leap of faith and diving head first into another adventure. I wish I had as much courage in my whole body as you have in your pinky!

carissa donarummo - July 2, 2014 - 8:14 am

Thank you for your endless hard work….your love and compassion shines in every outfit. I wish you luck on your Mighty Acorn purpose, and thank you for being part of something that is so wonderful-and creating so much more than “just clothes”….Good luck!!! xoxo

susie - July 2, 2014 - 2:26 am

Denise…it’s so hard to find the right words to type what’s in my heart. In the past 7 years…the beauty of Matilda Jane Clothing has touched every birthday, every Christmas, every vacation, and so many school days, in my family’s life. I feel so blessed! The sweetness and detail of every button and tiny piece of ribbon and lace, has “Denise” written all over it. I know you’ll never stray too far from that design table, but life is opening new doors for you and your family and I’m so happy for you!!

Lillie - July 2, 2014 - 1:11 am

🙁 I can’t say I’m not sad to read this, my heart aches. We all love you Denise and yet, totally understand that you want to spend more time w/ the boys & the next chapter of our life. Sam .. Already love ya girlie…

Beverly Turner - July 2, 2014 - 12:04 am

Thank you! Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge him and he will keep your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Holly volpe - July 1, 2014 - 11:36 pm

Thank you for sharing your wonderful gift with us! I don’t think you know the influence and beauty you have brought to so many.
Your heart is your best leader… Follow it wherever it takes you <3

Kolbi - July 1, 2014 - 11:01 pm

We are so blessed to be a small part of this Matilda Jane community, and I am forever grateful to you & your team for providing a little sunshine in our lives! You have given my little girl extra bounce in her step, more twirls in her dance & extra smiles on her face! I am so thankful that I found this company. When I look back on memories of these fleeting days, I will be proud to say that Matilda Jane filled our hearts with happiness and helped preserved my little girl’s childhood! Best wishes to you and your family as you start this new chapter in your life! 🙂

Christy Hruska - July 1, 2014 - 11:00 pm

What a beautiful quote! Mighty Acorn will grow leaps & bounds with your focus and commitment. A hard decision, I’m sure, but a good one. Thanks for taking the time to share. I love reading the blog and getting updated on MJC, and all the good things you all are doing. I’m always proud to dress my girl in Matilda Jane because of your ongoing efforts to make positive change. Congratulations on such a big change & best of luck in everything!

Dana - July 1, 2014 - 10:56 pm

You have to leap… I wish you the best and love all you have created and promoted through MJC. That was a wonderful leap then and I am sure this leap will bring amazing goosebumps and a full heart! Much luck to you and your new chapter

Jennifer - July 1, 2014 - 10:56 pm

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for this wonderful company that you created. My little girls look like they are suppose to…little girls, because of your beautiful clothing. I wish you the best in your new adventures! You will be missed, but always remembered whenever I see that little brown label.

P.S. I sure hope that former boss knows just how wrong they were!

Courtney Puhl - July 1, 2014 - 10:42 pm

Congratulations Denise! You are so right to follow your heart! Best of everything to you! Xoxo

Stacie Petta - July 1, 2014 - 10:32 pm

I’m sure this was not an easy decision for you! You’ll be missed! Sam, like you said, will do awesome!!!! Good luck and blessings on your next chapter!

Bethy - July 1, 2014 - 10:26 pm

Oh you will be missed more than you will ever know. You have brought strangers, families and mothers/daughters together in an almost unimaginable way. Thank you for lending us a part of you. I’m so glad that I purchased one of the MA auction dresses this past year and I (we) will treasure it for many years to come. I look forward to continuing to support MJC and MA in future endeavors!!

Stephanie Reid - July 1, 2014 - 10:22 pm

Denise- your talent has brought so much beauty to the world and has been the foundation for so much love and charity. You have created a strong community of whole-hearted and free-spirited supporters. The ripple effect of your life’s work is unending and will be cherished for generations to come. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Your company and it’s creations continues to inspire me! <3

Amy - July 1, 2014 - 9:10 pm

You’ll be missed 🙁

Amy Ijames - July 1, 2014 - 8:45 pm

“Go Confidently in the direction of your dreams” Live the life you have imagined. ”

I cannot tell you the love, and goodness I have felt since coming across your line of clothing several years ago. I have “meet” so many amazing people, who have touched my life in so many ways! I cannot wait to see who else’s life you will change, and cannot wait to see what mind blowing things Sam can create! There will never be another Denise!

Thank you so much for allowing us into your family over the years!!

Abby - July 1, 2014 - 8:42 pm

Bittersweet news for sure, but I wish you all the best, Denise! I know that you will be successful in whatever you choose and that you will, indeed, make a difference! You already have inspired so many! Best wishes and enjoy!

Melissa Pomeranz - July 1, 2014 - 8:36 pm

Wishing you the best on your new endeavors, and congratulations on taking the plunge! Ben and Julian proudly sported their MA fundraiser tees throughout Orlando, Disney, Universal, and Lido Beach, Sarasota these past two weeks (next to Eva’s daily ‘Tildys, and my indispensable ruffles, tanks and Beachy Keen) and we were stopped several times in each locale asking about the logo and verse on the tees. We are proud to support your foundation, and know you’ll continue doing great things! We love you!

Lindsey L - July 1, 2014 - 7:53 pm

You’ve been a treasured gem at Matilda Jane and I’m so happy for you that you are passionately pursuing your dreams of helping other people! You are a rare gem!!

Amber - July 1, 2014 - 7:37 pm

This sounds crazy but I feel like this is a break up. I’m sad but wish you all the luck!! I’ve been buying Matilda Jane for 5 years and hope I can continue. Best wishes on your next journey!

Ashley - July 1, 2014 - 7:33 pm

Wow! Congrats and best of luck on your next chapter!

Laurie - July 1, 2014 - 7:33 pm

All I can say is thank you. Thank you for creating this wonderful brand and community that brings so many mommas together. A place to shop but so much more. A place that understands and celebrates the awesome responsibility of being a mom and keeps our little princesses in clothes with personality that still embraces their childhood. Your legacy will continue with your awesome team..what a testament to you that they have grown alongside you…nothing but love and good wishes!!

Ashley - July 1, 2014 - 7:32 pm

Wow! Congrats and beat if luck on your next chapter!

Katie R. - July 1, 2014 - 7:30 pm

Blessings to you, Denise, for following your heart. I am sure you will continue to do great things.

amy S - July 1, 2014 - 7:23 pm

Wow! So so sad for MJC but happy for your Denise!!

Kelli Castleberry - July 1, 2014 - 7:20 pm

First, please let me say how much I enjoyed meeting you this weekend when I was in Ft. Wayne with the group of MJ Addicts ladies. I made memories and friends that will last a lifetime, and it was all because of Matilda Jane. Sam and Kayla were amazing and were top notch representatives of your company. If you are feeling led to step down as lead designer of Matilda Jane, I can’t think of a better direction to turn than toward The Mighty Acorn Foundation. Sam and Madeline have some pretty big shoes to fill, and, even though I’ve not met Madeline, I know they’re up for the challenge! I can’t wait to see the pieces they turn out! Best of luck in your endeavors and I hope to see you again next summer at Art Fair 2015!

Lindsey p - July 1, 2014 - 7:13 pm

Best wishes for your future endeavors

Bridgette Lott - July 1, 2014 - 7:10 pm