Lagunan Melissa Belland won’t be waiting tables anymore.
Belland, also known as Missy Beehive, has won a national small business contest held by Yahoo! and Ivanka Trump, daughter of Donald Trump.
Belland’s company, Made in Heaven By Missy, sells fairy dolls and other sparkly creations online and at the Sawdust Art Festival.
Along with two other Ultimate Connection Contest winners, Belland won a prize package valued at more than $100,000. She will fly to New York City next month to meet with Trump and marketing experts.
“I can’t believe how fast it all happened,” said Belland, while sitting in her fairy tale booth at the Sawdust during Locals Night on Tuesday.
Bedecked in floaty pink chiffon, sparkles and a tiara, Belland descended from the stairs of her booth’s perch to meet visitors who voted for her.
“My brother-in-law kept saying that if we didn’t win, how were we going to fake being cheerful tonight?” she said.
The daughter of legendary musician and actor Bruce Belland of “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” and Four Preps fame, Belland formed The Voice of the Beehive with her sister Tracey Bryn.
The band was popular in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, but she and Bryn settled in Laguna and have lived a relatively quiet life since then.
Belland has exhibited her clay and porcelain fairies at the Sawdust for about 10 years.
She credits her brother-in-law, Mark Holmes, with catapulting her into fame again.
“I don’t have the chutzpah to make that initial door open — that’s where he comes in,” Belland said.
Yahoo! reviewed nearly 10,000 entries and submitted a handful to Trump, who selected her favorites. The finalists were then filmed, and the videos were released to the public for several days of voting.
“The third day, she was getting clobbered,” Holmes recalled.
Belland and her team set up on Main Beach to solicit support from locals, which wasn’t very fruitful despite a 6' by 6' sign and hand-passed fliers.
“There wasn’t a lot of response,” Holmes said euphemistically.
So they changed tactics.
Holmes and Belland began posting in online message boards and forums about the contest, where everyone from Renaissance Faire enthusiasts to Voice of the Beehive fans took up Belland’s cause.
The ranking quickly turned, and Belland saw after the polls closed that she was in third place. But only Yahoo! could say for sure.
“My brother-in-law called them, and then I heard screaming,” she said.
Belland’s prize package includes a $25,000 online ad campaign budget from Yahoo! Search Marketing, marketing mentorship from key players in the field, access to a Yahoo! Search Marketing expert and a Web site makeover.
With the ad campaign budget, Belland hopes to become the top “fairy” listing on Yahoo!, where she would be able to form symbiotic link relationships with other companies. As they link to her, they would benefit from her popularity.
“It truly was like a grass-roots thing that we did,” Holmes said. “It’s kind of been a fantasy for her.”
Belland has since been asked by doll and fairy magazines to be a featured artist, with multi-page photo spreads. She’s also been asked to speak on the Money Matters Radio Network.
A highly-publicized feature of Belland’s upcoming trip will be an “ultimate power lunch in the sky,” in which Yahoo! will suspend a lunch table more than 150 feet above New York Harbor on July 10.
Belland will join Trump, Yahoo! executives, and her two fellow winners — who make children’s playhouses and a handheld keyboard and mouse — at the table.
She said she had to confirm with the organizers that she wasn’t afraid of heights.
“But it’s not going to be the best part of the trip,” she said with a nervous smile.
Business has already begun to grow for Belland.
She has sold nine dolls in three days on her Web site, a rate which she said was dramatically higher than before the contest.
She announced on message boards and in interviews that she would quit her waitressing job if she won the contest.
“I feel like the world is my oyster,” she said.