JOPLIN, Mo. (KSNF) – It wasn’t that long ago when a Joplin woman was asked what her dream was, and she had no answer. Now, she has a thriving business started only seven months ago, but even that was still several years in the making.

“It started last year and we just started developing everything,” says Laura Milford, Crystal Skull Bling Owner.

In the middle of a pandemic, after years of hard work and development, she started a new business on July 19th, 2021.

“Everything you see on social media has been really negative and I kind of wanted to be that spark of happy and positive on people’s lives,” says Laura.

A natural born crafter and dancer, she turned her her artsy side into a thriving business.

“I’m live on TikTok. And I teach tumbler-making, teach bling art, I also do business advice as well,” she says.
She’s had several small businesses over the past couple of years, finally settling on this one, known as Crystal Skull Bling based in Joplin.

“When she brought it to me, I could tell by the passion that she spoke about it, that it was going to be good. But I didn’t know how good,” says Levi Milford, Laura’s Husband.

But, six years ago, while living in Tulsa, things were a little different for Laura and her husband.

“Levi and I, we had lost our apartment together and we were living out of our vehicle for a few days after going through a small drug addiction together,” says Laura.

For Laura, it started with a car accident in 2010, which lead her down a difficult path.

She explains, “I lost my jobs. I had three jobs and I lost them. Couldn’t teach dance anymore, you know. And, from there, I just couldn’t stop the ball. It just got worse and worse.”

She found herself in full-blown addiction – her husband, too – until there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

“When we found out that I was pregnant with Angel, that was it,” says Laura.

“I knew that we deserved better. She deserved better. I deserved better. That just was not the way we were meant to live our lives,” says Levi.

They did get their lives together, side by side, getting clean.

“Okay, we’ve lost all of our stuff, and everything. And, so, we just made the decision, okay, we’re going to get clean and we’re going to try to do this better,” says Laura.

They moved to Joplin, and still wanted to learn more about bettering their lives.

So, they attended a Circles class (now called Building Bridges). It was during one of those classes that Laura realized something was still missing.

She says, “I was in a class and we were talking about goals and dreams and, you know, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ They asked me and I was like, ‘I don’t know. I ain’t got nothing man. I’m just a mom and wife, you know? Who has dreams anymore?”

After surrounding herself with the right people, she’s found her dream.

Laura says, ” Honestly, I want to be the go-to craft store here in Joplin.”

Big goals, a big outlook, and big plans, but, they know it wasn’t always easy.

Levi says, “I feel like we’re extremely lucky and very blessed to have made it as far as we made it and come and be where we are.”

“We struggled a lot, but it was worth it. It was worth every tear. It was worth every late night sitting up, having conversations,” says Laura.

Levi adds, “It’s like jumping off a cliff, right? You kept telling yourself to jump off this cliff, it’s going to be one of the hardest things you ever have to do, but once you’re down there, you can just look back with a smile, and you’re like, ‘Yeah! I just jumped off the cliff and I made it and I’m good.'”

Laura says, “If anyone would have asked me this six years ago, I would have been like, you’re crazy!”