Art teacher turns passion into Nola Bee

Nola Bee was born after a large request for parade seats, and has since grown to offer so much more.

Summer Zeringue McCune is living out her childhood dream and creating even bigger goals –  and she’s doing it all with her family by her side.

The Norco native and resident studied talented art her entire academic career in St. Charles Parish Public Schools, and now the student has become the teacher.

“My talented art teacher … the one I had in high school … is actually retiring this year and I’ll be taking his spot,” McCune said.

Robert Fisher, known as Doc to many of his students, was McCune’s talented art teacher at Destrehan High School.

“It’s been great,” McCune said of working alongside Fisher this year to prepare to take his place next year. “It’s an honor to not only be at my own school, but to be teaching with my talented art teacher. In high school I told Doc that I was going to come back and take his job as a joke, but here we are.”

The McCune family

After high school McCune went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Louisiana State University.

“I knew I wanted to teach something that I love,” she said. “And I loved talented art. I love my job and my dream has always been to have Doc’s job.”

Aside from her busy life as a full-time employee, wife to husband Matt and mother of 4-year-old Kole and 2-year-old Keller, McCune also works the wildly successful art business – Nola Bee – that she launched in February 2019.

She said the name Nola Bee was inspired by her friends and family constantly refer to her as a “busy bee.”

“It all started by painting my kids a parade seat,” she said. “People started asking me to paint them one, and I had 30 orders my first year doing it.”

After the parade seats came door hangers.

“Those took off by accident,” McCune said. “Initially I was selling them through Facebook and people started sharing my stuff and it took off and then vendors started contacting me.”

Nola Bee products are now available at several stores, including Rouses, Phina, Fleurty Girl, Destrehan Plantation and The Ferry Landing. McCune said she plans at being at the Destrehan Plantation Festival next month.

“Now I’m starting to think of different home decor and products I can do too” she said.

Summer McCune with two of her popular door hangers.

All of McCune’s creations are made and shipped from her own home.

“It’s kind of completely taken over my whole house,” she said laughing. “My family is my biggest support system, and they are my everything. I am a full-time working mother who is simply chasing a dream.”

McCune said her toddlers serve as not only her greatest inspiration, but also as her packing assistants.

“When I pack my shipments, I let them draw on the outside of boxes,” she said. “It’s a little treat for the customers. I just want people to know I’m chasing my dream and letting my kids be involved too at the same time.”

McCune said there are many steps involved with each product, and that’s where her family lends a helping hand.

“Each product takes cutting, ribboning, labeling, painting and so much more,” she said. “This endeavor has been a learning experience for the entire family. You may take home a product that my toddlers helped string, label or even paint one small portion. So, if you notice a sticker is slightly off-center or a little bit crooked, it would be because one of my eager, helpful toddlers helped mommy with a task and walked away with pride.”

McCune said she hopes her “mommy-made business” inspires her own children, as well as her students, to chase their own dreams.

“My family has supported me through my dream,” she said. “My husband has stepped up a lot of local deliveries and my dad is my biggest supporter … I think it’s just been a family journey altogether and that’s made it so fun for me. I’m teaching my high school kids that the sky is the limit and I just want to encourage them to go after their dreams.”

For more information on Nola Bee or to purchase one of McCune’s creations, visit www.nolabeemade.com.

 

About Monique Roth 204 Articles
Roth has both her undergraduate and graduate degree in journalism, which she has utilized in the past as an instructor at Southeastern Louisiana University and a reporter at various newspapers and online publications. She grew up in LaPlace, where she currently resides with her husband and three daughters.

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