Melissa Joan Hart’s on-camera work has always reflected her own dedication to her family, both as a teen and as a wife and mother of her own three children. Whether she was everyone’s favorite sister and daughter on Clarissa Explains It All, our magical best friend on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, or mommy-in-training on Melissa & Joey, she’s always been someone we’d welcome to our dinner table.
“I have children now, but I’ve always had little sisters and brothers running around,” she says. “I always gauged my work on whether or not I felt like they could see it, they could enjoy it. Now of course, I have my own children, so I use them to gauge.”
Melissa’s dedication to family life isn’t limited to the on-screen roles she chooses. These days, it’s her off-camera work that allows her to devote plenty of time to her husband, Mark Wilkerson, and three boys, Mason (9), Brady (7) and Tucker (2). Her new children’s clothing line, cleverly named King of Harts, launched last spring with casual boys wear, and plans are already being made to launch a girls line. Trying to find clothes for their own three sons, the husband-wife team found inspiration from their own experiences to create “cool, casual and functional” options.
“It’s been a new adventure for all of us,” she says. “It’s been exciting (and only slightly stressful) working with my husband, but it’s very fulfilling and gives me a reason to be home more, which is lovely.”
Fun at the lake
Since Melissa and her family love spending time together at Lake Tahoe in California, her new fall collection out this August, titled Tahoe, features graphic T-shirts and camouflage pants that play off the rugged natural beauty of the area.
“My husband and I always wanted to do some sort of a line of baby clothes, and we began to realize that there wasn’t a lot of cute boys’ stuff out there,” she says. “We decided to start small. We ended up with 12 styles for our first season. We couldn’t be more excited about it. It’s such a busy little business, but it’s something we’re really passionate about.”
Paying it forward
Melissa also wanted to make sure that their new endeavor paid it forward. She says all of the proceeds from one particular item, a thermal shirt called “the Louie”—named after Olympic snowboarder and personal friend Louie Vito—go directly to Youth Villages, a private nonprofit group dedicated to helping abused and neglected children. “We did a lot of research, finding the right charity to tie with,” she says.
“We really wanted it to be kid-related and nationwide, since we are an American-made brand. Youth Villages was the perfect fit for us because they give the support necessary to each family or individual for whatever their needs might be, whether they’re aging out of foster care or they’re adopted or their family just needs support counseling. These kids, they’re the kids that get lost, and [Youth Villages] is focused on making sure these children have the best future possible."
Melissa is doing what she loves while spending time with the people she loves most, and that’s all she truly wants out of life. “I don’t hesitate every day to look around and see what I’m grateful for,” Melissa says. “When I do that, it really helps put things in perspective about what I truly need and what I truly want. When I realize that all those things are there, then I can just let go and be happy.”