I was raised in Spokane, where I still reside and also run my business. I have three sisters along with a big extended family. I am married, going on 25 years (this summer) and have three kids, along with three grandkids. I am blessed with an amazing family; family and relationships are very important to me.
I grew up spending lots of time with my family at my grandparents’ lake cabin on an island at Priest Lake, Idaho—it was big, rustic and incredibly beautiful with plenty of opportunity for hiking, boating, swimming, water skiing and playing games at night, etc. Our family believed, “the more the merrier,” as everyone was welcome; typically 30 or more people were enjoying the cabin and lake throughout the summer at any given time. My family also believed, “Families that pray together, play together, stay together.” This community/family love was foundational in forming values and relationships that define my life and business style today.
Despite having these incredible summers, our family was far from affluent. My dad was a juvenile probation officer, and my mom stayed at home raising us girls. Money was tight, and if I wanted to have things, I needed to earn my own money. In elementary school, I did yard work for a local dentist and my first real paying job at age fourteen was doing dishes for the Air National Guard—far from glamorous! I put myself through college and worked as a social worker during my 20s. In my 30s, after I had kids, I wanted to avoid placing my kids in childcare so I needed to find a job with flexible hours, and this is what inspired me to do my own thing.
I started a coffee house, Common Grounds, with a good friend I had met while working as a barista. We recognized an upward trend in the number of drive-thru coffee shops and thought it would be fun and hopefully successful. Neither of us had a clue what was involved in owning our own business, so we diligently studied and found that in the coffee industry location was KEY. We scouted and found the best location to also allow for an indoor area for music and poetry nights—old school style. These nights were so crowded and fun—great music and unique open-mic stuff . My husband and I tag-teamed to manage the kids with our work schedules for many years during this time until they were in elementary school. Our employees were my sisters and cousins, which made work a big family affair—so fun! In a cash business, like ours was, it is critical to know and trust the people you have working for you. We were therefore very fortunate.
We made sure to invest time and attention to our customers, developing meaningful relationships. Our goal was to create a big family atmosphere, and we did. We connected and referred customers to one another for business services and traded coffee cards for haircuts, our taxes and even our accounting. After about ten years of owning the coffeehouse, we recognized the coffee industry was becoming oversaturated. So, when someone offered to buy our business, we were ready for a new challenge.
I first realized my passion for becoming an entrepreneur when I recognized that curiosity is a strength and not a curse.
I decided to become a certified aesthetician, a completely new career. I was approaching my 40s, and skincare and anti-aging regimes regularly held my interest. This launched me in the direction of working in a medical spa and as a makeup artist—the two jobs are really different worlds but coincide nicely. I also pursued learning makeup for film and television through a six-week class in Los Angeles. I was fortunate to connect with the makeup department head of North by Northwest, Trista Jordan. Trista and I have worked on many movies together, and we are close friends. Recently, she wrote a book called, MIRROR MIRROR: Confessions of a Celebrity Makeup Artist (it is set to be released soon). I decided shortly thereafter to add some consistency to my unusual schedule working in TV and film and now work one day a week at Spokane Dermatology and Werschler Aesthetics.
I like change and adventure in the working world. There is just so much to try on and do. I have never been a person that has just one clear passion; I have several interests and want to dabble in all of them. Thank God my husband has a very supportive, flexible personality. He sort of rolls his eyes but smiles and calls me a “possibilitarian”!
I love talking with people in the makeup chair. Be a listener. Be interested. It brings out the best in those around us, and it has been one of my biggest sources for ideas and inspiration. While I’m driving, I am also inspired by nature, as I look for color tones and hues all around me. It somehow places a priority on the bigger things. My deepest inspiration, however, has come from my husband and three kids, as each of them has faced serious adversity. Out of such circumstances, they have turned their lives around and used those times to prevail.
1 Do a cost-benefit analysis for nearly everything! Making a list of advantages and disadvantages (including soft costs, not just money).
2 Have a good pulse on market trends—know when to make changes within your business or to bring in new products or services and stay
modern and fresh.
3 Develop a strong sense of self-awareness and social awareness. What am I thinking and feeling? What is going on around me? How are people around me possibly thinking and feeling? This is a positive way to form lasting, meaningful, personal and professional relationships.
4 Don’t be afraid to try new things. Failure is forward movement and creates resiliency and wisdom.
5 Develop curiosity and use it to your advantage. How can I keep moving forward with myself, helping people around me and positively contributing to the community and the world? Always ask yourself these questions.
6 Kindness matters.
It comes naturally for me to listen and be inquisitive about what is going on with another person but when the tables are turned, I freeze. I am definitely a “behind the scenes” person. Self-promotion is nearly impossible for me. I make sure to team with supportive people that love marketing.
Having a rich career life has been valuable. I am juggling graduate school with work and family (for yes…another change) and this is my biggest accomplishment thus far. Don’t be afraid of change to best follow your passions—I have literally changed my career every decade of my life, and each area has been so satisfying. I am currently studying both school and mental health counseling. While listening to people in the makeup chair, I have realized that most people have some personal issues that they need a bit of help sorting through. I love the field of neuro-psychology and specifically, neurofeedback. Neurofeedback is a powerful catalyst to healing many life issues. I graduate this summer and am excited to start a career with Northwest Counseling Center. I look forward to helping people that face life’s adversities. I still hope to occasionally dabble in make-up and skincare. I think looking and feeling our best, both inside and out, contribute to our overall wellbeing.