Turning Your Passion into a Paycheck
1. What was your first job and how did you end up opening Amelia and co-founding chARTer Nannies?
My first job was babysitting for a family Monday-Friday, 8-5 when I was 10 years old. I continued to work through high school as a babysitter. In college I worked at a vintage shop, which proved to be a great resource when I got ready to open Amelia. I also taught Montessori preschool when I lived in Seattle.
I ended up opening Amelia because I’ve always dreamed of having a shop, much like Amelia and when the right space opened up, I knew it was the right time.
I got my BS in Early Childhood Education, but I never wanted to be confined to a classroom to educate, so for years I worked as a travel nanny. chARTer nannies came to be when a woman that I nannied for and I started talking about all the families that could really use this service and it was born. We are now business partners along with two other women.
2. The New York Times describes you as “a photographer, gift shop owner, pop-up gallery impresario and travel nanny.” What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
That’s a tough one… I only do work that I love, as a rule. I love all my “jobs”. I think shop owner is the most constant in my life and what I spend the most time working on, but I won’t be scaling back anytime soon.
3. As a young woman establishing your career and starting your own businesses, what challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?
I think the biggest challenge has been just learning as I go. I’m such a planner and really like to know what my next step will be, but with running your own business, you can’t always know what’s going to happen next. I don’t have a boss giving me assignments and then I wait for the next project. I’m creating my own agenda everyday. I’ve really needed to be ok with taking things as they come and not getting disappointed if it works out differently than I envisioned it. Different doesn’t mean it’s wrong or bad. Also, finding funding can be a challenge, but if you think outside the box, you can really find creative funding.
4. You’ve worked in a variety of different fields. What advice do you have for women who are trying to find a direction career-wise?
It’s been said before, but do what you love. I have moved all over the country, because I knew from an early age that travel and living in different locations and cities was important to me before I settled into one place. I have never worried about finding a job in each place because I know that I can always find a job in a field that I love. It hasn’t stopped me yet. Go with what you know you are good at as well. In my case, I love working with children and I know that I’m really great in that field… so I started a company in that field. I love supporting artists and promoting their work, so I started my shop Amelia. You get the idea… go with what you know and love.
5. You are about to become a first-time mother! What is some great advice you’ve received from other professional mothers? What are you most nervous about? What are you most excited about?
Well, a lot of the advice I’ve received has been about how to juggle it all. They all tell me how hard it is to do everything, so I think I’m learning that it will be ok if I have to say no to doing something that I love and I don’t have to “do it all”. I’m most nervous about keeping my son on a good sleep schedule while still taking him to the shop with me daily. I think that’s one of the most important things for a baby, and I don’t want to mess that up. Fortunately, my husband’s job is very flexible as well, so we will do a lot of tag teaming to get our baby well rested. After 26 years of taking care of other people’s children, I’m most excited about finally having my own to care for and teach, in my own parenting style. I’m excited to do all the wonderful things I’ve been doing for years with children, with my own. I want to show him the world.