Erica, owner of The Arrow Coffeehouse in Damascus, Oregon is a coffee expert, community builder, musician, and self-described social butterfly. She also describes herself as “wife to a nerdy and kind husband and momma of the best little girl.” She says she has always been a take charge kind of person and was often called bossy and over-emotional as a child.
She got her start in the coffee industry as a teenager working in Starbucks in California and Oregon and embraced the perspective of the coffee business as being bigger than a cup of coffee. “This is a business that touches the world, from our small communities, to our roasters, our bean buyers, and our farmers. It just makes my heart feel so much bigger for the job,” she explains.
“When I was 18, I moved to the Portland area and got a job at the shop I now own. It was a Hawaiian coffee shop at that time and it just had such a fun sense of community. I loved the small town and all the people that would come in, and I just appreciated how the shop reflected my bosses and who they were.”
Beyond her love for the community, she also began to explore the Portland coffee scene. “I was amazed by how much pride and quality were thrown into the work of crafting coffee and espresso beverages.”
When the opportunity to take ownership of the shop came up, she took the leap to business ownership.
Along the way, she’s been supported by her community, “My community is large and I love every single person in it,” she says. She’s also been encouraged along her journey by friends, Nate and Jamie Snell, of Pip's Original and The Lamb's Table catering. “They really have really been inspirational to me in bringing back the humanity in the business world. My friend Ken, who is in the restaurant industry, is so generous with his knowledge and time. He has taught me some crucial things about food, and has shared so much perspective with me on the food-business world.”
One of her latest collaborations is with the roasting team at Dapper and Wise. “They have been incredible partners with us this last year, whether it be coffee education, technical support, business advice, or just plain cheer-leading. They are the business-big-bro I've always wanted,” says Erica.
One of Erica’s biggest struggles is keeping the budget under control. “With a shop like mine, the bills are incredibly constant and something is always broken, about to be broken, or outdated. We didn't start with a lot of money off the bat, and it took me a while to price things correctly so that I was making an adequate profit to sustain us,” she explains.
Erica wants to remind new business owners that opening a business is a lot of work for a long time. “In the beginning, I was a little naive and thought I’d have it figured out after a year or two. And that is so far from the case.”
Erica hopes fellow business owners remember that a business is in a constant state of evolution. “It is CRUCIAL that you choose a mission statement and core values before you do anything else, things that really cling to what you value as a person.”
She admits there are times a business owner may wonder why they are even in business at all. Erica quotes her friend, Nate, “Truly successful people make a choice to not only stick with things even when the passion is gone but to know when the timing is truly right to say ‘I gave it my all, and there's nothing more I can give.’" Erica continues “Sometimes you have to slog your way out of the valley and back up to the mountaintop. And love is always a choice. THAT is how to succeed passionately.”
Unlike some businesses, The Arrow Coffeehouse (19880 SE HWY 212, Damascus, Oregon), really does have something for everyone. “If you don't love coffee, we have tea, pastries, breakfast, lunch, and we feature locally made items. We are on the way from Portland to Mt. Hood so it's the perfect place to stop on the way out of town or the way back in.
Erica says her shop is her biggest accomplishment. “Every month that passes by it just gets more real that these are the times that I've dreamed of since I was a teen. I'm living them right now - owning my coffee shop with co-workers that I love, raising my family, enjoying our life, contributing to the world around me I’m living out my dreams and paving the way for new ones,” she explains.
She says she enjoys being a MOB NW member and making friends that share the unique journey of growing a business and a family at the same time. “So many people I know just don't understand what it's like, and it's nice to have friends that do!”
You can find The Arrow Coffeehouse online at:
Kendra of KarysMa Birth is a mother-writer-teacher-doula-jewelry designer with a longtime passion for birth. She says “I have always been fascinated by birth and motherhood. I read Ina May Gaskin's books like some girls read The Babysitter's Club, although I read my share of those too.”
She lives in the Portland area with her husband, Steve, and daughter Karys. “My husband Steve is the yang to my yin and the love of my life, and he balances and buoys me. My daughter Karys turns seven in October, and we're expecting our second daughter in January 2017.”
She originally planned to go to midwifery school after high school, but a trip to Mexico during her gap semester lead her toward a ten-year career teaching eighth grade English.
In 2010 she attended a summer intensive called the Blue Ridge Writing Project, which she says helped her being to see herself as a writer again. “I'd always used writing as a way to process my emotions and experiences, but after BRWP, my students and I began writing regularly and intentionally together. It was a magical shift in my teaching life,” she explains.
Although she enjoyed her teaching career, when her family moved from Virginia to Portland, Kendra wanted to find work that was more flexible and left more time for her family.
“I kept hearing the word "doula," and I realized that, along with being a teacher and a writer, I wanted to be a doula, a trained helper of mothers. I became a certified birth doula in January 2016, and I have recently begun training as a childbirth educator. I believe that a happy, healthy mother is central to a happy, healthy family, and being happy and healthy starts with feeling supported and appreciated before the baby is even born.”
In addition to serving as a birth and postpartum doula, Kendra creates custom birthing necklaces, and writes regularly for the La Leche League Blog, New Beginnings magazine, and Portland Moms Blog. She is also offering her first birth story writing workshop in November at Birthing Stone Doula in Beaverton. “I've finally found ways to be involved in my passion for birth in a way that fits in with my changing family while drawing on my strengths and talents.”
As you might expect from someone with so many passions and interests, Kendra cites several mentors as having an impact on her work. “My writing mentor, Chauna Craig, is a talented writer whom I met through the Association of Writer's and Writing Programs' mentorship program. My marketing and branding mentors are MOBs Emily Roach-Griffin and Gwen Montoya. My doula trainer, Therese Hak-Kuhn, has had a powerful influence on how I view my role as a doula, and MOB Tiffany Decker of Birthing Stone Doula has helped me so much with the logistical details of being a doula. I'm also inspired by other moms, especially the amazing ones who balance entrepreneurship with motherhood.”
She says her biggest struggle as a business owner involves remembering to think like a business owner. “I love volunteering and giving freely of my time, knowledge, and resources, but I have to balance that with doing the activities that are going to bring in the money I need to sustain my family. It's been hard for me to decide what things I do as part of my business and what things are hobbies or interests,” she explains.
She advises new business owners to try new things, but not get so involved in learning a new skill that you stop moving forward with your business. She also says, “Don't allow impostor syndrome to tell you that you aren't doing anything special or valuable. Only you can do what you do the way that you do!”
Kendra’s mission is to help moms realize they aren’t alone, so her ideal referral is a mom who sometimes feels alone or not good enough. “There are resources and support to help you through the darkest days and other moms who will celebrate with you when you are soaking up the joys of life.”
She says coming through the other side of birth trauma, postpartum depression and anxiety and using her experiences as a springboard to helping other moms is her greatest accomplishment.
When asked why she chooses to be part of the MOB NW, she replies, “I love how diverse the moms in the MOB are. There are moms with many different passions and specialties. There are moms with young children and grown-up children. There are single moms and moms with partners. I love interacting online with MOBs, meeting these amazing moms in person, finding ways to collaborate, and fostering friendships. It gives me a sense of belonging that I was missing before I found the MOB NW.”
Kendra loves working for herself because it gives her the freedom and flexibility of working where she wants and when she wants. “I get to follow my curiosity and try new things while being at work.”
If you look at Kendra’s website and branding, you might notice a theme! “I love rainbows; in fact, our wedding was rainbow-themed,” she says.
She is offering all MOB NW members 25% off her Write Your Birth Story class. To register, go here.
You can find Kendra online at:
Rayah, owner of Pocket of Sparrows creates custom, perfectly fitted shirts, hoodies, and more for all ages and genders. She works out of her Milwaukie home, and you can also find her work at Portland’s Hazel & Pear boutique.
She describes herself as “A lover of all things creative, supporter of the small guy, drinker of much coffee. I absolutely LOVE what I do.”
(Photo Credit: Stephanie Young of S.Young Photography)
Although she has sewn for many years, as a tall and plus sized mama she found it challenging to find clothes that fit her and her sense of style. She understands how important it is to feel good in the clothes you are wearing. She also recognizes that mainstream patterns and fabrics are often limiting. “Fit is a common problem for many women - and men too! My husband is 6'5" and about 200lbs, the first time I made him a hoodie, he tentatively raised his arms above his head and then his cheeks exploded from smiling so hard because both his wrists and waist were covered at the same time, and he wasn't swimming in billows of extra width,” she explains. “I absolutely love to be able to make things that fit and make the wearer feel fabulous!”
Rayah’s youngest son inspired her to open Pocket of Sparrows, “My youngest, a little rainbow baby boy, pushed me over the edge to pursue my passion because you never know what tomorrow brings, you can only embrace today.” She continues, “I have a fantastically supportive husband who makes fatherhood seem like child's play. I’m a mom of boys, ages six and one, who continually melt my heart and make me scream. I try to limit that to screaming in the closet or into a pillow but hey, nobody's perfect. My family both anchors me and drives me forward, as I never want my kids to be afraid to try new things and follow their dreams and passions.”
She counts fellow MOB NW members as mentors. “There are so many wonderful women in the MOB I look up to! It's so full of successful, kind women who truly believe in the community, building each other up, and supporting other moms. It's truly inspiring. I really count all the MOB directors as mentors because they are so unique and wonderful in their vocations and personalities. I am so grateful that Aria started this group!”
Her biggest business challenge has been standing out and promoting herself. “Laying out my value and being proud of my accomplishments are things I have always struggled with but I feel that as a mom, it's even more vital to have a strong sense of self-worth to pass on to your children.”
She recognizes that her style of quality, handmade clothing is often overlooked as being too expensive. “I understand very small budgets, but you simply cannot expect someone to work for free. It IS my passion to create beautiful things, but pulling time away from my family is something I will not give away for free!”
Rayah advises new businesses owners join the MOB NW. “Seriously! You have so many different resources here for any questions or needs you could have. We have everything from home repair to accounting to tattoo artists! Not only will you get great quality, you get to work with someone who understands being a mom and a business owner!"
She is also a frequent MOB NW meet up attendee. “Come to the meet ups. No one likes networking normally. I have pretty significant social anxiety. I cried in my car after the first meet up just because I was a bag of nerves. I kept coming anyway and met such incredible people! It's helped me tremendously in that area alone, not to mention all the great business connections! I’m going to shamelessly plug the MOB Alliance as well because it's amazing. It's worth every penny (and it doesn't even cost that many pennies).”
She loves working for herself and says “being in control is both scary and exhilarating! I love the control I have over what and how I do things. Being able to be there for my guys, both big and little, is pretty special too.” She says her biggest accomplishment is putting herself out there and pushing forward, despite fears and anxiety.
She is excited to be a MOB member and be surrounded by business owners who also understand the unique joys and challenges of motherhood. “I feel like the trials and tribulations of owning your own business while being a mom give you a unique perspective on life in general and most MOBs I've talked to are far more likely to let go of perfection, combat mom-shaming, and find ways to support and encourage each other!”
You can find Rayah online at:
Pocket of Sparrows group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/502347679889992/
Nicole is a mom of three boys (12, 5, 2), a wife, and is a wellness adovate with doTerra via her brand “Oilsndirt.”
She says “I try to be a decent human being every moment of my life. I connect deeply with the people around me and don't know how to have shallow conversations. I truly want to know how you are, if I get the chance to ask you. I am who I am today because I made the choice in January 2008 to seek help for my drug and alcohol abuse, and be a part of the "I won't drink No Matter What" club. It's a commitment I still make daily.”
She says her greatest accomplishment is “Staying sober for over 8-1/2 years, being faithful in my marriage and having two sober pregnancies. It may not seem that amazing to some. To me it's an absolute miracle.”
When she learned she was pregnant with her youngest son, she was a happy long-time employee with a small company, but quickly realized there was no way she could afford full-time daycare for two children under three. “I had, no exaggeration, a 6 week long panic attack. I prayed that SOMETHING I could do from home would present itself,” she explains.
She considered many options that would allow her to stay home with her children, but still bring in an income. Nicole says, “I had NO INTEREST whatsoever in direct sales. None. I ‘knew’ what those people were like and wanted no part of it.”
However, she became interested in oils after someone shared oils with her as a way to support her husband’s seasonal allergies. “The craziest thing was it WORKED! My husband turned to me and said ‘You should do THIS! If nothing else, you know I'll use it.”
When she attended her first dōTERRA convention shortly after starting with the company, she says she felt as if she had found her calling. “I get to empower families - especially women and fellow recovering addicts & alcoholics. I get to share that we have options when it comes to our health. I count myself among blessed today to call myself a Professional Network Marketer. It's a title I proudly own.”
When we asked her what she loves about working for herself she responded, “I love that I can dream. I feel like I have a hope and a future that wasn't there before when I was just an employee helping make someone else's dream.”
One of Nicole’s greatest influences and mentors is Tony Robbins. She says, “I could give a laundry list of books and amazing authors and speakers I enjoy, but that guy tops the list. If you've never read or heard him (gotta love youtube) PLEASE DO. Your future you thanks you in advance!”
As a network marketer, one of her fears is inadvertently living up to someone’s belief about what network marketing is. “I've been so nervous I'd do it wrong. I have consciously limited pushing myself. I'd rather not push someone farther away from something I believe so passionately in by doing it wrong. Thanks to the incredible women in this Alliance, I am gaining confidence to know that I won't do it wrong BECAUSE it's something I believe so passionately,” she explains.
She advises new business owners to focus on personal development in the beginning and growing your own skill sets. She adds, “The best business exchanges happen as a result of long term relationship. Be more concerned about how you can genuinely affect the buyers’ circumstances, than what the bottom line is, and then the sales come. People don't want to be sold. They want to do business with someone they know has their best interest in mind.”
Her ideal referral are moms who want to be more natural and hate standing in the cough syrup isle, rubbing their hands together, hoping they pick the right box. Or the person who is beginning to understand The friend who is starting to look up ingredients in products and is interested in a DIY approach would also be a great person connection for her.
Nicole enjoys being in the MOB Alliance because of the support and knowledge of fellow members. “I’m also learning how to not feel so awkward around people I admire!”
You can find Nicole online at: