Jenny owns a drop-in daycare in Portland called Kids Klubhouse. Founded in 1992 and owned by Jenny since 2008, Kids Klubhouse is a state-licensed center that fills the need of parents needing a fun night out or a few hours of childcare during the day.
She was born in the United States, but grew up with family in Taiwan. She explains, “Most people don't know this, but technically English is a second language for me. We moved back when I was eight, and I learned to speak English but forgot how to speak Chinese which is probably one of my biggest regrets.”
Jenny began working with kids after high school before moving to Portland to attend culinary school. “After realizing that working in a restaurant wasn't the right job for me, I decided to try child care again and found that being around kids and providing a safe and fun environment is what really made me happy,” she says.
Her father passed away in 2005 and left her a small inheritance. “I really wanted to honor my dad by using the money wisely. I had been working for Kids Klubhouse and when the previous owner started talking about retiring, I knew it was my chance to invest my money,” she says.
Jenny counts the former owner of Kids Klubhouse, Fran, as longtime mentor. “While working for her, she became like a mom/therapist/friend to me. Even after selling the business, she and her husband have continued to guide me and offer support whenever help is needed,” she explains.
One of her biggest struggles has been to not take things personally. She understands that a daycare or provider isn’t the right option for every child, but it is challenging when a client doesn’t come back or chooses to leave a negative review without contacting her first to resolve any issues.
Jenny says she also struggles with the business side of running a business. “Playing with and entertaining children? I got it! Knowing where to advertise? Managing staff and their issues? It's like I'm wandering around in the dark,” she says.
However, she is proud of owning and running her own business where she gets to help families. “I love that I get to set my hours, and that I get to be a part of so many families' lives. Also, I get to bring my babies to work with me, once they get old enough,” says Jenny.
She advises new business owners to reach out and network. “Don't try to do it all yourself, you'll go crazy. People are out there that WANT to help you, you just have to let them!!”
She is most excited about being a MOB NW member because of the community she has found. “Finding my tribe, and a place where I feel accepted and understood. I think we've all been there when we have kids and lose some friends. I've always felt that owning and running a business has caused some friends to distance themselves from me as well. It is nice to have a place where people understand that sometimes personal time/plans come after family and business,” she explains.
Her ideal referrals are parents with children ages 30 months to 12 years in need of childcare. Kids Klubhouse is just 5 minutes from downtown Portland and a few miles from Highway 26 and 217.
You can find Jenny online at:
Jessica and her husband have two kids under four, own and run RedFred Productions, and she is a birth photographer and doula. “We just moved into a co-working space with the fabulous Megan Wise of Uniquely Wise Photography. We are in NW Portland and so excited to be there!”
She grew up in Oregon, and her parents are both artists. “My mother is an incredible painter and basically everything she does or touches is just pure gold. My father is an incredible photographer, hobbyist for most of his years, but now works in video and photography full time out of Eugene.”
Growing up with talented parents lit a fire for Jessica.
“I've always had to have some sort of creative outlet, and photography has been a huge passion. My husband went to film school, his passion lies within the video realm of storytelling. It just seemed logical to us to combine our gifts and passions. We've really enjoyed working together in creating our dream jobs through our business, Redfred Productions,” she explains.
I love the flexibility to be a "stay at home mom.” Although I work, I spend so much quality time with my children and that is my ultimate drive.
Jessica says her biggest accomplishment happened over the summer when she and her husband worked on an enormous project with Quality Healthcare Corp for the Oregon Health Authority. “We were able to create a series of 13 web videos for providers and staff across Oregon in improving healthcare. It was a great experience and we learned a ton. 13 videos in 4 months is pretty amazing! I have my super talented husband to thank for all that hard work!”
Jessica has been lucky enough to have many mentors, and she counts her parents among them. “They praised my creativeness and showed me it was ok to make this a business and pursue your dreams even though some may see it as unrealistic,” she says.
Jessica also several photographers she works with regularly that she also considers mentors. “We bounce ideas off each other and often shoot as a second shooter from time to time, she says.
“Kirstyn Lundquist of Sweetmint Photography is always pushing me to be better. She has photographed my family for years and our friendship has flourished through our working together to create and capture. Leilani Rogers who has been my birth photography inspiration lead me to the path I am on showing me that documenting these stories can be real and beautifully raw. Monet Nicole Moutrie has been a recent "girl crush" so to say, her edgy and raw birth stories have opened a creative light I am just now discovering.”
She says her biggest struggle in her business is the sticker shock potential clients experience. Jessica recognizes that the upfront expense of photography and video can be a challenge for small businesses. However, as a professional, she knows the kind of impact a high-quality headshot, video or product shot can be for business.
When asked what advice she would give to someone considering a new business, she says “Dive in, the water is fine! Plan, prepare and plan some more. Its easy to feel overwhelmed and in over your head, but keep swimming. Surround yourself with supportive individuals, a tribe if you will.”
The best referrals for Jessica and and Redfred Productions are non-profits, small businesses, and even private parties and events looking for video.
As a doula, she’d like to have more referrals through providers, birth centers, and hospitals.
Jessica says she loves being a MOB! “I found my tribe, some are artistic, some are all business, and some are just crazy, Like me! I love that I can come as I am, feel supported, and support other women in business.”
You can find Jessie online at:
Leann is mom to two teens, and owns Unique 2 U Cleaning & More ,LLC , a cleaning business that services both homes and businesses. Her office is in Hillsboro, but her house cleaning service is available throughout the Portland area.
Along with her kids and husband, they have a dog , a cat and two chickens. Leann says she’ll need to purchase a farm if they continue to add animals!
When not running her business, she loves to go hiking , camping, and spending time with her family. You’ll often find them at the coast for a quick day trip!
Leann began her business by cleaning just one or two houses, but as she gained referral after referral she realized she needed to launch her own cleaning service. With her family’s encouragement and support, Unique 2 U Cleaning & More ,LLC was born. Her business recently celebrated its second birthday and she says that is one of her proudest moments.
She says her aunt is one of her biggest mentors. “She doesn’t know she’s my mentor, but I’ve seen her run other businesses and then start her own business and be successful with it.”
Leann’s passion for providing the best possible customer service coupled with her desire to help people is the cause of her biggest challenge. “My clients mean the world to me. They are the reason I went into business. It is very important to me to find the right people,” she explains. Prospective employees not only need to meet Leann’s standards, they also need to pass federal & state background checks.
She advises new business owners to research their business idea and find people in that field who are willing to share their experiences around owning a business. “Being a business owner is not the easiest job in the world, but if you are passionate about making it work then it is a rewarding feeling to know you are not only doing something for your family, but also able to help others take care of their own families.”
She loves the freedom working for herself gives her. “I have the freedom to take care of my kiddos and ensure I can go to every appointment my son has in order to give him the help he needs .
Leann’s best referrals are people who own vacation rentals, real estate brokers, property management companies, those who own a business, and private home owners.
She loves being a member of the MOB Alliance and creating wonderful new relationships with other businesses and discovering new mentors.
You can find Leann online at:
Teresa & Sandy met in massage school, started separate businesses in different parts of Vancouver, and reconnected years later to form a business together!
“Sandy and I met briefly in massage school then later when we worked together at a franchise location in Vancouver. We each left that business and started our own practices in different parts of town. In 2012, we met up again and decided to merge our practices together for support and to grow something great together,” says Teresa.
Their joint business, Self Balance Massage opened in 2009. In the summer of 2016, they moved to their current location at 8221 NE Hazel Dell Avenue in Vancouver, Washington.
We asked Teresa what inspired her to start her own business, “Working for a franchise, creativity is a bit stifled and it's all about money. Turning out clients and upselling for the sake of profit isn't why we became Massage Therapists. We wanted to create an environment conducive to wellness and healing, where our clients felt welcome and cared for.”
They also enjoy working for themselves because it gives them the flexibility to design their business in a way that works best for them. “Our business is client-focused and we still the ability to be available for our families.”
Sandy and Teresa say they have several people they have looked up to over the years, but one massage school instructor stands out. “There was one particular instructor in school that not only taught us the skills needed to thrive, but a genuine love of the art of massage and spa work. She really sparked our imagination to create wonderful services,” explains Teresa.
As many small business owners can attest the learning curve and trial and error aspect of owning your own business can be a big challenge. “There is no real blueprint tailored to each type of business and sometimes finding resources is difficult,” says Teresa.
They advise new business owners to learn about the business side of running a business. “Passion for your craft is not enough to be successful. Hire the professionals who have the skills you lack and always pay attention to the numbers. It's not easy, but it's necessary if you want to keep growing.”
Among their successes, they cite hiring employees and nurturing the next generation of massage therapists. “We have created a place where our staff feels valued. We give them time for their own self care between clients and offer continuing education benefits to help them grow and succeed,” explains Teresa.
Teresa and Sandy treat everything from relaxation to auto accident recovery, but their ideal client is the person who sees the value in taking care of the only body they will ever have! “Well care is so much less expensive than sick care in the long run,” says Teresa.
They are excited to a part of the MOB NW and have the support of like-minded women! Teresa says, “Success only comes when you surround yourself with successful, hard-working people and that is the definition of a mom!”
You can find them online at:
Nancy has been a business manager for over 20 years in various industries. “I started out in Los Angeles working for film and TV industry professionals in a very analog way - managing household checking accounts, running staff payrolls, working with other professionals to help manage their lives, i.e., agents, attorneys, insurance folks and the like. When she moved to San Francisco in 1994, she did the same kinds of tasks, but in the music industry, “I created financial statements for various touring bands, filing tax returns, and more. Once the firm began obtaining sports clients, the tax filings became increasingly tedious and I decided to pursue other career options,” she explains.
Next, she become an Operations Director for a web boutique start-up called Studio Verso. “It was an extraordinary experience - surrounded by designers, UI professionals, engineers, project managers and other brilliant technology folks, we created one of the first e-commerce sites ever – for Office Depot ” she says.
Eventually, her company was bought out and Nancy decided to go to chef school. “After cooking at a high-end restaurant in San Francisco, I realized that it was a cowboy mentality that wasn't for me, but the good news is that I can cook anything now!”
Her next challenge was finding a job in a professional environment where she could utilize her skills and still have holidays off. She became a bookkeeper at a family-owned construction company in Berkeley, California. “I served as Operations Manager for four years until the owner's daughter was slated to become CFO and my position was eliminated,” she explains
“I decided I knew enough of the ins and outs of the construction industry and I felt I could give it a go to start up my own. This company became Capo Mastro Group (CMG) and the company still exists today. www.capomastro.com - check it out for sure - super proud of what I accomplished in San Francisco!” Nancy was bought out her partnership when she decided to move to move to Portland to allow her now 8-year old to begin kindergarten here.
“ I truly enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom, but the stipend inevitably ran out,” she explains. Her next adventure was as a Business Manager for a family-owned property management company. When they reorganized, her position was eliminated and Nancy decided to open her own business. “I decided I would love the flexibility of owning my own business again and founded Full Charge Marge - Better Books for Great People. “
Nancy says her mentors have been integral to her success. “The first is Zach Zeisler, CPA who taught me everything I know about the importance of accuracy and professionalism, even when dealing with sticky tour cash. The second would be the VP of Studio Verso - Carol Waitte - who was an early Apple employee and showed me that you can be a change-agent in a male-dominated field, maintaining a polished cool I could only hope to replicate,” she explains.
Like most small business owners, Nancy struggles with having enough time to both work on her business as well as in her business for clients. She is counts the tax law differences between California and Oregon as a challenge.
Nancy advises new business owners to value yourself the same way you would want to be valued as an employee. “One thing I always emphasized, particularly when owning my construction company, is that your employees are your best marketing. I paid my carpenters and project managers large year-end bonuses, choosing to zero-out any net income of the corporation because I would rather reward my staff than pay corporate taxes. This proved to be so appreciated by my staff,” she explains.
Her ideal referral is someone who wants to be more focused on their genius, and they allow me to completely take care of managing the financial end of their business.
When asked what her biggest accomplishment was, she replied, “My biggest accomplishment is my child, Jesse. Hardest and most rewarding job I've ever had is motherhood.”
Nancy is excited to be a MOB Alliance member because it provides validation and support for women that are experiencing the exact same challenges of balancing parenthood with a career.
She also loves working for herself and getting the chance to know various clients and what their needs are. She explains, “I love the flexibility of being available to my child after school and in the mornings as opposed to rushing off to the 9-5 office job. I love not having to wait to accrue PTO hours in order to take a family vacation. Lastly, as a "Type-A" individual, I really enjoy challenging myself to be self-propelled!”
Nancy’s MOB Alliance exclusive offer is 20% off monthly bookkeeping (minimum retainer agreement - 10 hours or more per month).
You can find Nancy online at:
Meg Wise, owner of Uniquely Wise Photography, opened her business in 2015 and has over 15 years’ experience as a photographer. She grew up surrounded by photos, “My mother, growing up, was amazing at taking photos of the floor and the back of people’s heads. My father’s house was a museum of memories. There were pictures hung everywhere. There were photo albums filled to the brim. One of the things I love the most is reminiscing over old photos and conjuring up the memories. It takes me down the rabbit hole for hours on end and I love it.”
She is happier behind the camera, and her three-year old son is often her muse. “He’s obsessed with Legos, Batman, and Buzz Lightyear. He even inspired a new Inspiration series. Keep an eye out for #UniquelyImagined #UniquelyInspiredSeries,” she says. She loves that her work allows her to be there for her son. She says, “He’s only 3.5 and still wants to be around me, so I’m going to milk it as long as I can. Plus, it makes me a good role model when he’s older.”
One of her biggest business achievements occurred over the summer when she opened her studio. “I have the cutest quaint little studio in an ActivSpace in NW Portland. It’s caddy corner from Playdate PDX. It’s light and airy and perfect for newborns, maternity and families. I have maternity gowns, wraps and some props for my families to use,” she says. She also does photography on location around Portland and Vancouver or from the comfort of your home.
Meg draws inspiration from her family. Her own mother was a single mom working full time, and she has watched her step-mom build and flourish a business and become a leader in the community and while raising Meg’s little sister. Meg’s husband is also incredibly supportive and helps with business tasks.
In her professional life, she is inspired by other photographers. Meg continues to take classes, learn, and perfect her craft, “I am always look for those in-between moments where the magic happens,” she says. She also credits the MOB NW for an amazing support system, pushing her further out of her comfort zone, and connecting her with new friends and businesses.
When asked what her biggest struggle in business is she says “I think with most new businesses, it’s getting your name out there, getting new clients, and time management. I need a larger supply of caffeine and time!”
She advises new business owners to invest in themselves and continue to push their comfort zone limits. “Get out there and meet the people in your community. See how you can help each other and make friends in the process,” she says.
Meg loves to work with parents who want to capture and never forget their pregnancy glow or how tiny their little one once was. She also loves connecting with like-minded businesses who are a part of the pregnancy and newborn community.
She is excited to be a member of the MOB NW because of the connections she is able to make and the chance to help one another. “It took me awhile to attend a meet up, and then a second, but by the second time I felt comfortable around all these amazing women, and I knew I needed to join the Alliance. And you know what I love it and should have done it sooner. I highly suggest joining this amazing group of women,” she says.
Meg offers 15% off sessions and products to MOB Alliance members. She also offers15% off as a thank you for referrals - with enough referrals you could earn a free session!
You can find Meg online at:
Julie is the mother of five adult children (three by birth and two bonus children), soon to be grandmother of one baby girl, and is approaching her first year in business as a Partylite consultant.
She is also a software engineer at Microsoft and an advocate for women and children. After a rough first marriage and pushing herself to complete her education as a single mom of three young children, while also working full time, she feels compelled to give back.
Her daughter remembers when Julie first graduated from college:
“Soon, after much sacrifice, and many Subway visits, she obtained a programming internship with a local software company and graduated with her bachelor’s degree. I recall before she deployed new software, she would work long days in the office. Sometimes, she would bring me with her and I would get to press buttons and type random things to try and “break” her programs. A few years later, in the days of Geocities, I began making fan pages and blogs as a hobby. These moments helping my mom and being a “fangirl” truly inspired my blossoming interest in computer science. To this day, I am so grateful for my mom, the first person to truly inspire me in computer science.”
As a software engineer. Julie works primarily with males. However, she had a desire to be more involved with women and their causes, including the MOB NW, Code.Org and Girls Who Code Inc. She sincerely wants to help others and inspire young girls to strive to do anything as well as opening doors for the next generation. Julie enjoys talking with women and girls to inspire them and encourage them. “Together we truly can do some much good and have success together,” she says.
Julie was inspired to start her business, LiteItForward.com, by the Give program through her employer, Microsoft in which charities receive matching donations when employees donate to charities. Partylite candles have been a relaxing enjoyable stress-reducing part of Julie’s life, and her vision was to sell candles and donate proceeds.
She also regularly donates baskets for raffles and candles for gifts to charities. Fundraisers are also something she loves to do because the charities can receive from 40-60% of sales, depending on charity status in Give program.
You can find Julie at bazaars, private homes, and coffee shops bringing candles to her customers and allowing them to hold and smell the candles in person.
Julie counts the moms in the MOB NW and her daughter as her mentors.
Her biggest challenge is living up to her own expectations of what customer service should be, “I never want to sound like I am selling and trying to ensure customers know I do what I say and say what I do – ALWAYS,” she says.
She advises moms opening a new business join The MOB NW and to believe in themselves and their abilities. “Tell yourself every day you can do it,” she says.
Julie’s ideal referral is someone who loves candles, desires excellent customer service, and is interested in helping others at the same time.
She says her biggest accomplishment is the work she does through Microsoft’s Give program she says, “This year I have donated with help from Microsoft.com over 3,000 dollars to charities!” In fact, the thing she loves most about working for herself is her ability to give back while maintaining her job at Microsoft.
Julie loves being a member of the MOB NW because of the moms and connections she makes at the meet ups. “I love each and every MOB I’ve met,” she says.
You can find Julie online at:
Candice Aiston, owner of Aiston Law, LLC is an estate planning lawyer and single mother of two. Candice grew up in Kailua, Hawaii, and moved to Portland, OR in 2006 after graduating from law school.
She was inspired to start her business after staying home with her youngest daughter for two years. “I said to myself, ‘Self, these student loans are not going to pay themselves. What should we do with this law degree?’ At the same time, I had recently finished my estate planning and told my mom-friends that I had done so. I found out that all these parents hadn't done any estate planning, so I agreed to help them. After that, I saw that I had a niche and I went with it,” she explains.
Her office is currently located at 205 SE Spokane Street, in Sellwood, near Oaks Amusement Park, although she may be changing locations in Spring 2017. Estate planning, for anyone not familiar with it, is the plan someone has in place to ensure they and their loved ones are taken care of if they die or are incapacitated. It is estimated that 64% of Americans have no will or estate plan in place.
Owning her own business gives Candice the freedom to work from home, homeschool her youngest daughter, be available to her kids, and participate in volunteer activities. “I spend my time working mainly from home unless I have meetings, hanging out with my kids and driving them all over the place to their bajillion activities, hanging out with my friends, throwing really dorky parties, volunteering doing street outreach and homelessness advocacy, and arguing about politics on Facebook,” she says.
Candice’s biggest struggle will likely sound familiar to other MOBs. “Everything is all me, all the time. I can't let go and let anyone else take over any aspect of my business or my life. And so I get spread thin and feel guilty about all areas of life and business. Because in the past, I have had helpers who struggled with meeting my expectations, when I have tried to hire help since then, I tend to spend more time looking over their shoulder than I do doing other things that I should be doing. This is a very hard area for me that I need to break through soon, because it's driving me crazy,” she explains.
Before starting a new business, Candice advises new business owners to save about six months’ worth of expenses to get them through unexpected hard times or to have a spouse with a paycheck that can cover the expenses. She also says, “Try to cut your budget down as much as you can in the first year or so of your business, and when you start making money, save half and invest half in your business. Don't spend it on getting used to a lifestyle you can't be sure you'll be able to sustain. Spend money on good legal and financial planning. You never know how costly cutting corners is until something bad happens and it's too late to fix it.”
She continues, “I have to say that while it's wise to listen to other people's advice, sometimes you have to take risks, and if you know in your heart that you have to start your business or make a particular business decision that people don't understand, you might have to shut off all the negative voices and just jump in and make it happen. That's probably terrible advice, but I had so many people telling me I couldn't open my firm, that the people I wanted to serve didn't want legal services, that I needed to put in my time suffering with a big firm before going out on my own. But I did what I wanted anyway and was very quickly successful.”
Candice started her business during the Great Recession and in a new town, “I am very proud of myself for starting my firm during the Great Recession, when lawyers were getting laid off by the thousands, in a town where I had no connections and no one would give me a loan, and building it to the point that it's at today.”
She says she enjoys being a part of the mob and connecting with people who are excited about what they've created for themselves and their community. “There's just something really special about entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial spirit. I think a lot of us are rebels. But we are passionate, perfectionist rebels (for better or for worse). And as women and moms, we face really unique challenges as entrepreneurs. So I love the combination of excitement and understanding.”
Candice loves working for herself because it gives her flexibility and the ability to make her own rules about appearance and public relations. “I have been able to be there for every important kid event, volunteer, take vacations, and sit in my pajamas all day on a day I don't have any meetings. I'm also able to homeschool my youngest. I'm able to help out friends who need help with childcare in a jam. I'm able to participate in social justice actions like protests.” Being the boss of her time and schedule also gives her the freedom to make quick decisions. “If I think something is a good idea, I can just do it. I don't have to convince anybody that my opinions are valuable. I have pretty great instincts that I trust. As a woman, things would be a lot different if I worked for a big firm.”
It also means she has the final say in all areas of her work. “I only have to answer to my clients. I can wear what I want, like colorful cat dresses or my exercise gear. (You can still look like a lawyer if you throw a lawyer coat over it.) I can be vocal about my political views without worrying about being fired. I am in charge of my own risks in this area.”
Candice works with people who want to do the best they can to make things as easy as possible for their loved ones if they die or are incapacitated. “I work with a lot of families that have young children, since that's where I got my start. But those clients referred their friends and family to me, and so I have all sorts of ages and asset/income levels now when it comes to clients. I often represent three generations of a family at a time, and that's something that I love to do,” she explains.
You can find Candice online at:
candiceaistonlaw.com -- main website
facebook.com/aistonlaw -- Facebook business page
candiceaistonlawblog.typepad.com -- business blog
Krissie is mom to a young son, a wife, and manages two businesses as well as a part-time teaching job at an alternative school in Vancouver.
Although she is originally from Alaska, she attended college in Colorado before moving to the Pacific Northwest in 2000. She’s been in the Vancouver area for about four years. When she’s not working as a teacher, her businesses allow her to focus on family. “One of my favorite things about working from home is that I can be at home most days with Jacob and design my events and business activities around my family,” she explains.
She is a consultant for two complimentary businesses. The first is Pure Haven Essentials which produces non-toxic body products. The second is Discovery Toys, an educational toy company.
She was inspired to join Pure Haven Essentials after attending a teacher’s conference. “I learned about how bad mainstream products are in the U.S. I learned how thousands of synthetic chemicals come out every year and are not tested or regulated. And that the personal care products we slather on ourselves may contain one or more of the 1,360 chemicals that are banned in Europe, but not the United States. It was a really important time for me to learn about this issue. I had just experienced my first miscarriage (of several) and was looking for a way I could feel empowered to be more in control of my own health. I took it upon myself to learn more and pursue products with no harmful chemicals,” she says.
She found Pure Haven Essentials and was impressed with the quality of the products and the integrity of the company. “Their mission to educate was right up my alley,” she explains.
After seeing how people responded to Discovery Toys at a friend’s booth, Krissie realized they would be a good match for her audience of moms and families. “I watched throughout one particular event the toys virtually sell themselves as people young and old played and played at my friend's booth.” The educational and child development nature of the toys also appealed to her teacher side!
Although she is always excited to share her products, Krissie says her biggest challenge is finding the right balance between selling and helping. “As a consultant, I really want to be seen as a guide, an assistant in helping people get what they need and want. The pressure to "sell" is just not me. I'm not comfortable unless I'm consistently respecting others. In the world of sales, there are a lot of scripts I'm simply not comfortable with.”
She credits being active in The MOB NW with helping her find her comfort zone. “The MOB has helped me see that it's VERY possible to be in sales and to also have the highest level of integrity and respect. This is so important to me. Pretty often I ask myself before following up or making a contact, ‘Is this OK with me?’ This gut-check has been a powerful tool in getting to know myself.”
Despite running two businesses that thrive on connection and communication, Krissie doesn’t enjoy talking on the phone. “I even hate ordering pizza! So, I'm constantly stretching myself to make calls but I'm getting better and that's rewarding,” she explains.
She advises new business owners to “listen to your gut, be respectful, care more about people than sales and the sales will come. Do what you LOVE. Understand your priorities so you can set clear goals. When you write goals, they should also include specific steps that will help you reach them. If one of your top priorities is family, set reasonable limits on business activities to set aside time for the most important people in your life,” she says.
Krissie’s biggest accomplishment is her family. “After my fertility struggles, I CANNOT even tell you how thankful I am for Joe and Jacob. I'm also proud to be a National Board Certified teacher and business owner. I'm proud of the group of friends I've found since moving to this area,” she says.
She loves working for herself because it gives her time and flexibility for family, but she enjoys other aspects as well. “I really get off on the challenge, too. I never feel stuck. There is always another idea I can try, something new to follow up on, a new way of doing something. I relish the way that having my own business keeps me perpetually on my toes. It allows me to be both creative and logical - a lot like teaching. I love how my businesses are in complete alignment with the subjects I teach! My businesses allow me more opportunities to teach about my passions outside the classroom,” she says.
She’s excited to be a member of the MOB NW. “The constant synergy and support I feel by having a group of dedicated, experienced, loving women surrounding me. I think it's so cool how we all do such different things, yet have so much in common,” she explains.
Her ideal referral would be someone interested in hosting a workshop or a party. She’s also looking for local salons or businesses in the health and wellness field who would be interesting in selling Pure Haven Essentials at their business.
You can find Krissie online at:
Pure Haven Essentials -
Discovery Toys -
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: