Pledge 1%'s #WomenWhoLead series celebrates female leaders who are paving the way for the next generation. While our featured leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, they are united in their efforts to promote equality for all women in the workplace. We’ve asked them to share a bit about their journey to success, as well as lessons they’ve learned along the way.
What is your current role? Briefly describe in 1-2 sentences.
As a small business owner, I do it all, from running our store to receiving and processing incoming consigned collectibles, answering customer inquiries to creating and managing our marketing.
What’s the best part of your job? What do you enjoy the most?
I'm a horse lover born and raised in the woods of Maine, so my favorite part of the business is getting to talk with horse lovers from all over the world. When you share a passion or a hobby, distance means little, and it brings the world closer together in a positive way.
We’ve all faced personal and professional challenges these past two years - what motivates you to keep going?
With all the emotions these last two years have brought people as they hunkered down, or had to work in dangerous situations, many found relief in reviving a hobby they enjoyed when they were younger. They may have set aside their hobby when life got hectic, but since 2020, it became a lifeline - an escape from the worry that brought back memories of happier times. Because our business is also a lifestyle for me, since I'm a collector, too, I welcome friendships from our customers. This can be both a challenge and a motivator, as I have shared some happy moments in their lives and some terrible ones with them by email and social media. I have been kept in the loop as their real horses get ready to foal, and been blessed with photos of the new babies, and also informed when their family members have passed, or they've had to move out of their homes. I have cried with some of them, and carry them all in my heart, but I also feel quite humbly honored that they have chosen to include me into their lives.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
It wasn't given to me directly, but it's one I've taken to heart: Maya Angelou said: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I use that to guide every decision we make here, since the models we sell (we like to say adopt out) often have an emotional component, and we always want to be conscious of that. They're not "plastic models," they often carry a deeper meaning for the collector.
What does generosity mean to you?
Generosity for me means trying to find ways to be helpful with whatever resources are available to me. Whether that be my time, processing donated models for the animal shelter charity account we maintain; money we donate to Riding to the Top, our "1% To Charity" beneficiary; or effort, helping promote events where collectors can get together to socialize and learn more about the hobby.
How do you feel businesses can play a larger role in solving today’s biggest challenges? Do you have any specific stories or examples from your work or colleagues you can share?
I believe every business has a responsibility to its customers, community, and the world in which it resides, to make a positive impact. For us that means working toward becoming a B-Corp, which inspired us to power our store mainly by solar, helping support our regional animal shelter (we've raised over $10,000 for them since 2016), and participating in roadside cleanup, erosion control efforts, and forest management to promote healthy habitats for wildlife here on the mountain.
If you could describe yourself in one word what would that be and why?
I've never been described as "a woman of few words," so ONE word? Nope, can't do it! Maybe "driven," or "compassionate." There's always a balance to strike there.
What are you looking forward to this year? Are there any goals (personal or professional), activities, or experiences you are excited about?
Last autumn we were named DownEast Magazine's Editor's Pick for Best Toy Store in Maine, a huge honor for us, since it was our first time being nominated. The publicity has increased both foot traffic and online sales for us, and we're now in a position to expand our business! We've been a Mom & Pop since inception in 2012, and are now considering building a larger store building / warehouse space, and perhaps hiring someone to help part-time. That's a huge step, both financially and emotionally, as it will mean "letting go" of some of the things I've always done myself, but it's an exciting thought as well. I still have to pinch myself when I think, "I sell plastic ponies for a living. For a LIVING." It's my dream job, and it has grown to the point that it needs to expand. That's mind-blowing.