Boss Lady - Lindsey Gray
Bella Vita launched a blog titled “Boss Lady” in March 2017 - after years of being inspired by the women that we are friends with, work with, or do business with, that are building their empire doing what they love. Running a business takes work, and getting started takes courage. At Bella Vita, we wanted to take this opportunity to praise and encourage some of the great female entrepreneurs we have met over the years and we hope to inspire more young women (and men) to follow their instinct/talent/passion and become entrepreneurs.
My team and I are reaching out to the woman owned businesses that inspire and amaze us on a daily basis. We will start with a brief background, then dive into the nitty gritty of running a business, what keeps them inspired, and everything else in between.
I am a Little Rock born and raised, and went to college just down the road in Arkadelphia at Ouachita Baptist University. I went to college as a music major, but after a year learned that I wasn’t going to teach or perform so I switched to accounting and got a degree from the business school. I worked retail in high school and college and always hoped to own a retail store. I caught the bug to cook, bake and entertain shortly after getting married and actually sold Pampered Chef to support my cooking/kitchen gadget habit. I worked for my family’s business as the Controller for 9 years before Eggshells became available. I jumped at the chance to pursue my dream job and own my dream store.
I have been married 14 years to my husband Brandon, and we have 3 boys : Ethan (age 10), Charlie (age 6), and Harrison (Age 4). All of them have taken an interest in cooking and baking, so it’s been fun to share that love with them!
- Give us your elevator pitch. Eggshells is a locally owned, neighborhood kitchen store where you can find anything from cocktail inspired gourmet candy to German cutlery, aprons to cookbooks, and cookware to local finds. My staff is knowledgeable and welcomes the opportunity to introduce you to a new gadget or walk you through a dinner plan or gifting need.
- What is your business? Eggshells Kitchen Co.
- When did you start your business? It began in June of 2008, I purchased in August of 2013.
What inspired you to make the leap? It was always my dream to own a retail gift store, and to partner that desire with all things kitchen was too good not to leap!
- What helps you get started each morning? Coffee, diet coke, 10 mile jog, meditation?? Diet coke and a few minutes of quiet to sort out my to-do list for the day.
- Tell us about a day in the life of running your business. Every day is a new experience. The slower pace of the morning allows time to process online orders, catch up on emails, and build orders for new and returning products. Around lunchtime, the pedestrian traffic picks up and we get to interact with our customers. Some are on a mission for a favorite product, others are just looking to see what’s new, and some need help with a new recipe or gadget they saw and HAVE TO HAVE. The afternoon is spent preparing for a class if we have one that night, or I’m headed to go pick up the boys in carpool line!
- What keeps you motivated? Making people happy. I love my job and am lucky to have many customers who are also friends, so every day coming to work is a joy. Helping someone discover a new favorite food, teaching kids to cook so they expand their palate, or wrapping a gift to surprise the cook in their life….these are my highlights!
Describe your dream day. My dream day is a day without a schedule to just explore. If I could start at a local bakery for breakfast, stop in some different shops to get ideas of gifts for the upcoming holidays, lunch with a friend that involves a delicious beverage, and then trying out a new recipe (most likely baking) in the afternoon. Dinner out with the family and then tuck in everybody and have a glass of wine!
- What is your greatest strength/super power? Ability to get along with anyone OR multi-tasking
- Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat? Facebook
- What do you do in your free time? (ha! What is free time?!) Shopping or reading... both allow me just to zone out for a bit.
- If an investor gave you 1 million dollars to use toward your business, how would you spend it? I would increase the size of the store and demo kitchen so we could do bigger classes. I would LOVE multiple ovens and stovetops so more people could be cooking and creating together.
What’s the biggest risk you ever took; how did it go? Buying Eggshells – it’s been the most rewarding experience!
- Name something you hate doing but have to do for the good of your business. How do you make it tolerable? Paperwork! It should come easy because of my background, but I want to be on the floor talking to customers instead! I now take it home and do it in my office there so I’m not tempted by the store or staff conversation.
- How do you handle discouragement? I take it as a challenge and use it as fuel to do better.
- Which iconic person inspires you? Martha Stewart – she proves you can chase your dream at any age, fall from grace, pick yourself up and still come out on top!
Do you have a favorite, inspiring quote? No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up, and never give up.
- If you could choose anyone to pick as a mentor, who would you choose? My mom
- Who are you in your next life? I am a food network star. I either get paid to travel all over and enjoy the restaurant/bar scene OR I’m getting paid to make real-life every day food and treat for entertaining.
- Any secrets on how you balance the ins and outs of running a small business? This is an everyday work-in-progress. Live in your calendar and schedule the time for the things important to you. A lot of work can be done when you are not in the office, so just get it done when and where you can.
What’s the best advice you have for other women wanting to be entrepreneurs? Follow your gut. If you hear a voice inside telling you something, listen to it. You’ll never regret trying!