The Things I Continue to Learn from Mom(s): My own and the moms that I am surrounded by
Some of you might not know, but I am lucky enough to get to work with my mom here at Gundalow Juice. The “Lisa” on our team is Gundalow Juice’s Operation Manager, and she is also my mom. At work she is Lisa and in my personal life she is mom. My mom and I first started working together when I was in middle school. We started our first business, Pina Colada Co. We made women’s accessories including ribbon belts, towel wraps, watches, headbands, and basically anything with a polka dotted grosgrain ribbon. If you were at a school craft fair in the Baltimore County area between 2004-2007, then you very well could have a vintage Pina Colada Co. accessory! Together, we learned how to create a brand, make inventory, source materials, invest in machinery, build a website, handle amazing customers (plus some jerks along the way, too), open a business bank account, and market. My mom can sew like a pro--really, she can learn and perform any skill like a pro-- and she is a logistics maven. The lessons we learned then are integral to what my teams are building today.
My teams are made up of a lot of moms, including some very new mom’s (Karlee, our Customer Care Captain, just had a beautiful baby boy!), and some are moms to very furry children (dog and cat mamas, myself included). I learn something from these amazing women every day. I am constantly humbled by their expertise, confidence, intelligence, and beauty. As I get older, I become more amazed at the sacrifice moms make and I have seen that Mom really does know best, even as she maneuvers an entirely new situation. How does she do it? She’s a mom.
Here are some things that I have learned from my mom and continue to learn every day.
You can start, build and grow a business using Google.
I am pretty sure my mom could cure rare illnesses by just using Google. Whenever we need something (like new boxes, labels, or even a processing facility) she finds 4 new options within hours and she has already price analyzed and compared shipping costs. She is the best researcher I know and she is constantly curious. Being curious is integral to being a small business owner, you have to be four steps ahead of where you are because you are constantly growing. There are so many times that Lisa Poist has looked into something, met someone, and a year later is following up with them.
2. Every relationship is important.
Everyone loves my mom. I always say if you like me then you will love my mom. She is genuine and authentic. She does not constantly wonder what other people think of her and instead she just makes friends wherever she goes. Lisa has been asked and happily agreed to write letters of recommendation for kind and ambitious people who work in the warehouses of our suppliers. The amount of “Happy Thanksgiving” text messages she receives is incredible. I have always admired that she, and my father, have always treated customers, vendors, and anyone with whom they with the utmost respect.
“We can make this.”
You’re right mom, we can and we always have.
“Famous last words” she might even call them. Pina Colada Co. started because I wanted to buy these ribbon belts that were insanely and outrageously expensive. My mom took me to the store, looked at them, and said, “we can make this!” So I said okay and then we went to craft store, purchased supplies and sure enough, we made it. And then we made it into a business that went on for several years.
I recently was asked what are some of the most influential things I have heard throughout my career and “we can make this is at the top.” I was lucky to hear this so young, over and over.
Sometimes I do have to stop my mom and say, yes we can make it, but let’s let someone else do it.
4. Nothing is impossible and there is always a step that can be taken.
Gundalow Juice has presented challenges in my life, and a lot of it has happened very, very quickly. There have been so many times where the rug was pulled out from under us and we learned to fly while falling. There was actually a time where we needed to transport our juice from Baltimore to New Jersey for High Pressure Processing. The trucking company called us to tell us that the truck had broken down and that it would take days before they could get the juices up to New Jersey (luckily the refrigerator on the truck still worked). Within two hours, Lisa had rented a refrigerated truck, gotten the necessary rider for our insurance for her to drive a commercial truck, received a DOT card and was on the road to rescue the juices. I am pretty sure she has the ability to stop time. The juices were received only an hour later than originally planned. She saved us $10,000 because the juice didn’t go bad.
Mom/Lisa never says “I don’t know what to do.” Instead, she springs into action and gets it done. Her actions always remind me that everything is impossible, nothing is impossible. Every day I hope to be more like her. I guess becoming my mother is not really something that scares me, but something I look forward to … for the most part. (Kidding, Mom!)