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Sonoma Women in Business — The Q and A

Posted on February 6, 2015 by Sonoma Valley Sun

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Jennifer Hainstock Attorney at Law

What or who have been major influences in your life?

Both in business and personally the words of the Dalai Lama have inspired me.

I was not happy practicing family law with all the negativity and fighting.

The Dalai Lama taught me that the only person responsible for my happiness is myself, and therefore it was up to me to make changes if I wanted to be happy. Thus, after 12 years of litigation, I quit.

How do you define success?

For me I’m successful if I have a good work/life balance.  I enjoy my law practice and clients but I also need time to exercise, spend time with my friends and dogs, and eat healthy.

What keeps you motivated?

I enjoy helping people and using my brain.  Estate planning is all about helping people create a plan that meets their individual wishes.  Some plans are simple, some are complex but all are interesting, and I have met some wonderful people.

If you could do one thing differently…

I wish I was bilingual. I’m going to keep learning Spanish until I am.

What advice do you have for young women starting out in business?

Put your head down and work hard. You will start at the bottom but the harder you work the faster you will rise through the ranks.  No job should be beneath you and if you want to work for yourself, go for it!

Joanne Sanders Bolt Staffing

How did you get your start?  

I started my company with the help of a supportive husband, the business incubator program at Idaho State University and advice from the business experts at the Small Business Development Center.

What or who have been major influences in your life?

Getting a college degree, getting married and being recognized by the INC 500.

How do you define success?

When goals are met, regardless of how big or small.

What keeps you motivated?

When people return my phone calls.

What advice do you have for young women starting out in business?

Find a mentor.  Dress professionally. Send a lot of thank you notes.  Keep your commitments, even when you regret making them.

Jeanette Fung Owner, Sox de Vine

How did you get your start?

After visiting Fort Bragg and seeing a wonderful sock store, I knew that having one in Sonoma would be a hit.

What or who have been major influences in your life?

My mom taught me that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.  Don’t let others define you.

What challenges have you overcome along the way?

I’ve had to overcome my fear of failure and trust that I could do it.

How do you define success?

Success is hearing people laughing and calling to their friends to come look at the fun sox and items that they’ve found.

What keeps you motivated?

I love meeting new people and even though I now have thousands of sox, I still get excited every time I look at a new sock line.

If you could do one thing differently…

I would’ve gone into retail much earlier in my life — I just love talking with customers and meeting folks from all over the world.

What about your job might surprise people?

Shopping for a store is very different than shopping for yourself.  It’s hard work!

What advice do you have for young women starting out in business?

Dream big and don’t be afraid to make a mistake.  Learn from it and move on.

Anne Appleman Anne Appleman Flowers & Plants

How did you get your start?

I started out selling flowers door-to-door in San Francisco.

What or who have been major influences in your life?

My friend Jane always said, “just keep going,” as in, don’t quit. And my husband has taught me to be a better manager.

How do you define success?

Success is a very happy customer.

What keeps you motivated?

I’m inspired by new materials and work by other designers

What advice do you have for young women starting out in business?

My advice for anyone starting a business is: Be available, be generous, be accommodating but know your limits. Fix it if it’s wrong and own up to your mistakes. If you do what what you love, the money won’t matter. If you don’t know what you love, try doing something you like and be the best at it. All clichés, I know, but I’ve found them to be true.

Anna Bimenyimana Bon Marche Thrift Store

How did you get your start?

I started in 2007. I opened Bon Marche Thrift Store after spending six years exporting used clothing and shoes out of a huge warehouse on Eighth Street East, but the operation became too big, and I closed it to focus on the non-profit side of things.

 What or who have been major influences in your life?

My parents and my grandparents. I grew up in a very giving family. My mother and my dad were very nice people. My dad died when I was nine years old and people still talk about him.

What challenges have you overcome along the way?

Well, the most recent challenge was the huge fire that burned down our previous location. We’re very thankful to have found a new place to reopen so quickly, but it has been a major set-back, and the high rents of Sonoma, for both our locations, is an on-going challenge.

How do you define success?

My reputation as a businessperson. I believe if you give the best customer service, your business will be a success.

What keeps you motivated?

My family is my joy in life, and my customers are amazing.

What advice do you have for young women starting out in business?

Get your ideas together, and write them down. Pick a name for your business, and then put some time into writing your business plan, which I think is the most important thing to start a business. Do not get discouraged no matter how many times people tell you that your idea is crazy.



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