What is your present occupation and for how many years?
I am one of the creators of Bison Star Naturals, along with my husband, Angelo. My daily work includes wholesale account management, product design, website maintenance, social media marketing, direct sales and a lot of tasks behind the scenes. I began my work in January 2018, when we opened Bison Star, although I have been making soap as a hobby since 2013.
How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?
Before opening Bison Star I worked in various jobs including in the Taos Ski Valley, at dental offices, animal feed stores and even doing an internship starting and training horses. I made and sold soaps for a few seasons, but I simply did not have the focus that I do now. After giving birth to our daughter at home, my husband and I realized that we wanted to create something that would sustain our family because having a child really puts things into perspective.
We opened the business when our daughter was about 9 months old, so without even knowing it, she has been critical in the creation and growth of Bison Star. Angelo and I make a great team and I really thank him for supporting me in so very many ways. Our family, on both sides, has been incredibly supportive of our journey and I feel so much love and gratitude to them as well.
If you could go back in time and tell your 18-year-old self anything, what would it be?
I would tell myself to enjoy the journey and focus on the present moment. I think it’s important to fully enjoy where you are even when you have a long road ahead. If there is something that is not bringing you happiness, you have the power to make changes in your life — don’t wait for anyone to do it for you or give you permission.
How do you achieve work-life balance?
Bison Star takes up a huge amount of my energy, so I find that cooking and sharing meals with others really helps me stay balanced. I love to go out picking wild foods such as mushrooms, fruit or herbs so it’s rewarding to prepare dishes containing those ingredients. I also love gardening and getting out, shed hunting (looking for deer and elk antlers) where I can just focus on what I’m doing and not think about work.
How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
Motivation comes relatively easy to me because I believe wholeheartedly in our vision. We have a lot of goals to work on, both short-term and long-term, which is super helpful. I feel that having daily goals as well as five-year or even 20-year goals allows me to stay motivated without overthinking one particular aspect of my work. I like to write out to-do lists daily and weekly plans – I make a vision board at least once a year. It’s very helpful to me to hold myself accountable for what I need to do.
What's an accomplishment that you are proudest of?
I’m really proud of the workshop we’re building because we are doing it ourselves from the ground up without taking out any business loans. In 2019, we were able to complete the foundation before winter and this spring we will resume construction. We’re choosing to go slow and steady, and fund this project through our sales in order to create a business that sustains itself. Putting in all of the hard work is so satisfying, especially because I know it is setting a good example for our daughter.
As an invisible mentor, what is one piece of advice that you would give to readers?
I encourage you to have the confidence and drive to go after what you really want. I believe that you can absolutely make anything happen for yourself as long as you have the will, discipline and energy to get there. Don’t get discouraged by others not believing in you because if you truly believe in your vision, nobody but yourself can stop you.
Meet all of the Taos Woman 2020 Women of Impact:
• Debbie Lujan: Community and Non-Profit Leadership
• Michele Hunt: Educator
• Jacquelene McHorse: Entrepreneur
• Yvette Ortega: Restauranteur
• Catherine Strisik: Literary Artist
• Ernestina Cordova: Community Volunteer
• Lisa Abeyta-Valerio: Athletics
• Nikki Ross: Children's Creative Opportunities
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