We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Dannwolf and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amy, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Healthy work/life balance is vital to longterm success because it’s essential to a person’s well-being. I have a really hard time pulling away from any work in progress, which is what most things are when you’re an entrepreneur or involved in any creative pursuit. Having kids has helped me with the balance, because I need to pull away and focus on them – I need the hard cut-off of school pick-up or being home in time to relieve a sitter.
However, the challenge has then become dedicating time to myself: filling my personal bucket. I view my contributions as a mother as work as well, it’s a job I take really seriously and I’m proud to have, and while I am fortunate to enjoy the work I do for Powder7 and the work I do as a mom, I also need to make time for me.
Over the past year, my priorities were in flux constantly – the scales of work and parenthood always swaying. At first, I neglected myself. I didn’t force myself to make time for any of my own hobbies, but once I realized that was untenable in the medium to longterm, I tried hard to prioritize myself and it really paid off. I was happier, which made me a better mom, a better business owner, and just a better person to be around. I went from having tunnel vision — just trying to survive a pandemic with everything afloat and intact — to actually enjoying, really enjoying, my life.
Throughout the year, that means making sure I get outside for at least an hour every single day, regardless of the weather. Over the past winter, I spent a lot of time skiing (often with my kids due to remote schooling, but I enjoy that so much that I count it toward filling my bucket). I’ve worked in the ski industry for 14 years, but this was the first season I prioritized my own skiing, and getting out as much as possible. It felt incredible to finally do that.
Making time for myself did mean letting go of some things for work. Over the past few years I’ve worked really hard on delegating, which as a business owner is scary (entrepreneurs tend to be control freaks, and I’m no exception), but at a certain point, it becomes essential. In the early days of Powder7, Jordan and I would literally do everything. Over the years we’ve had to shed responsibilities out of necessity. At first, it’s easy – you shed things that you aren’t particularly attached to, but as the business grows, you need to relinquish some control over things that you once held tightly to, and that’s tough. In delegating, I’m not only opening up time for myself to work and play, but also giving others the opportunity to grow with experience.
What should our readers know about your business?
Jordan and I started Powder7 in 2007 out of our garage, as an ecommerce ski shop. Today we employ over 45 people during the ski season and over 30 people year-round (we outgrew the garage in 2007). A lot of what we did 14 years ago is what we still do today – we continue to specialize exclusively in skis and ski gear year-round. We’ve just added more products, services, and a better customer experience. Our aim wasn’t to grow this big, necessarily, we’ve just worked day after day on small incremental improvements, so while looking back it wasn’t easy per se, it has never felt overwhelming. We’re climbing a staircase, not climbing into a catapult.
I’m most proud of how we’ve been able to prioritize being ethically and morally responsible – in terms of giving back to our community through 7% days (where we donate 7% of a day’s sales to a non-profit, something we do about 4 times per year) and also in terms of what benefits we are able to provide to our team. I also love how we are dedicated to getting more people out skiing – working with a true #skiingforall mantra that encourages a supportive atmosphere in purchasing gear to help remove some of the intimidation new skiers might feel.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My dream day in the Golden area, and what I would totally rope my best friend into, would be starting the day with a latte and burrito to go from Pangea. From there we would head up to Centennial Cone for a mountain bike ride, taking our time to enjoy the views. Lunch would be Cafe 13, and then we’d stroll through downtown Golden popping into various shops (Golden Goods for a surprise for my kiddos, Peak Cycles for whatever piece of bike gear I would inevitably need, and Merrygrams for whatever gift-giving occasion is on the horizon). The newly opened Golden Mill would be our first choice for dinner – the bbq there is tough to beat.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The person who deserves a whole lot of credit is my husband, Jordan Jones. The more time that goes by the more thankful I am to have him by my side in all facets of life – we are truly partners in everything. We have been together since I was a sophomore in college, and at this point he knows me better than I know myself. He holds me accountable for everything I commit to, including time to prioritize myself. He’s a steadfast sounding board, whose insights and guidance I appreciate now more than ever.
Other: personal instagram: instagram.com/amydannwolf
Skiing action photos by Steamboat Powdercats @steamboatpowdercats (@jamesonmidgettphoto) / Shop photos of our team by @john_c_paul