We had the good fortune of connecting with Erin McDonald and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erin, what is the most important factor behind your success?
People – a lot of great people! I am a sponge when it comes to learning from people, but I also know we can only be so successful on our own, and we need to surround ourselves with people hat help us balance The people on my team that have helped me build my business, that believe in our mission, that balance me, and make coming to work fun. The people that support me at home when I need to work late, when I need help changing air filters, or installing equipment. The people that cheer me on when I need and catch me when I fall. The people that have given me tough feedback when I needed it most. That challenged me to think differently, do differently, and just plain be uncomfortable so that I could continue to grow. The people that let me learn from them. That took me under their wing, and let me watch and learn from their behavior.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Lessons I have learned along the way is that it’s ok to fail, there is always room to improve, and to give yourself grace. Failure can be a beautiful. You need change your mindset around the word failure or mistake, and learn to embrace it as a teaching moment. Allow yourself the room to make mistakes so that you can continue to grow and develop. A lot of how we learn is experiential, and I find I learn from my experiences. I tell my team it is ok to make a mistake, but more importantly you need to be able to recognize the mistake and learn from it quickly. I often reflect on interactions or situations and what I could have done differently. We can always improve. I am constantly evaluating my performance and my companies performance by evaluating our interactions, processes, and programs. You’ll often find me standing in the gym observing quietly. I am always looking at ways to reduce waste and improve our customer and team member experience. I am taking in those observations, reflecting, reevaluating, and planning resolutions. When I onboard new team members we speak a lot about continuous improvement, and how I want them to bring me idea’s to make our business better. Give yourself grace. This is still new to me, but every day I am working on it. Reflecting on mistakes and constantly trying to improve can lead to stress and anxiety. I’ve had to learn how to balance it with allowing myself to be kind to myself.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We are so lucky to live in such an incredible city and state. Denver has so much to offer, and such a wonderful small business community. It is so easy to get outside and be active, or just take a stroll through one of the many eclectic neighborhoods. Our original location is in the Highlands neighborhood of Denver which is where I also live so I’ll start there. First, I’d have to get coffee at SloHi Coffee and a bagel from Leroy’s (both located across the street from our Highlands location). I’d walk across the street to rent a paddle board from Aspen & Pine and head to Sloan’s Lake. Next, I would spend the afternoon shopping at all the wonderful local stores on 32nd Ave. Finally, I would head to Tennyson Street for some more shopping, and finish it off with pizza and a beer from Hops and Pie. If I was looking to head out of our neighborhood I’d head to Red Rocks for a hike. I love live music, and it is always on everyones list to check out. Next, I would take the short drive over to New Terrain Brewery. They have an awesome outdoor space, great beer, and always a few food trucks. Finally, I would end it in the RiNo neighborhood. There are incredible murals everywhere, and it is amazing to just walk around and explore the art while you pop in and out of cute shops and amazing breweries.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My team! This year has been incredibly challenging as a small business, and they have not flinched once. They never lost their passion, and on my hardest days founds ways to make me smile and laugh. They also know that our students have been through a lot this year, and they make it a priority that they have an awesome experience every week. I truly would not have made it through this year with out them.