If it hasn’t been made evident by now, we love people here at AAT! We love hearing about their stories and passions for our community, but we also love hearing about what our fellow locals do and why they do it! For example, we have some wonderful neighbors who own/manager some fantastic local businesses and serve our town tremendously by doing so! This fact is why AAT has partnered up with our good friends at Duke’s Diesel Repair, to bring you all “Small Business Fridays!” Each week, we’ll feature a different, local small business and talk with its owner and hear about their journey, their business in general, as well as their heart for their customers and our city!
This week, we’re joined by Cynthia Shedd!
Cynthia is a Wife, mother of two boys, and business owner of Uniquely You With Cynthia and is an affiliate with DVTD®. She loves partnering with people, especially women and moms, to help them achieve their goals and dreams. She runs a marketplace with a mission committed to partnering with companies all over the world who are using their business to give back to causes close to their heart, such as anti-trafficking movements, homelessness, hygiene, and breaking the cycle of poverty.
Do you want to know a fun fact? I (Anthony Crosby) did not even write that last paragraph; Cynthia did! That’s how supportive and on the ball she is! She’s all about helping people achieve their dreams, even when it comes to helping write an article about how she’s all about helping others achieve their dreams! So, whether you’re buying a piece of her jewelry or talking to her about your entrepreneurial ambitions, you can rest assured that she will have your back!
Thank you for joining us this week, Cynthia! Before we talk about your different businesses and organizations, can you please tell us a little bit about yourself? Have you always lived in the Elko area?
“I am not (originally) an Elko resident; I was born in California. I grew up on what many would call the wrong side of the tracks. Growing up the way that I did, I was exposed to some of the harsher realities of life, but I was also exposed to beauty and simplicity. I had all these dreams growing up of all these things I wanted to do and places I wanted to go, but in the back of my head, I figured that a poor little girl like me wouldn’t be able to do things like that.
“Despite my parents’ hangups, they always tried to make sure that their personal choices didn’t hold my sisters and me back from achieving our dreams. So, I was able to get scholarships to go to a private school where I studied pastoral ministry. I didn’t want to be a pastor; I wanted to help people! I loved the idea of joining with people where they were and where their dreams were and helping them take that next step. Everything I did encompassed that. This has led to a varied resume! I have done some odd jobs in assisting people to pursue their dreams.
“Fast forward, I met my husband. He’s wonderful! And then we were able to pursue a dream of mine that I never thought I’d get to achieve; we lived in Scotland for a year! We worked at a retreat center in the house and kitchen team. After that, we were broke! So, we came to Elko to help take care of my husband’s elderly grandparents. This will be our sixth Winter here in Elko!”
Fantastic! The community is blessed to have you and your family here! Now, let’s chat about your business. What do we need to know about it?
“I am an affiliate with a company called DVTD®. While DVTD® is a new company, it is actually the brainchild of Premier Designs Inc., which has been around for over thirty-five years. We are a marketplace with a mission! We create a space for companies with a vision for social entrepreneurship; they all want to give back! We’re not just jewelry anymore. The whole reason why the company (Premier) was started was to give individuals an opportunity to break cycles of poverty and pursue their dreams of financial independence without giving up their other dream of being a stay-at-home mom, ministry workers, etc. DVTD® keeps that same heart, but now we’re able to give a voice to other organizations, you may not have heard of, who are doing the same thing.”
What are the realities of life for a mom/wife entrepreneur? What’s a great philosophy that you run your business by?
“It’s messy! It’s chaotic! It’s crazy! It’s wonderful! I have worked in retail for over fifteen years, and there were always aspects of it that rubbed me the wrong way. I believe in pursuing a debt-free lifestyle, and stores would want us to push credit cards and upselling without the customer’s interests in mind. That would always hurt my heart. So, I decided to strike out on my own because I got to control my morals and character. So, as an entrepreneur, you need to find, or start, a company that makes your heart sing. Your company and connections should mirror the type of relationships you want to have. Especially this year, people are realizing that your money has power, so why not spend it where your heart aligns? Find your heart, find your community, and ignore the haters!”
On top of being a business owner yourself, you’re also the area leader for a group that’s all about supporting other women in similar seasons of life as yourself, The MOB Nation (Mom Owned Businesses)! What can you tell us about that organization?
“It’s a group of women entrepreneurs who are also moms. We believe in the buying power of women! The group is nationwide but has been in Elko for over three and a half years. The woman who started it saw that professional networking opportunities were not suited for the working mom. It has blown up!
“Before the world’s craziness, we were doing once a month meetups, but now we’re full virtual! We’re one of the leaders in online networking in this niche! We have twenty to forty meetups a month! Some of the meetup topics are general, and some of them are niche. There’s power in word of mouth, and because we’re virtual, we’re connecting with women across the country!”
You’ve taken your support for other women across the US; however, your immediate context is the Elko area. What would you say to someone who is looking to start something new in our community?
“I would encourage anyone new. Elko and the Elko area is a family, and it is not uncommon to not be accepted right away. That’s not a discouragement, and it’s not a knock against us. Elko loves fiercely, and you don’t get fierce love overnight. It took us two and a half years to dive into our community! Find your pocket, and start loving them fiercely. It’s scary, and hurt may happen. But then we pick ourselves up and brush ourselves off.”
Here’s another fun fact about this blog feature. Cynthia and I actually conducted this interview while her kids were napping! That’s just how mom bosses have to rock sometimes! Therefore, let’s wrap this conversation up before the little ones wake up! Is there anything else you’d like to share before we let you go, Cynthia?
“I want the readers to know that they are valued and have a purpose in this world. I want them to find that purpose! Once they do, it’s going to be magical and feel like a bad nineties song. Also, we all need to find our hype people, whether you’re an entrepreneur or not! A smile is contagious; start an epidemic with the people you feel like you can be real with! I know things are hard right now, but don’t give up on your dreams. This is a reason. Don’t stop; do something today! If your work impacts one person, then it’s worth it. We don’t know the impact that we’re going to have.
“If you need help finding businesses, local or beyond, that are serving a greater purpose, I would be more than happy to help!”
Connect with Cynthia on Social Media! You can find her here:
Information on the MOB Nation https://www.themobnation.com/
You can stay caught up on everything going on around here at AAT by checking out our “Stay Connected” page! Make sure you never miss a feature!
Until next time, we’ll see you around, Elko!