Years in Tampa Bay
Director and Principal of The Oyster Bar and Crafty Squirrel
What do you do?
I am the Director and Principal of The Oyster Bar and Crafty Squirrel in downtown St. Pete, which is a fancy way of saying I own the place. Big plans for a new concept are currently in the works.
Why do you do it?
What started off as a casual part-time job developed into a passionate career in hospitality. Having the ability to start something from nothing and creating an atmosphere and great customer experiences is definitely the drive.
What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)
With finishing school at 18, I started my own small business as a local DJ where I contracted residencies at a few local establishments. One slow Monday night as a last resort, I was asked to cover as a glorified bar manager; from there I was able to experience the dynamic from the other side of the bar and the new career was born.
What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?
The diversity in job descriptions. To start the day you could be a glorified plumber, marketer by lunchtime laying out potential new promotions and campaigns, and by dinner service a dishwasher. With establishments open two-thirds of the day, there's a lot of moving parts and not a lot of sleep at times.
What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?
There have been several times where you've been working a 15 plus hour day, just as you think you're set to head home, a piece of equipment breaks down, a pipe gets clogged, an employee has an emergency or payroll still needs to be done, which can result in that day going from 15 to 20 hours in the flick of a switch. When taking over the Oyster Bar, I was fortunate enough to have a great team working around me. There were times where 100+ hours was the norm. These are the sort of challenges faced as a small business owner in order to keep the lights on. No matter the challenges, be prepared to be open for business again the next morning, rocking a smile.
What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?
I've always been a fan of not being the smartest person in the room as a great piece of business advice, but the true winner for me is that you can't put great ideas into the bank.