I’ve known Ann Marie for a few years and I’ve always been impressed with her commitment and dedication to her entrepreneurial journey. She’s smart and funny and deeply committed to living her life and building her business intentionally.
Ann Marie launched ThreeTines.com in September 2015. As you read her Biography I think you’ll be as inspired as I am regarding the thought she put into her new brand and the intention behind it. She took her time launching her brand and in a day and age when the message seems to be “speed is everything” I applaud the patience she’s shown. Of course, as you’ll read, this is due to her ability to trust her instincts.
Personally, I love the Three Tines brand and its eco-conscious message and products, as well as its underlying message of kindness… to the earth and each other. I also love how Ann Marie sprinkles humor in just about everything she does! She’s a wise, articulate, and creative woman who keeps reaching for the stars and her unique place in the world!
Ann Marie is most certainly building a business around her Brilliance! Take a look here: www.ThreeTines.com
Enjoy Ann Marie’s Biography!
What’s a typical day look like for you, including your work schedule? I’m actually in the process of trying to have more “typical” days. While I am someone, as are many entrepreneurs that does not seek out structure I am learning that some daily consistency serves me very well. Right now, that means getting up between 6-6:30 a.m. and doing 20 minutes of yoga followed by 20 minutes of meditation, having a healthy breakfast with my husband and taking a walk before settling into my office/studio. Once in my studio my days are often dedicated to either working on administrative/marketing tasks OR creating new products at the cutting table and sewing machine. I find it works best for me to either put on my business hat or my creative hat and leave that hat on for the whole day.
How does owning your own business support your lifestyle? Though I had a successful corporate career before moving into self-employment it was never comfortable for me. It never fit my true nature to sit at a desk for a prescribed number of hours, so owning my own business is ideal. I can work at 7am or 7pm and that seems to work for me. Additionally, I am married to a college professor who has some flexibility in his daily schedule. Some of our best “dates” have been the times we have decided to see a movie at 2pm or picking apples at 10am – they don’t happen often, but I love that it possible now and again.
If you’re not living it already, what is your ultimate lifestyle? We would love to travel more and are trying to figure out how to incorporate that into our lives/schedules. We’ve been lucky enough to travel to Australia twice for 4 months each time in the last 7 years (in conjunction with Paul’s (my husband) job). Once you’ve had in-depth travel experiences like that you want to do more of it! Our jobs currently don’t allow for extended travel, but where there is a will, there is a way, right?
What is the best thing about owning your own business? What do you love about it? My first response was initially “flexibility,” but given a little more thought, what I really love is being able to incorporate my life into my business and my business into my life. Three Tines is crafted around my passions of cooking, creating, and sustainable living. For example, when I’m laying out a menu plan for the week, its both work and life –or- when Paul and I are out hand-harvesting grapes with the local vineyard, I’m both enjoying a fun day with my husband and cooking up a blog post in my head.
What’s something people wouldn’t know about you? I love to ice skate! I took to it naturally as a child and have recently re-enrolled in lessons – part of my efforts to convince myself that, in fact, I am not “too old” to learn new things and it’s never “too late.”
How long have you been in business? Are you a brand new business owner? How many months/years? While my self-employment journey began in 2003, I officially launched Three Tines in September 2015. And, as a friend recently said to me, “This business feels like the perfect culmination of your other endeavors.” I couldn’t agree more!
In a nutshell, tell us about your business? I am the founder of Three Tines, a company that manufacturers ethically produced, eco-conscious aprons and other kitchen linens. Our line features products used in the kitchen and at the table because it is my belief that food connects us. It connects us to people, to our memories, and to the earth. The food on our plates is the most direct connection to the environment and the amazing abundance it brings us.
What do you specialize in? It might sound a little haughty, but I believe we specialize in kindness. I believe that, at their core, all environmental efforts are about kindness — kindness to yourself, to others, and to the planet.
How do you help people? Our mission has (no surprise) three components: eco-conscious products; a community where people can share ideas on living more sustainably; and our giving back initiative. We hope customers see our products as an easy way to start making small changes in their life. Our blog’s goal is to share ideas (from us and others) on living sustainably and offering space to talk about sustainable design/product life-cycle issues. Our Giving Back program allows us to take a percentage of our profits and share them with organizations that share our enthusiasm for healthy food and a healthy planet.
Do you work online, by phone, in person? Since our business is new, we currently only offer our products through our website. It’s our intention to begin to expand our reach through wholesale accounts beginning in the second quarter of 2016. I am also interested in expanding the message of our business through speaking in the greater community.
What makes your business remarkable and unique? I really don’t want to be “just another” manufacturer or retailer. Our products and ideas are more than just things; they are a way to express mindfulness, a way to build connection. Every decision is made with intentionality – we want our products to have a “soul.” I take great care in creating our products – everything, right down to our tags and thread, is environmentally-friendly. I extensively interview all vendors, making sure their employees are paid and treated fairly. And, I seek out recycled, recyclable and biodegradable packing and printed materials.
What’s your Brilliance? This might sound like it’s coming out of left field, but I believe my Brilliance is my ability to project and people manage, organize and put systems in place. If you marry that with my passion for caring for this amazing planet and the people and creatures on it you get to Three Tines. It took me a long time to own this Brilliance, to feel like it was enough . . . or even something. Once I finally embraced my Brilliance I was able to employ it to do something that I found rewarding and valuable – to both myself and others.
How do you infuse your business with your brilliance? Again, probably not your “typical” answer, but here goes . . . I ask for help. I hire people. I ask people to bring their Brilliance to the table. If my brilliance is strategic planning and yours is graphic design, then together we’re going to make a pretty dynamic team.
Do you believe listening to and acting on your intuitive instincts has helped you grow your business? How so + example. Absolutely! For years I have been hearing the “gloom & doom” environmental stories (one of the hazards of being married to an Environmental Chemist) and I just kept feeling “there must be a better way.” Yes, as humans have done great harm to our planet, but my gut kept saying making people feel bad about it wasn’t going to effect real, positive change. The whispers kept saying, “You can either chastise people for the past or start working for a better future.” But, what would I do? My gut said to combine my passions and talents and give people an easy, and beautiful, way to “green” their lives and Three Tines was born.
How have you honed and built trust in your intuitive instincts? For me it has taken trial and error – jumping into the deep end, if you will. Acting on my intuition and then paying very close attention to the results. By seeing positive results I learned to trust my “inner voice” more and more.
How does your intuition work? Do you get a “gut feeling”? Do you receive “signs”? Do you just “know”? See things, hear things, sense things in other ways? For me, it is a combination of all those things. It is amazing how much we “know” if we get quiet enough to really listen. Or, how telling that feeling in your gut is, if you don’t just pass it off as indigestion!
What do you do when you have a setback, or when the going gets tough? Eat a bag of Chee-tos?? Seriously, this is a tough one for me and something I work on everyday. I am notoriously hard on myself and have to work really hard to stay positive through setbacks. My best practices include practicing gratitude. I am a written word kind of girl, so it works best for me to write down all the things I am grateful for, with an intentional focus on the “small” things. I also have an amazingly supportive partner and having his support sustains me through the tough stuff.
What do you do to maintain a healthy mindset? Yoga, meditation and getting out in nature are the habits that pay the biggest dividends for me.
What are your personal “traps” – what do you need to watch for? (ex: lacking confidence, holding back, etc.) I have two personal “traps:” the belief that its all been done before and I’m not enough of an expert.
Spirituality / Soul
How big a role does spirituality (your connection with God) play in your business? It plays a huge role in my life so by extension it plays a big role in my business. While it might not appear directly in my business, it shows up in the way I conduct my business and the decisions I make.
Do you feel your business is soul-driven? How so? Yes, I feel my business is very soul-driven – which might be odd for another manufacturer or retailer. Kindness is at the core of everything we do – it drives what we make and why we make it. Our sense of personal responsibility motivates us to offer a product that has a lower impact and encourages us to support like-minded charities and non-profit organizations.
Do you feel your business is an expression of your divine purpose/mission? How so? Yes. I’ve felt, for as long as I can remember, that it is our mission to leave the world a better place than when we found it. This business allows me to fully express that belief while still offering a usable, beautiful product that people can be comfortable brining into their own homes.
Do you feel you were “called” to do the work you do? How so? How did you “know”? Something is driving all of this! I’m not sure I fully understand it at this point, but I know the Universe is not letting me do anything else, so I’m going with it!
What’s your ideal business look like? I want to part of the larger conversation on sustainable product design. I want to help people welcome friends and family into their homes with beautiful accessories. I’d love to someday return to owning a bricks & mortar store – this time it would be more of a concept store where a customer could not only shop but also taking a cooking class.
What do you still want to do in your business (and life) that you haven’t gotten the chance to do …yet? As someone who loves to be on stage, my BIG goal is to give a TED talk!
Outside your business, what are some of your other big dreams? I’m still working on my health goals, so my dreams include getting back to a healthy weight. Oh, and someday, I’d love to try my hand at stand-up comedy . . . or being part of an improve troop . . . (Yikes! Did I just put that out to the Universe???)
What made you passionate about what you do? What brought you to this point? I’ve often joked that my resume looks like a child’s “Connect the Dots” activity. It took me a long time to stop doing what I thought I was “supposed to do” and start living the life that is meant for me. My passion for “doing better” brought me here – if you can do better then I believe you should. Whether that means making eco-conscious products or simply sharing kindness with friends, family, neighbors –do it.
What are your favorite success books? Daring Greatly by Brene Brown; A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson; and pretty much any entrepreneur profile (recently read and enjoyed Do the KIND Thing by Daniel Luetzky of KIND bars).
Who / what inspires you? Before leaving my corporate career I worked as the Director of Development at the Ronald McDonald House in the Twin Cities and I have never been more inspired than I was by the children and families staying there. It’s been 15 years since I left that job and a week never goes by when I don’t think of those ill children who never lost their capacity to laugh. I strive for the same thing every day.
Who has greatly influenced you with his/her teachings? See “books” question
What philosophies do you have that you think have contributed to your success thus far? My personal philosophies that have most contributed to my success are: At our core we are all good people; You will never know what its like to walk in another person’s shoes; and one from the Three Tines Touchstone – Kindness is a daily practice, not a random act.
What’s your definition of success? Peacefulness. I don’t believe we can always achieve happiness, but having a sense of personal peace through whatever is happening in my life, well, it doesn’t get more successful than that.
How long did it take before your business was profitable? Since just launching in September, we are still working on paying off our start-up costs.
What do you like to do for fun/hobbies? Taking walks, reading, cooking, spending time with friends and I’m a huge sports fan – always gives me a little chuckle to think my Sundays are split between football and Super Soul Sunday – doesn’t get much different than those two things!
What’s your favorite thing to eat? A year ago I switched to a an entirely plant-based diet, so I am loving trying all kinds of veggies – my favorites are kale and avocados . . . oh, I might enjoy a glass of hard apple cider or Cab Sav once in a while . . .
If you were a superhero, who would you like to be? Oprah. ‘Nuf said.
What’s your favorite color? This is hard one! I am a very visual person and love all kinds of colors, but right now I’m crushing on big bold reds, Tiffany blue and elephant grey.
Design influence? Artist? My design and art aesthetics lean modern (love clean lines!) – so I’ll say Modrian and Mark Rothko. Though if Nate Berkus wants to come and decorate my home, he is most certainly welcome!
What’s your favorite movie? It’s a close race between the original Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and the Wizard of Oz.
Musician? Anyone who makes me feel like getting up and dancing!
TV show? It’s guilty pleasure time! My butt is always on the sofa for Dancing with the Stars and Project Runway (did that reveal too much about me???)
To date, what’s one of the best experiences you’ve ever had in your life? Oh so many! But, I’d have to say having a pod of spinner dolphins swim and jump alongside our small boat while snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef – they were just SO happy!
What advice would you give someone just starting out, or wanting to start a business? Trust your gut. Just because someone hasn’t done it exactly the way you want to do it, doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? I had a college professor (former VP of Marketing for Coca-Cola) that walked into the first day of class and announced, “Life’s not fair, don’t expect this class to be.” I came to realize throughout the semester that she wanted us to find innovative ways to conquer hurdles and think outside the box after being told “No.”