Season three of life: all the nuts and cheese! Conversations with Sisters

Courtney and Dana unpack last week’s episode with Jess Ekstrom (Apple Podcasts | Spotify), discussing the different seasons of their business and what it means to them personally and professionally. Plus, why starting your second business is scarier than starting your first, why success is situational, and enjoying the journey rather than the outcome.


Dana: When you are constantly looking at what your next thing is, and you’re constantly wishing away time, wishing away this moment in life, seeing it to the next moment in life, you miss so much. You miss so much growth. I think you make more mistakes that way, because you’re not realizing and recognizing where you are. You’re only trying to get to where you feel like you should be or where you want to be. 

Courtney: Welcome to Hustle and Gather, a podcast about inspiring the everyday entrepreneur to take the leap. I’m Courtney, 

Dana: and I’m Dana,

Courtney: and we’re two sisters who love business. On this show, we talk about the ups and downs with the hustle and the reward at the end of the journey 

Dana: And we know all the challenges that come with starting a business. Between operating our wedding venue, doing speaking and consulting, and starting our luxury wedding planning company, we wake up and hustle every day.

Courtney: And today we’re talking, just the two of us, about last week’s episode with Jess Ekstrom. If you haven’t heard the last week’s episode, go give it a listen and come back to hear our thoughts. 

Dana: All right. Court let’s get started. 

Courtney: it was so good. I just love her like entrepreneurial spirit. I felt like I was in the presence of like-minded person, a multi-preneur 

Dana: Yes. It was really, really great. So many takeaways. 

Courtney: So many, yes. All right, but we’re going to try and keep this one less than 60 minutes. 

Dana: We are, we are. One thing that I really loved was kind of the freedom to understand that what you did in season one of your business doesn’t necessarily serve you in season four and that’s okay and not necessarily look at that as a failure. So what did we do in season one of our business? 

Courtney: Well, we use to consult together with every inquiry. Do you remember that? There was two of us. We went together. It took up so much time. Yeah, and I felt like that was definitely a season one move

cause we felt like, I think it was more like a security blanket than it was 

Dana: Well, yeah. And I think it was when you’re trying to sell yourself, sometimes you can do that better in person, and We Weren’t overly confident in what we were selling. So we needed that extra boost to them seeing us in person, as opposed to just talking over the phone. 

Courtney: Yeah. And I think like you would forget something and at least, and the other person who would remember that item that you forgot to mention. So I think maybe that. 

Dana: I think that in my beginning stages versus where we are now the thing that I think is totally worth letting go is feeling like we had to be at everything and do everything. Like I felt that we needed to be at every open house and try to work at every venue. We need to be on every single list. 

And as it is nice to be on lots of lists, there are some of these, I don’t want to be on your list. Like, take me off. I don’t want to be there, you know, because it doesn’t, it’s not the right business model for my business, right. But at the time you couldn’t tell that that was the reason. It just felt like exclusivity and not necessarily understanding that, Hey, it’s just not a good fit. 

Courtney: Yeah. I could definitely see that. So more philosophically, like saying yes to everything. And now you only say yes to what’s going to promote the brand or move it forward, 

Dana: but what’s going to be best for, what I’m saying yes to, because sometimes saying yes to a venue being on their list is only going to hurt them, because you’re just not a good fit for them, right. And you’re not going to be presenting them in the way that they want to be presented because there is friction there. 

Courtney: Yeah. I was trying to think of like some Bradford things and I was like, landscaping. I was like, no, I get sucked back into that. Plumbing, nope. I still do that occasionally. Still have watched a wedding. I’ve done venue supervisor.

Dana: Well, we don’t, like if we have to do massive paint, we always hire a painter. If you have to do big projects, we very rarely do it. But I mean, the pandemic obviously doesn’t count because we did some big projects from the pandemic. 

Courtney: I was trying to think there’s still a lot of things that we do. Yeah, no, but I love that. I don’t know if we’re on season four. What season are we on here? 

Dana: Technically the Bradford we’re season seven and with C&D around season 15, that’s just depressing 

Courtney: When’s that finale? 

Dana: But there were so many takeaways. I don’t think I could pick a favorite. So we’re just going to like talk about some of our favorite. 

Courtney: Yeah, I loved talking about seasons. I kind of segue into sophomore syndrome, like I loved her talk on sophomore syndrome, how sometimes it’s scarier once you’re already established to do something new, to kind of go out of your lane, and then once you’ve had that feeling of success being afraid not to have that same feeling like, and knowing I’m a failure is cause you know what success is. 

Dana: Yeah. So I think there’s, I think there’s two sides to this. The first side is kind of like where we are right now, is we are, and I would say we’ve been successful prior to this year.

But I think for personally, we feel successful because, I have said this so many times this month is, I feel like this is the first year I can tell someone I feel well compensated for my job. I’ve never felt that before ever, like, I’ve always felt like I’m doing this for this? Freaking bullshit. And so there’s a part of us that like, we, you have that bug to go and to create, to do something else or another business, but then there’s the other part of us that says, can we just relish in this moment right now?

And so there’s that, it’s not a fear of failure, it’s just a maturity recognition, like recognizing that it’s okay to pause and to enjoy where you are right now before you move forward. Yeah. because I think we’ve always lived our life in a way where we were constantly moving forward, thinking forward what’s the next thing, what’s the next thing, the next thing. And then when all of a sudden, you’ve hit a peak and you’re like, oh, Let’s plateau for a little bit. You’re like, oh, but isn’t there a higher peak I should go to?

Courtney: It’s like that fear of stagnation. 

Dana: Well, yeah. Well, there is a valid fear of stagnation, there’s a valid fear that. For me too, I think moving into a next business model, I am more fearful of it because I understand not the financial toll, but the personal toll, the time it’s going to take. So to me, it has to be something that is very solid and I’m not going to half-ass it, and I’m not going to do it the way we did any other business.

Like I’m not going to open up how we did the Bradford or how we started C&D, it’s going to be like investors balls to the wall. Go out with a bang, go big or go home. Don’t be afraid of the, of the finances type thing. 

Courtney: And then that’s scary cause you have more invested, like I think back on like the Bradford and I know it maybe could have happened some other way, but then it really couldn’t have happened any other way.

Dana: Not for that time. 

Courtney: Not for that time, and then I also think like how, the way that we did that gave us the ability to be where we’re at today, because there was so little what felt like a lot of the time, but now we know that it was like a little, little bit of finances in it that it allowed us to really structure it and build the team and to get it to where it is.

And that’s because we did it so safely. Do you know what I’m saying? So like, I look back and I wouldn’t want to, I couldn’t play it safe again, cause I’m not going to put my time and person and family out there like that. So there is, would be more risk. It would be a little bit scarier. And then I also think when you’ve created this great product that gets like this amazing thing, your, there is something in the back of your mind. Like, can I do it again? It’s just a one-off?

Dana: Right. But I mean, I guess I actually don’t look at that time and say, this is the only way we could have done it. I think it is because it was what we knew, we didn’t know any different, but if we had more gumption and we had a little bit more belief in what we were doing and what we were selling.

Yeah. I think it’s not, maybe we didn’t get the financing, that was the only option we had, but what we charged, how we structured things. Yeah, if we believed more in what we were selling, we could have gotten where we are a lot faster. 

I do believe that, but we were so timid. We were like, oh, what’s in the venue. I’m going to charge you $2,500 for a Saturday. Hello? I know, freaking nuts, absolutely nuts, because you were just like, oh, but no, one’s going to come out here. No, one’s going to book it. You know, we didn’t believe in what we were selling. We didn’t believe in it. 

Courtney: Yeah. I guess I know differently. But yeah, I love that, like kind of that thought on sophomore syndrome. I mean, we’ve had multiple things, like, you know, there was a C and D events, and then there was a little bit of fear when we moved into the collective and then we opened Bushel and Peck and then closing Bushel and Peck. Is that going to be successful?

And then you have the Bradford and then you have Hustle and Gather. So there’s been multiple things, that are all different businesses. I don’t know, you do kind of have that, like, is it going to be as successful? 

Dana: One of the pieces that it really hit home the hardest for me was her conversation about achievement versus success. It’s really stemmed from the like attention and success and how are they, that they truly are not co-dependent on one another because I think for so many of us success is an outward appearance. Really your achievements are measurable things. It’s the awards, it’s the money or whatever, and success is a feeling, which I thought was pretty powerful. And I think pretty damning, in a lot of ways of how I look at success. 

Courtney: You felt convicted. 

Dana: Oh, totally. Because I do think that, and I, and I loved the exercise, take your name out of it, does it matter, essentially? I can’t remember the word. 

Courtney: She did say does it matter. So I had a hard time wrapping my mind around that as well, yeah. Like so, but I, does it matter?

Dana: Yeah. I mean, and it is hard because there is something about wanting that, I don’t want to say notoriety, or wanting the accolade for the hard work. something you’re super proud of, it’s like creating a piece of art and then not signing your name to it, and just watching everybody admire it from afar and be like, who is that artist? Who is that artist? And is there that joy of you secretly knowing that it’s you? Or would you be like, I made that like, do you know what I’m saying? 

Courtney: See, for me it depends, it’s situational. Like, I, I can tell when I’m feeling like insecure amongst people or around people, like I’ll tend to bring up what I consider our successes. If I’m feeling very secure in myself and sure about where I’m at in life or maybe feeling successful, like I don’t have to mention it. 

Dana: I agree with you. I think it is situational. I think it is when you feel threatened, or you feel like you’re trying to prove something, you have to do that.

Courtney: I think success is situational, right? Like I can be around, super successful people and my success is, like paltry compared to what I, to what I feel they’ve done, right. But then I can be around other people who for better or worse, I don’t see as successful. And, then I feel very secure in my success, such that I don’t have to talk about it, right. I just am. 

Dana: I agree that success and how you feel about, how I feel about it is situational. I don’t agree that the actual, what I would consider successful is situational because I see people around me that are, I, I see a lot of people that are successful like that, that are maybe to someone else, not as successful as me, but I don’t feel like I have, and when I’m around someone like a crazy successful, like CEO making millions of dollars, created XYZ, like I don’t, I also don’t need to feel, I don’t feel bad about what I’ve done or unsuccessful. 

Courtney: No, I don’t. I don’t feel that way. It’s not like a bad, it’s not a good or a bad feeling. Not like, Ooh, I feel good, or I feel bad. There’s times where I feel like more secure and there’s times where I feel more insecure. There’s times that I feel. intimidating and there’s times that I feel intimidated, right? Yeah. Well, yeah. And there’s also times that I want to get into conversation because I want to know what made that person tick.

Like, what is it that got you to where you’re at? Like, I find that super interesting, like what I was talking to Dana about the other day, like literally what makes a CEO? Like what makes someone a CEO? What makes someone not a CEO, you know? Right. It’s, it’s really, really interesting. 

Dana: Right, but I think too, it also goes back to when she talked about women and how she actually feels really good now when someone, another woman’s successful, like where early on, it felt like there was like a tension there, you know, and even though she knew conceptually that she should be happy for this, cause any woman succeeding is her success in the end. But it was hard to be happy for somebody who was, made your success feel less or made your achievements feel less.

And I also feel that very deeply because I think it’s really easy to fall into that. And it really kind of piggy’s back on what you’re talking about with intention. And when you are in a place when you are feeling that competitive edge and you’re feeling like, oh, I should be happy for this person.

You’re telling yourself, be happy, be happy, be happy. It’s maybe going back to like, like the core of what it is, like the, the intention of who you are and what is your actual, 

Courtney: What if you just don’t like that person’s intention? There’s definitely people who I feel like have garnered, especially in our industry, some level of success whom I don’t respect.

Like, I don’t think they have good intentions. I don’t think they’ve gotten to where they’ve gotten in an honest way. Like, their intention is not to build up other women, it is to bring them down, and how do you navigate that situation? Like when you’re forced into a situation with someone who is intentions you, don’t trust or know are bad?

Dana: I’m really not the right person to answer that question because I probably don’t handle it well. I lose my shit a lot. I probably get overly heated. I create the always, nevers and the whatever, like that. We totally had that situation 

and I was like, take us off the list. I don’t want to work here ever again because it’s not, it’s not worth it. Like it’s not worth it. You’re, you’re not, you’re not a team player. You’re not making me look good. You’re making me look really shitty.

And I’m not convinced that this person isn’t going to sabotage the next event. And I don’t want to, I don’t want to deal with that. I don’t want to deal with that. So I just walk away from it. 

Courtney: But don’t you feel like in those situations? That is when I am like, 

Dana: well, I hate that it’s a female 

Courtney: flaunting my success at that point. Like, I’m like, I’m going to squash you. I’m like a magnifier with an ant. You know what I’m saying?

Dana: I do feel that, and then that makes you feel really icky afterwards. I did one time say that to somebody that made me so upset. I think it’s cause I was trying to be helpful and I went into the conversation thinking that I was going to be helpful and that this person was going to respect what I was saying to them, they did not. And to their credit, I should have warned them that this was going to be this kind of conversation. They did not see that coming. Yeah, and remember, it’s not my finest moment, but I remember she’s made some comments, said something and just, it was one thing right after the other. And I just cut her off. I was like, do you know who I am? 

Courtney: To know who I am? And you’re like you said your name was Dana, when we started this conversation. 

Dana: I was just like, cause in my mind I was thinking I could literally write one email and destroy your reputation. I’m not going to do it, but like it was this very like power trip moment. I’m not proud of, I was mad. I was so frustrated. 

Courtney: I felt that too. Yeah. I love that. I love that thought that achievement, and she also said are tangible things and it kind of lets you know, that you’re on the right path. It’s like those mile markers that are like, all right, you’re going in the right direction. And then success is just something that you feel, and I do totally believe that. 

Dana: Well, yeah, because I think a lot of times you can, your achievements tell you on the right path, tells you what you’re good at, tells you what you have strengths in. And, and I do agree that it’s telling you are on the right path. But I think sometimes you get like the achievements cloud how you actually feel about something and you can have achievement after achievement, after achievement and never feel that success. Yeah, because it’s actually not the right road you should be on. 

Courtney: Yeah, I think that’s true. That’s accurate. Have you ever felt that way? 

Dana: I feel like I’ve had some achievements that have meant less to me than I thought that they would, like, once I got there, I was like, oh, I was like, really proud of was striving for, and then once I got it, I was just kind of like, this actually doesn’t mean anything and I don’t feel success over it. So I don’t think what I was striving for was not actually the right thing to strive for. 

Courtney: Yeah. I mean, I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. I, yeah, pretty achievementless. 

Dana: You have no achievements, none? 

Courtney: I don’t know. I really can’t think of anything. Honestly. I’m like, as it wasn’t as a teacher, I didn’t really get a lot of achievements when I was teaching. I’m not like our star planner. 

Dana: I think for me, I have probably a part of like going back to like birth order, being a middle child and being forgotten, I have a constant struggle inside of me of genuinely why I do things with helping others is very altruistic. Like I do love to be there for somebody and, and in my mind, I want to be like, oh, I don’t need the recognition or anything.

It’s not even that I do. It’s if that person decides to recognize five other people and then leave you out, that bothers me. Do you know what I mean? 

Courtney: I don’t know. Like, I think you’ve won like NACE member of the year, like three years in a row. I think that’s true. And then, I mean, I’m very proud of you and I sit beside you in the office and I think that was a hell of a lot of work for that piece of glass.

Dana: Yeah. 

Courtney: But then I feel proud of it, cause like you’re my business partner. So I’ve have like auxiliary pride, secondary pride. Yeah. I’m so cool with that.

Dana: Yeah, but I don’t, I don’t ever, it’s not what I strive for, not why I do what I do. You know? 

Courtney: But talking about celebration, I loved how she mentioned or talked about celebrating the mundane. And I think this is literally for me, this is like, like life mantra stuff. Like it is about like the balance, and I’m not saying like I’m perfectly balanced or anything like that, but I feel very strongly that people work so hard to get to a spot in their life that they can enjoy.

And then they don’t ever enjoy what they worked hard for. Like, no matter what it is like, even you talking about like the groceries and how I hate putting away groceries. And I remember it was not that long ago that you measured a successful life by the number of cashews and amount of cheese that you can buy at the grocery store.

Dana: And I have lots of nuts in house.

Courtney: I’m sure that you can buy whatever cheese or nuts that you want, but yet you loathe putting it away. Doesn’t that just like, say something to you. 

Dana: Yeah, no, I agree. And I think for a long time I equated mundane with mediocre. Okay. just mediocrity and I don’t believe in celebrating mediocrity.

I just don’t it’s like goes against everything in me. It’s like, oh, this is, you were just, okay. Like, you know, it’s that the idea that everyone should get a trophy or, you know what I mean? Like it’s, I believe in celebrating greatness and I believe in celebrating people for just being who they are. Yeah. But I think it took me a while to recognize that mundane isn’t the same thing as mediocrity mundane it’s just like the normal it’s your day to day, right? 

Courtney: Right. It’s like your life. 

Dana: Yeah. 

Courtney: Well, yeah, I mean your life, isn’t like a bunch of highlights. Most people, maybe some people’s lives are. 

Dana: No, I do. I do think that. And I think there is a season of life when you start to recognize that. There is one thing I loved; I was at a mops meeting. I think Henry was just born. And someone talked about wishing away time and it really hit home for me because there was something. And during this season of my life, I felt all I, all I was doing was wishing away time, because you first, you get pregnant with this baby and you realize how out of control you are.

Like you can’t, you cannot control what’s going on inside your body. You can only control what you’re eating, that’s literally it. And so you’re thinking, okay, if I could just birth this baby. Okay, so this baby comes out and you’re looking at this tiny little helpless thing. And then Henry had, like, I remember those first few days in the hospital and they’re like, oh, he might, he had trouble breathing when he was first born, he was like, oh, he might choke on these things and you have to suction his thing. And I was like, if we could just get out of these two days, then I could keep them alive. And then you bring them home and you’re like, okay, if I can just get them to five, like, can they just become five years old?

Like, and keep them alive. And then, and for every season it’s like, oh, we could just get to them eating solids. If we could just get to them sleeping through the night, we could just get them past the freaking threes. If you could stop pooping your damn pants, like all of these phases you are constantly looking forward to and you’re forgetting to just be in that moment in time. I think business is so similar, yeah, because it feels a lot like parenting a child, right? Like it’s okay. If I could just get to financial security, if I could just get to adding one team member, if I can just do this, if I can just, just, just, just, 

Courtney: and I feel like I’ve moved beyond that because I think I have realized that we are never going to get to just. 

Dana: Right. No, and I think that, and that’s the point is that when you are constantly looking at what your next thing is, and you’re constantly wishing away time wishing away this moment in life, seeing it to the next moment in life, you miss so much. Yeah. Like you missed so much joy.

You miss so much growth. You miss. I think you make more, more, more, more mistakes that way, because you’re not realizing and recognizing where you are. You’re only trying to get to where you feel like you should be or where you want to be. Yeah. And there’s a lot of beauty being stuck in the mud and I’m stuck where you are. 

Courtney: I think it’s being stuck in the river and it’s just taking you like where it’s going, but she did mention that. She said especially about business, and I think being very entrepreneurial mindset, that it is not about chasing the outcome. It’s about chasing the build, and I like 100% agree with that because I’m normally bored with the outcome like for me, by time, you’ve made it to the outcome. I’m done with that, but I’ve moved on to the next thing. 

Dana: But I also think it’s okay if you’re an entrepreneur that chase the outcome and love the outcome and is fine with the outcome. And that’s where you are. I think there are different types of entrepreneurs out there.

I think there are people that they are addicted to the business and the build and all that stuff. But I think there are lots of people that are just like, hey, like I built this thing and I want to hang out here and chill. And I love that I got this far and I can do this thing and that, and I think that’s where you see a lot of people that, that build it and then sell their company or they hire a CEO and they just become a board member, you know, and they’re enjoying the fruits of all this labor they’ve put together. 

Courtney: Right. That does sound nice. I mean, I’m not going to lie, right? Like that CEO does sound, where’s our CEO? 

Dana: I don’t know, they can’t handle, they cannot handle. 

Courtney: We’re not organized enough. 

Dana: No, we would not let anyone deal with our shit at all. But I think it’s important to know that about yourself. I think it’s important to know what kind of entrepreneur are you are. 

Courtney: What kind of entrepreneur are you? 

Dana: I think I’m somewhere in the middle. Yeah, I do love the outcome. I do love the build, but I love the build more because I, it sounds so circular because I love the outcome. You know what I mean? Like I look at some things and I think about like this next phase and we talk about where, what our next business move is and whatnot. I, I really want to low touch, high profit next business move.

And it’s not because I don’t feel like we make enough money or anything like that. It’s because I really want to do something with it. And I was talking to a friend the other day and I said, I think what’s so wrong with our society and the top 1% of our world is people look at being wealthy as such a privilege. And I look at it as it is such a responsibility. And if you are not being responsible with it, and if you’re not doing the things to better the world around you, then you are not worthy of it. 

Courtney: But I love how she was talking about like, she modeled her business after Tom’s came out. And how, and I firmly believe this, that you don’t have to be a nonprofit to be bettering a world with your business. You can be a for-profit and for world. 

Dana: Totally. And I think this is where we’ve talked a lot of that, a lot of times it’s like, well, we look at where are the points in our own community, where we live in New Hill, North Carolina. Like what are some things that we struggle with as a community?

Like, I feel like I can create a low touch, high profit business, and I want to do that so I can take that money and do something amazing with it. And I don’t think it means that I have to sacrifice it. I don’t think it means that we, you can’t also turn a profit on it. I think there is a balance to it and I think when you’re talking about Toms, you’re talking about Headbands of Hope, it’s like a one for one thing. Like, so I think to answer your question, I think it is, I think it’s probably more the outcome, but I do enjoy the build.

Courtney: We already know the answer to that for myself.

Dana: That you’re all about the build and you don’t give a shit about, I don’t care. I’ve built it, I’m walking away, washing my hands yeah, 

Courtney: It’s not true. I love what we’ve built. I love looking at it. I like, I love the team. I love the people that we employ. I love our office environments, even if I do make fun of the fact that we can’t keep it clean and whatnot. I think that’s a blast. It’s the people aspect of the like directly the people that we employ that I love, like building other people in that, like in that kind of way. Cause it’s kind of like mentorship and you’re their boss and I love that.

Dana: Yeah, I bet, I think that’s, to me, the industry, I love people. That’s what I love about it. I love industry events, love networking. I love all those things. Yeah. 

Courtney: I really think we should end on a hundred-year goal. I love how she mentioned in Japanese culture that at the beginning of the year, they don’t make like the annual goal, but they make A hundred-year goal, because another thing too, getting back to achievement, she was talking about how achievements are a personal, like a, like a sprint, but that success is a relay and you can say, you can toss it off, pass it off to somebody else. And so they make these goals that they will never see the outcome of, like knowing it, which I think feels deep. 

 Cause I mean, you think about that on some level when you have kids, like, what am I leaving my children right. But if you think about it on more of like maybe a community or a global or an industry level, like what would be your 100-year goal? 

Dana: I honestly feel like the biggest thing when I think about like, if I could make any change in the world, whatever is I could, I would want to get rid of food insecurity for people. There’s a way to create a world where you get rid of that food insecurity and you don’t, the kid doesn’t go home and think of how am I going to, how am I going to eat dinner?

Or am I going to have dinner tonight? Is this my lunch the last thing I’m going to eat till the breakfast the next day? And I think as a community and as a world, like that should be our number one and I, and I think we can solve it, we just choose not to. 

Courtney: So cheese and cashews for all. That is my 100-year goal is that everybody has access to high-end nuts and great cheese. 

Dana: Yeah, no, I mean, I just, I think it’s, it’s such a basic thing. It’s crazy to me that we live in a world where that is still the case. Yeah. 

Courtney: So interesting. 

 I would love to have like a more open business relationship with refugees or like underserved populations that there’s like more of like a like trust and understanding of where people are and what they need and coming to the table and businesses need have a little bit more of a creative approach to like handling those situations.

Cause I think the small business community is a super dynamic and can be very creative with how they think about things. and there’s like a, a venue, a local venue here that may have a, they happened to have a house on property and they have a Hispanic family that does all of their venue cleaning and they’re like set up.

 I think it was a mom and two kids, it was single mom with two children. So like worked around her schedule. The housing was included. Obviously, they still paid her a salary and whatnot but it’s kind of like a family affair as well. And I literally just thought that was amazing.

Dana: Like I was like, that is such a good, like, because that family was in need of something stable like that, like a home and job?

Courtney: And it fit around what that person needed. Do you know what I’m saying? So like, well, this job fits what your needs are. It’s is a kismet situation. Like win-win like, I need someone that can work an abnormal schedule that is available. You need a place to live. I can provide those things. And I think that we don’t really think that way in business. We just kind of come, the way it’s always been as a way it’s always going to be.

But I think I, 100-year goal for me would be to be able to use our resources more judiciously and to be more helpful and aligned with people’s lives needs, if that makes sense, right. I understand where just help in one area can really change the outcome of a life. 

Dana: Well, yeah. You know, like one of our, the people we partner with the most is Interact which deals with, you know, domestic violence and stuff.

And one of our biggest things that we support and we try to support is raising items for the emergency shelter and, you know, and it’s, they need everything. They need everything from underwear to bras to toothpaste, and toothbrushes, I mean, because they come in a moment of severe crisis with nothing but the clothes on their back because they ran and they got out when they could get out in the moment they could get out.

And you think about that and how powerful and that we have a resource like that. And there’s, and it’s, not like you have this shelter and the availability everywhere, right. Like, I think it’s a really, it’s a thing that we, as a country don’t do well., Is dealing with people in crisis and how can we help them in this crisis?

Courtney: But I think small business could be a way to help bridge that gap. 

Dana: We, I think lots of things can help bridge the gap, but I do agree small business. I do agree that I think it’s an admirable hundred-year goal. Yeah. 

Courtney: We’ll work on it. Okay. All right. Well that was so good. Yeah. Thanks Jess. So it was an amazing conversation we could have talked for forever. 

Thanks everyone for gathering with us today to talk about the hustle. To learn more about Jess and her story, visit or follow her on Instagram at jess_ekstrom. To learn more about her organization, visit or follow along on Instagram at headbandsofhope. And for those of you who are listening, Jess has given you one free month of Bright Pages, her online journaling platform. You can go to bright and use the code “GATHER” all caps. You can read more about Bright Pages and Jess’ other products in our show notes. We have made a Paloma€ this week in honor of Jess, and we hope you get a chance to make it yourself and cheers to making 100-year goals. 

Dana: And to learn more about our hustles visit,, and or follow us on Instagram at canddevents, at thebradfordnc, and at hustleandgather. If you liked the show, be sure to subscribe and leave us a rating and a review.

Courtney: This product is a production of Earfluence. I’m Courtney. 

Dana: And I’m Dana.

Courtney: And we’ll talk with you next time on Hustle + Gather.

Full Episode Transcript

Hustle and Gather is hosted by Courtney Hopper and Dana Kadwell, and is produced by Earfluence.  Courtney and Dana’s hustles include C&D Events, Hustle and Gather, and The Bradford Wedding Venue.

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