We had the good fortune of connecting with Molly Brink and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Molly, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I feel like I’ve finally got the work/life balance down, but it’s taken me years, and many incarnations of our “shop.” There were times, especially when we opened our second wine store, when I found myself working very long hours, six or seven days a week. My son was in elementary school at the time, and there were just too many days that my long commute time home meant spending less time with my family. I was also working weekends and missing almost all of the kids parties, playdates, all the little things that add up to fun memories and bonding time not only with your own child but the new families in our lives. I tend to overwork anyway, but owning my own store, being the buyer and manager, meant it was very hard to let go and create balance in my life. Little did I know that when I started to take more time for my family, the store seemed to run just fine without me micromanaging. My staff was well-trained and fully capable, and did quite well without me – a revelation that was awesome and also possibly ego-bruising (wink). Now that we have Clutch Gifts and we are not operating out of a storefront, carving out time for my family or my work isn’t an issue. Even with our new normal and all the zoom school, etc., I am more than able to spend time with my family and work around those priceless, coveted moments in life. Of course I’m writing this right before our holiday rush, when every remnant of balance will most likely fly right out the window.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Gift-giving comes naturally to me, but for others, it can be complicated and time-consuming. We started this business out of love for small-production wine and interesting, useful gifts, but also to help make giving gifts easy and fun. Wine gifts usually are an assortment of mass-produced wine and cheese and crackers, etc., and I think those gifts seem a bit impersonal and obligatory. Clutch Gifts is a gifting experience designed to surprise and delight. We hand-select artisan goods and small production wines to ensure each neatly presented box is uniquely personal. Our aim is to enrich relationships and simplify life. Our first iteration, Venokado, quickly grew from one store to three (the third was a kitchen shop). We learned a ton along the way, and I swear I use every bit of that knowledge every day. Taking risks is essential for growth, but I will say we are more measured about it now, having learned from some leaps where the net did not appear. We really love what we do. We are passionate about wine and I feel attached to every single gift that goes out our door.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If I had a friend in from out of town, I would take them for a hike in Bronson Canyon in the morning and head over to 3rd street for the remainder of the day. We’d grab a Monty’s vegan burger and fries for lunch, and poke around all of the cool shops up and down the avenue. I’m food/restaurant obsessed, so of course we would have another meal after all the strenuous shopping and sit outside at Son of a Gun for the best ever food and my favorite whiskey sour made with real egg whites.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to shoutout to my wife and business partner, Tracy Hof, who has supported me no matter what wackadoodle idea I spring on her. She brings my crazy ideas to life and I love her beyond. And to my son, Oscar, who grew up in our wine shops, learned to stand up using wine boxes and is forever patient with our work.
Other: wine tasting videos are on our IGTV https://www.instagram.com/clutchgifts/channel/