We had the good fortune of connecting with Monica Challingsworth and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Monica, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Successful entrepreneurs are known to be pretty risk-averse, but what makes them different from the rest of us? What type of crazy gene do they have that others don’t? Some people dream of leaving their corporate 9-5 (which we know is never really 9-5) to follow their dreams of being a business owner, tech pioneer, social media star, world-traveling foodie, or an array of amazing opportunities that are out there. However, many do not take the leap because we believe having a “job” or “corporate career” gives us some kind of job security. Ask anyone who has been laid off, right before retirement, after 40 years of uncompromised dedication, or someone who has unexpectantly lost their jobs if they believe in “job security.”
I have always loved the very simple quote, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” I didn’t always plan to start a business or be out on my own. I loved working on a team and learning from every position and role around me. I was driven by the opportunity to create a safe space for my team(s). A space that is full of transparency, advancement, support, integrity, and trust. When I finally held an executive leadership role I thought to myself, “now I have made it, now I can create the environment I have always dreamt of.” What I failed to see, was that my vision was completely unaligned with my fellow leaders. I was in for a swift and rude awakening.
After a lot of tears on the 405 and many sleepless nights, I knew I didn’t have much left in me. I thought I would have months to prepare, to listen to the advice of books and the internet, to have 6 months of savings, a business plan, a support system, etc. However, the universe had a very different plan. On December 5, 2017, that “job security” I thought I had, very quickly vanished. After many glasses of wine and talks with every mentor I had ever known, I decided I had two options: I go back to the corporate world and hope to find a company that aligns with my values or create it on my own. Thankfully, I was brave enough to choose the latter. Now, two successful businesses later, and with a third in motion, I will never look back. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take and taking risks is just part of taking your shot. No one says it won’t be scary, or that all will go as intended, but I decided to have faith in myself and create what I saw was missing in the world. If I can do it, you can too.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am the immensely proud owner of Eustress and Demeter, a leader in restaurant consulting and the exclusive United States distributor for V10 Plus, a Japanese skincare line. I could never say the journey has been easy, but I will say it has been rewarding. Our first year, with our first company was the most challenging. Everyday felt like one extreme or another. I will never forget our very first client, they ended up skipping out on all their bills and all the bills of vendors I referred to them. The lesson I learned here is a quick google search would have done wonders! We found out later (via google) we were not the first and I am sure not the last person they would defraud. This made for a remarkably interesting first 6 months of business! However, one by one we were introduced to amazing new clients and our roster quickly filled. We continued to grow our team, reinvest our funds and are still to date 100% referral based.
When my business partner, Darlene and I had the opportunity to bring V10Plus Japanese products to the United States, we jumped on it. We knew this would be a way to follow our passion and be able to create an organization in which we deeply believe in and can help as many people as possible. We were privy to the lack of transparency with many beauty brands and we wanted to change this. We believe a person should not put product on their skin because an influencer tells them to. Everyone is unique and has their own set up unique challenges and goals. Our mission is to ensure that the best and highest quality ingredients are delivered to cater all skin needs. We want to improve people’s days, months, and lives. We help people feel confident in their skin. Whether it’s a small ritual or a significant change, our goal is to help people live and feel their best.
We are currently creating a Women’s Entrepreneurial Scholarship Fund in which we can help support our fellow community, provide vetted resources, and funding. We know we could not be where we are now or continue to grow without our trusted mentors, advisors, and board members. We want to help make this support accessible to all.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
What a fun question! If my best friend was visiting me for a week long trip I would try to spend as much time eating, drinking, talking, and laughing as much as we could. This itinerary likely isn’t realistic due to the many joys of living in So Cal but here we go:
Day 1: Pick her up from John Wayne Airport and come back to my house to unwind for the morning. (She would be flying in from Ohio!) I have recently transformed my yard into a little zen haven so hopefully I could convince her to enjoy a nap in the hammock with some tea from The Teahouse in Los Rios. After we were refreshed, we would ride our bikes to the Huntington Beach House on PCH to watch the sunset, eat poke bowls and drink some ice cold sauvignon blanc.
Day 2: I would know I want her to explore many of the things, So Cal offers us. From the beach to wine country and into nature. Day 2 would be beach day! We have access to borrow an awesome little old convertible which we would drive down PCH to Laguna Beach. We spend the day at Victoria Beach soaking up the sun and end it at The Rooftop with their amazing mojitos.
Day 3: Keep it local and simple! We would pack up some snacks for the duffy boat and explore Newport Beach and Lido Island.
Day 4 & 5: Wine country time! I have yet to take the train to Paso (I have only driven) but since this is a fantasy week, we would take the train to Paso Robles to say hi to our favorite winemakers at Aleksandar and Clos Solene while also making sure to stop into Whalebone to pet the kitties and bulldog!
Day 6 & 7: After a week of eating and drinking our way up the coast we would end with 2 days of glamping in Big Sur before she flew out of the bay area! (Not sure if the train would run this whole way and obviously the days wouldn’t make sense, but hey, its my fantasy week) 🙂
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shoutout is dedicated to the fierce, unwavering, and brilliant group of women I am blessed to have around me. I could never do this (nor would I want to!) without them. We know it is “not just business” – it is about trust, support, and lots of tough love. Their past journey has motivated me and their future is what keeps me going. Here is looking at you, ladies! All my love to Darlene Erich, Nanette McWhertor, Helen Lao, Kim White, Kim Sherman, Masha Berenboym, Michele Santoro, Nicole Bee, Mandy Challingsworth, Jenny Schull and so many other fearless and incredible super women out there!