Sarah Nicholas headshotName: Sarah Nicholas, Owner of Ladles & Linens Kitchen Shoppes

Years Owning the Businesses: 3

What did you want to be as a child?
An Art Historian or a Chef.  I nailed one!

What’s the best piece of business advice you received when starting out?
Look at the overall landscape of your business.  There are bad days, really bad days and great days.  Keep it all in perspective and don’t make rash decisions.

What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve made in starting or running your business?
Personal relaxation time.  My days start at 6:30 and are packed full.

When did you first realize that your business was going to succeed?
I was lucky that I bought a successful business, but business has improved so much!  I honestly have little moments.  Recently, I was holding a Manager Retreat and I looked around at the stellar team I had and just thought, wow, we are pretty awesome!

What’s the first thing you do every morning to set the tone for your day?
I wake up about 30 minutes before my kiddos and pack their lunches and write little notes to them to find later.

What tool, object, or ritual could you not live without in your workday?
Sadly, my iPhone.  I do it all on there.  I am on the road quite a bit, so it’s my mobile workstation.

How did you come up with the name for your business?
I purchased the 3 stores (Lexington, Roanoke and Carytown).  The name wasn’t going to change because it was so well branded.  We did however overhaul the logo, marketing strategy and a lot of the inventory.

When did you last meet someone who inspired you?
Cheese alert… almost every day.  Today it was a single mom in the checkout line literally holding a newborn with twins pulling at here while she was unloading her cart.  Yesterday (and every day, really) it’s my friend and staff member Styers, who has 2 cancers and works so hard because she wants to move forward.  Such courage.

What characteristic do you most admire in other business owners?
Work ethic!

What does the world need more of?
Courage (to do the right thing, change when necessary and to embrace happiness when it comes your way).

As a leader, when did you receive a piece of criticism that was tough to overcome?
Oh man, good question,  I am pretty hard on myself and so I think it’s more non-verbal for me.  If have a hard time overcoming then I know I haven’t done all I could or let someone down.

If you had 3 more hours in a day, what would you do with them?
Can I combine all the hours and go on a trek around the world!  Travel is my thing!  I guess I would say, grab the kiddos and explore.

Which of your personal traits makes you proudest?
I’m very comfortable with change and am tenacious to a fault sometimes.

Name a fear or professional challenge that keeps you up at night?
I worry about people.  I am by nature a nurturer and am always worried about making sure everyone is ok.  Professionally  I worry about employees staying happy, getting rest (especially during holiday time when hours can be brutal), getting enough hours and overall wellness.  This makes me sound like a tyrant.  I assure you I am not!  LOL

Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently when you first started out?
Nothing.  I have had many mistakes, but I learned a lot. I have learned a lot about business, life and myself and that is a great thing.

What does success mean to you?
Finding balance (my struggle) and being able to end your day knowing you did it the best you could.

What’s the best thing about being a local business owner? 
Brace yourself for some cheesiness, but honestly helping make my staff’s lives better.  I love (and worry as mentioned above) about them and love being a happy place for them to call a second home.