Yes, over the last twenty years I have hired a lot of unique and interesting people to work for me in my business.

Stay at home moms looking for a little spending money, high school students trying to fill up their cars with gas, to name a few.

They came and went through the years, each leaving their imprint in one way, or another.

But, I admit, in all my years inventing and reinventing my business did I ever think I would have an Olympian work for me.  With the Winter Olympics just around the corner, I thought I’d share….

It all began on a normal stress-filled day at the shop.  I had a ton of jobs due and about 8 different employees coming in for 2-3 hour shifts.  That was my first problem; I needed someone who could work all day.  I needed someone who could finish a job from start to finish, not passing it off to the next person, with many an instruction getting lost in translation.

Well, I don’t know if it was divine intervention or plain dumb luck, out of the blue,  through the door walked a slight woman of what appeared to be Russian dissent, which I later would learn was actually Kyrgyzstan.

She was moving here from New Hampshire and looking for full-time employment.  Hallelujah!  Only one question remaining in my mind:  could she sew?  So instead of the usual question and answer interview, I decided to just have her make a pillow with a zipper.  Well, she whipped that up in no time, and I hired her on the spot.  Little did I know that she had actually had a business in Europe making and selling a clothing line– a little more intricate than window treatments.

I would learn a lot about Elena over the next few years, as she became my full-time employee and indispensable seamstress.   I learned that she had been in the Asian Olympics as a sharp shooter (see below).

Eventually, she set out to become a U.S. citizen.  My part-time employees and I would quiz her between jobs for her Citizenship test.  We quickly came to realize that she knew more than we did about our own heritage!  No one was prouder than me the day she finally was able to call herself an American.

Years passed, and Elena continued to assist me in creating beautiful treatments and products for clients.  Even through my closing of two more shops, she continued to adapt to my new businesses.  She was sort of a rudder in the storm, so to speak.  A constant in an ever-changing re:invention of myself.