Innovate Marquette SmartZone is in the business of helping rural entrepreneurs innovate from within. So, what better than to invite a local Marquette entrepreneur to join the Innovate Marquette management team?
We are thrilled to welcome to our team Lindsey Dameworth, Operations and Finance Coordinator of Innovate Marquette. Lindsey is a skilled sales and marketing professional with over 23 years of experience working in the hospitality industry. From consulting food and beverage establishments to coordinating large weddings and events, Lindsey has developed the skills to thrive in fast-paced environments.
Additionally, Lindsey brings with her over four years of experience as a small business owner! In January of 2017, Lindsey launched Sweet Lou’s Custom Bakery, providing the Marquette area with some of the most delicious, beautifully designed cakes and cupcakes the human eye has ever seen.
Want to learn more about Lindsey’s entrepreneurship journey? Eager to hear Lindsey’s six tips for entrepreneurs and small business owners? Continue reading below!
WHO IS LINDSEY DAMEWORTH?
Lindsey is a creative builder, sales and marketing professional, baker, caterer, cake artist, outdoor enthusiast, and animal lover. These diverse work experiences have given Lindsey an excellent inside look into what it takes to make a small business thrive.
Lindsey was born and raised in central Montana, just a short one-hour drive from the mountains. Living in Billings, MT with her parents, Lindsey looked forward to her frequent travels outside of the cityscape to visit the cattle ranch that her mother’s side of the family lived on and rode horses.
How many animals did Lindsey grow up with? Two calves and an unconfirmed number of rabbits, chickens, dogs, and cats. Lindsey’s connection to nature was so strong that she would often (or want to) sneak animals home despite lack of parental permission.
While reflecting on her upbringing, Lindsey looks fondly back on her summers spent living with her Aunt in Whitefish, Montana. It’s no secret that living next to Glacier National Park has some pretty sweet perks. Lindsey expressed, “We spent a lot of time camping, a lot of hiking days and a lot of time cooling off on the Lake. We would go into Glacier National Park like it was nothing. It was right out our back door!”
Today, those who know Lindsey well today will immediately tell you three things without hesitation. Lindsey loves the outdoors, her dog Oggie and any activity that allows her to be in the outdoors with her dog Oggie (oh yeah and her husband too!).
Lindsey once told me that if money were no object, she would build an animal sanctuary designed to help disabled animals thrive, with her being their main caretaker. This trait of Lindsey’s character is ever-present in her work life. To the Invent@NMU team, Lindsey’s caring nature for the work she does and the team that surrounds her is something that we will never take for granted.
COLLEGE AND CAREER
Lindsey is the type of person that wishes to experience all this life has to offer us. When it came time for her to choose a career direction in college, she found it difficult to pick just one. Lindsey found herself studying sociology, psychology and outdoor education at several Montana institutions including Montana State University-Billings. Since she has always had a knack for interacting with people in an outdoor setting, this combination of academic studies was a good fit for her interests and goals.
After graduating from the Montana State University-Billings, Lindsey hit the road and completed The Rocky Mountain Outdoor Educator Course through National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), which consisted of a month-long backpacking and rock climbing course.
Lindsey told me, “This was really one of the greatest endeavors I have ever accomplished. We skirted the eastern border of Yellowstone Park and then climbed in the iconic Sinks Canyon outside of Lander, WY. After that I received my certification as a Wilderness First Responder through the Wilderness Medicine Institute.” What an adventure!
After completing this once in a lifetime trip, Lindsey pondered launching a career in the outdoor industry, but felt that she had more opportunity to advance in a sales and marketing focused career.
Lindsey’s intuition was spot on. One day while managing a restaurant and brewery, Lindsey got offered to transition into a sales representative position for a food distributor. This job allowed Lindsey to travel all over Central Montana and Northern Wyoming as well as gain valuable experience in business consulting, client marketing strategy, menu planning and food costs.
As she realized her drive to forward her career as a sales and marketing professional, when doors opened that allowed Lindsey to move to Portland, OR she couldn’t pass it up. In Portland, Lindsey diversified her sales and marketing experience in the food and beverage industry, utilizing sales tools to increase customer profitability and the generation of profitable menu ideas. You could call Lindsey a Jack (or Jill!) of all trades when it comes to anything related to the food and beverage industry.
Despite finding a successful career in Portland, Lindsey knew that the big city would not be her forever home. The hustle and bustle of the city lifestyle was thrilling and a valuable life experience, but not exactly what she was looking for. Lindsey stated, “My phone was constantly ringing and I had my laptop with me at all times. When I was on vacation, I wasn’t on vacation. I decided that this is no way to live. So I moved back to Montana for a little bit. It was really good and kind of a soul-healing process. I got to be creative again. I had a fun job. I didn’t make a lot of money, but I think when your health and happiness is in a good place, the money will follow.” Trusting her gut, Lindsey decided to move her life to Whitefish, MT to explore new creative direction.
CREATIVITY THROUGH CAKE
Now reunited with the town of Whitefish, MT, Lindsey found herself living the life she had dreamed of living. Living right downtown, she made a vow to walk or bike everywhere she could. At one point, she accounts not driving her car for over three months at one point. This slower paced lifestyle allowed Lindsey to explore new ways to express herself in new ways.
During this time, Lindsey began working at a bakery and cafe just two blocks from her home. With free time in her evenings, she pushed herself creatively by enrolling in a cake decorating class at a local community college. Then, like a snowball rolling down a hill, her passion for cake baking and decorating began to pick up momentum and grow into her own business.
Lindsey expressed, “I started doing some catering on the side and then I started doing some wedding cakes on the side. Eventually, the money began to come in and I was done with work by three or four every day. Then I met my husband. All of these great opportunities came up. I think all paths lead to where you’re meant to be.”
In 2017, after moving to Marquette, MI with her husband, Lindsey began working full time as the owner of Sweet Lou’s Custom Bakery.
While reflecting on her entrepreneurship journey, Lindsey stated, “I knew I could do anything I put my mind to. If you had asked me 20 years ago, ‘What do you think you would be doing?’, baking cake would be the last thing on my list. Looking back on old pictures now I often ask [myself], ‘How did I think that cake looked good?’ It’s cool to see yourself progress, especially when you are self-taught.”
Lindsey has lived in Marquette, MI longer than any other place in her adult life. And for good reason! Locals know all too well that Marquette offers its residents an unparalleled balance between a vibrant city and pristine wilderness. Lindsey summed up her thoughts on Marquette, MI by telling me, “It’s just incredibly beautiful. There’s not much that you’re missing here. You really have everything you need, and more!”
I asked Lindsey what she wishes to see in Marquette ten years from now. As someone who has owned a small business, Lindsey is thrilled to see that there are currently plans in place to develop a community marketplace in the heart of Marquette, where small business owners and vendors will have the ability to do what they love and get their name out there, without having to secure a physical brick and mortar location.
Here at Innovate Marquette, we juggle a lot of client and community projects. Lindsey is a key asset to the success of our organization. In her role, Lindsey wears many hats, ensuring that all aspects of the organization are operating like a well-oiled machine.
Lindsey’s favorite aspect of her position is the community impact that is generated from her work. Lindsey expressed to me, “With the increase in remote work opportunities, we will see an increase in employment opportunities. Supporting the local economy so these people can stay and live in Marquette is why we exist as an organization.”
Impact is a core aspect of Lindsey’s position. Aside from providing Innovate Marquette clients with knowledge and expertise, Lindsey also interacts closely with the Invent@NMU student team, providing them with professional advice, soft skill coaching, content reviews, administrative assistance, and on-the-job training.
Lindsey, we are thrilled to have a person like you on our team.
Are you an entrepreneur looking to innovate your idea from within? Do not hesitate to get in touch with our team. To contact us, click here. We look forward to supporting you!
TIPS FOR ENTREPRENEURS
Are you currently exploring a new business venture or opportunity? Here are Lindsey’s six tips for entrepreneurs.
1. DO RESEARCH FIRST AND SET BOUNDARIES EARLY
Your stamina as an entrepreneur is impacted by your ability to find a healthy work-life balance. From the beginning, find your groove and stick to it!
2. DON’T GIVE UP DESPITE FACING OBSTACLES
Being an entrepreneur can be extremely rewarding but it isn’t always easy. When challenges come your way, remember that it is just a part of the process and that you are strong enough to overcome them.
3. FIND LOCAL RESOURCES AND UTILIZE THEM
The U.P. offers entrepreneurs a multitude of resources to help you take your idea to the next level, including several right here in Marquette. If you are interested in tapping into available resources, click here.
4. COMMUNITY IS EVERYTHING. IF YOU SUPPORT YOUR COMMUNITY, THEY WILL SUPPORT YOU
Communities exist for mutual support. Get involved with the local business community as soon as you can.
5. PUT YOUR CREATIVE IDEAS OUT INTO THE WORLD AND ASK FOR CRITICAL FEEDBACK.
Creative ideas are best when enjoyed by others. To strengthen your creative ideas, put them out into the world and ask for critical feedback. Your idea will only get better.
6. TRUST THE PROCESS
Entrepreneurship is a huge learning process. One of the biggest rewards of the entrepreneurship journey is knowing that you’re the person that created it all. Always take time to be proud of the work that you do.
About Micah Carroll – Micah Carroll is a student at Northern Michigan University studying environmental public relations & design. He has been employed at Invent@NMU as a marketing assistant since his first year of college. In his free time Micah enjoys rock climbing, walking slacklines and capturing memories via photography.