Lindsay Stewart



Centralia College - Arts

Part 2 of 2: Get to know Lindsay's partner, Devin Parr, in today's other profile!

Lindsay was working for a handbag designer in Beverly Hills when she realized she wasn't in her dream job. And despite a background in fashion design, Lindsay will tell you something just didn't feel right. (She goes into details below!) But despite that feeling, something went very right. Because it was there that she met now-partner Devin Parr. Despite a few years, moves to Washington and Italy, the two ended up back together, in New York City of all places. And since like Devin, Lindsay tells her story the best, we're just going to get straight to her interview. But you should know that like Devin, Lindsay LOVES to cook and entertain. (Hmm, no wonder these two are besties!) She's also a self-proclaimed "Black Crowes freak," mother and wife. OK, we promise to stop talking now, because Lindsay's story is too good to delay!

I think the biggest challenge is to be it all -- a woman in business, an amazing wife and a superstar mom.

How did you discover your current job?

Devin hired me on a very part-time basis when she worked at a wine store in the village. We worked there together for almost a year. When the store began to fold, she founded Manhattan Wine Xchange and took me with her! The store in the village closed the week after I left! We have pretty awesome timing like that.

What has been your path so far to get you where you are today?

It's been a path without a compass or map! Devin and I met while working for a purse designer in Beverly Hills, Calif., in 2002. When we both realized we may not see our 24th birthdays if we stayed there another day, we went our separate ways but remained very close friends. My background is fashion design, so I spent the next several years designing for a company I had started and diving head-first into as many creative outlets as possible. I had been dreaming about moving to NYC since I was five years old. (Literally -- ask my mother to tell you the story about how I “ran away to New York” from rural Washington state with a suitcase full of socks and undies.) So, finally, in 2009, my husband, son and I packed up a 25-foot moving van, left our family and friends, and trekked cross-country to Manhattan.

By complete and utter chance, Devin and I relocated to New York within two months of each other! With a few years and several countries under both our belts, we reunited in work and friendship -- first at the wine store in the village, and now we’re running Manhattan Wine Xchange together! I couldn’t make this up!

Was there any one situation that helped you along your way?

Obviously my love for wine never hurt! Well, except for when I drink bottles -- that always leaves a mark. I have two situations that helped me along my way: one quite tangible and one pretty far out there. On one hand, I never would have known wine as a profession without Devin, let alone become fully immersed in it and learn from her (the best teacher!) on a daily basis. On the other hand, in 2005, I became painfully aware that the rug can be ripped out from under me at any second, and then it’s lights out. I have learned to take risks, big ones, dream big, live big and find happiness in every single thing. With this, my family moved to New York, I reconnected with Devin, I took a risk in a profession I had never considered, and I’ve never been happier. Every situation has been a pretty wild one leading me along my way.

What is your typical day like? Does it ever change?

I don’t have a typical day. I drink a ton of wine, keep Devin belly laughing, keep our tasting calendar of 20 wine reps organized and running as smoothly as possible, receive purchase orders, assist customers, answer the phone, stock shelves and do an occasional delivery. Of course the delivery I made last week was in the freezing, torrential rain at 11 a.m. And of course the woman who answered the door was naked. She gave me a nice tip though.

I also spend a lot of time planning, organizing, marketing and executing our roster of awesome in-store activities like (a minimum of) three, free wine tastings per week, wine classes, Wine & Wii Wednesdays and Friday Night Spinning & Sipping with a guest DJ. I’m also constantly working on our Facebook and Twitter outreach, writing our newsletters, creating simple or over-the-top gift baskets, and designing window and in-store wine displays that keep passers-by gawking and customers entertained.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I don’t sit behind a desk at a computer! And working with Devin, drinking wine all the time, with quite a lot of freedom to run this place the way we choose is extremely uplifting and incredibly entertaining!

What is the most challenging part?

Tasting sometimes 40 wines a day can sure be a riot, trust me. But to remember how each one tastes, how to explain each one to a customer, how to pronounce it, where it's from, how much it costs, etc., can be slightly challenging. We have more than 700 unique wines in this store. My job is to sell them all!

What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?

When you work retail, duty can call for the nightshift. I don’t pick my son up from school anymore because I’m working, and a few nights of the week, my husband takes the dinner/homework/bedtime routine. But when you have a solid team in your life, it never feels like a sacrifice. Some parents don’t see their kids off to school each morning, and I get to drop Max off every single morning! Since the store opens at 10 a.m., I also have the opportunity to participate in his class -- something I wouldn’t have the flexibility to do with an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. gig.

What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?

Some people will never be happy or satisfied, and I cannot take that personally. I can only do the absolute best Lindsay can do. I am always learning.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?

I think the biggest challenge is to be it all -- a woman in business, an amazing wife and a superstar mom. It takes more grace than I have some days.

Who are your role models?

Goldie Hawn and my dad.

Is there a quote or mantra that you live by?

Play “Space Captain” a few times -- specifically The Mad Dogs and Englishmen version. That pretty much sums it up.

What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?

Taste whatever someone pushes in front of you. Spit or don’t spit. Whatever. Explore weird regions. Offer to intern. Take an online course. Ask questions. And put up the earmuffs when you hear negativity. Constructive criticism is great. Negative Nancies have GOT to GO. If you’re well into a polar-opposite career, you CAN reinvent yourself. Go for it!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

There are quite a few cut-throat, obnoxious and demeaning women working in businesses in New York City. The idea that the tough chick gets what she wants is so out of style and so boring. Do yourself a favor: Take an extra second to be kind, helpful and encouraging. It’s contagious, and we need more genuine women who are eager to push each other toward her greatest accomplishments. Then, we all win.