How I Stopped Complaining And Started Solving

Written by: Brady Drake

Photo provided by Dakota Business Lending

As a small business lending partner, we have had the privilege of working with hundreds of innovative and inspiring entrepreneurs throughout the state from a multitude of industries. Where our honor lies, however, is in the faces and places of these small businesses and the success stories they have to share. Among these is the story of Ann-Marie at Stanza D’Amore – a ND lingerie store with a unique story to tell. Her story is one of hard work, determination, and confidence. For this issue, we wanted to take a deeper look into the journey of how Ann-Marie used her “figure it out” attitude to find a creative solution.

For Ann-Marie, becoming a business owner was nothing more than finding a solution to a problem she was tempted to complain about. She was finishing up her third year of college in Dickinson, ND and wondering where life will take her next when she realized that the nearest womenswear shop was over 100 miles away. Frustrated with this reality, Ann-Marie asked herself, “Why don’t I just open my own shop right here in Dickinson?” From then on out, Ann-Marie found herself dedicating her time, energy, and finances to fulfilling this dream. But that’s only the beginning…

“It was kind of an ‘aha’ moment for me where I thought to myself: ‘If I have a problem with something, why don’t I just fix it myself?’ That thought spiraled into this thing where, the more I learned and the more I talked to people, the more I felt a sense of community where I live and support that encouraged me to keep moving forward. I finally began to feel like I was on the right track.” 

From there, Ann-Marie began a long journey towards starting, financing, and managing Stanza D’Amore, which eventually opened in November of 2019.

What sets Ann-Marie apart from other women entrepreneurs is her “figure it out” attitude coupled with her strong community interactions. She has placed a strong emphasis on supporting the community with various events and partnerships. In addition, she has focused heavily on her social media platforms, building them into online communities where women can find support, encouragement, and confidence right from Stanza D’Amore’s business pages.

But how did she do it? Today, we got the chance to visit with her about this journey and the secrets to success she learned along the way:

  1. Capitalize on your strengths.
    “I’ve always felt something inside of me that wanted to pave a way like a leader. I don’t really take ‘no’ for an answer and I’m always willing to make something happen if I want it to work. I think that’s a great quality to have as a leader.”
  2. Find your “why”.
    “My ‘why’ is to help people on a deeper level no matter what I end up doing with my life. When I’m able to help a client find something that they look beautiful and feel comfortable in, they walk away with an extra spring in their step and that energy transfers into all other aspects of their life. I want to do that for women.”
  3. Follow the example of others.
    “There are so many different influences in my life that have helped me become the leader that I am. Of those, my top four are: my faith in God, which I have always had to fall back on; my mother, who has pushed through every challenge of life with such grace and perseverance; my husband, who has supported and encouraged me since day one, no matter how crazy they seem; and my friend Krystal, who is a woman business owner who has been a mentor for me since the start of this journey. These people have helped me get to where I am today.” 
  4. Let your roots shine through.
    “I didn’t grow up in ND my whole life, but the piece I have taken away from here is how hospitable people are and that they are always willing to help. ND has inspired me to be a better person, to help other people, and to think about what I can do for my neighbor.”
  5. Shift your mindset and follow your dreams.
    “I think the biggest challenge young women entrepreneurs face comes from themselves and their mindset. We need to make a shift and have the confidence to follow our dream. Ultimately, it comes down to having the confidence to think ‘Yes, I can do this.’ Is it hard? Yes. Is it worth it? Even more yes.”

As you can see, the journey towards finding a solution isn’t always an easy one. But, if you’re like Ann-Marie, you’ll use your “figure it out” attitude to develop a creative solution that you can share with the world. Congratulations Stanza D’Amore on your journey to success!To learn more about Stanza D’Amore and the products they offer, read their success story at

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.