Diana Naramore is the owner and CVO of Seattle’s Sip and Ship. “Sip and Ship is an urban trifecta created to simplify life’s complexities – combining the warmth of a coffee shop, convenience of mailbox rentals and mailing center with a carefully curated gift shop inside.” Learn about Diana Naramore…
Hometown: I consider Seattle my hometown since I lived in multiple places during my childhood, including living on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
First job: One of my first jobs was night clean-up for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. I was woken up in the middle of the night and handed a garbage bag to collect debris under mile-long rows of red spectator seats, filling my bag with handfuls of empty peanut shells, striped boxes of buttery popcorn cast-offs, half-eaten hot dogs and sticky Slurpee cups. All the while hearing an orchestra of caged animal noises in the distance, reminding me we were not alone. It was a night I will never forget.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in WA: I love being anywhere outdoors! Seattle has abundantly beautiful vistas, waterways and topography from virtually any vantage point in the city. Kerry Park is one of my favorite lookouts and riding the ferry to Whidbey to explore the beaches and towns of Langley and Coupeville is guaranteed a day of fun!
Your biggest accomplishment and why: For me, being able to create a business that supported my ambition to raise a family and build a career was huge – compelled to break away from the idea that women had to choose between one or the other felt necessary and good. Secondly, being able to run a business with my life partner has been and still is fulfilling and crazy fun! Especially knowing that we were not experts as entrepreneurs going into it but that we’d figure it out together. I took the helm at the front of the house, and Steve took command of the back of the house. We took a big leap of faith and over the years have established Sip and Ship as a place where you’ll always experience friendly and efficient service, and look forward to returning to again and again.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: Two big obstacles come to mind. Surviving the financial crisis, leaving us on the verge of collapse, bankruptcy and threatening to lose everything we worked so hard for was scary. Recently, safeguarding our team and pushing through COVID was emotionally draining and physically exhausting. Being confronted with events that were mostly out of our control was maddening and prioritizing health over everything else was essential – our emotional, physical and spiritual health had to be 100 percent supported. Restructuring our operating hours and workforce, and closing down a segment of our business gave the crew permission to take care of themselves and their families with greater ease. Letting go of the 24/7 work mentality was absolutely necessary and how we choose to operate moving forward.
Someone who inspires you and why: You mean besides Michelle Obama?! I am a new fangirl of Chelsea Handler. I am currently listening to her podcast and am inspired by the way she gets to the root of an issue, vets it out with her guests and talks openly and candidly with genuine and heartfelt authenticity. Qualities that are important in both business and in life. On the daily, I am inspired by our young team members. They are smart, ambitious and creative. They are encouraged to find and use their voices to advocate for themselves and help Sip and Ship improve how we do what we do. They keep showing up day after day, season after season and year after year lending us their investment of care, and generously sharing it with others – this blows us away!
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Go for it! It’s a fun, creative and an interesting business! It’s an honor to meet people from all walks of life, to help them attain their hopes, dreams and pursuit of happiness. I’d also say, “Be ready for anything.” In our world, we aim for the unexpected to expect us, because we are frequently tasked with packing and shipping unique and fragile items that also often hold significant sentimental value. We help our clients meet date and location deadlines, and routinely collaborate with business owners and entrepreneurs to coordinate, assemble and mail company projects for important team events, gifts and client presentations.
Favorite quote: My favorite quote is an African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: Someone might be surprised to learn that I am considered a disabled or differently-abled person. Invisible to the eye but very much a part of my daily routine of putting on my shoes – I rely on two carbon-fiber leg braces fastened at my knees and ankles, cradling my feet inside my shoes. My kids call them “Mr. and Mrs.” because they are a unit, and they only function well together. My permanent paralysis occurred after a freak roller skating accident in seventh grade and I was told I would never walk again. Another reason why I love working at Sip and Ship, because it keeps me physically active and moving every day.
What makes someone fabulous: I have met so many fabulous people here in Seattle and most of them have the recipe for fabulous; a healthy dose of sincerity blended with equal parts humor and kindness.
Photo credit: Frankie of darrahcphotography.com