A Self-Employed Business Woman in the Mountains
Name: Amber DiBello
Home Mountain: Mt. Rose, Tahoe
Gear: Myth All-Mountain Board
Instagram: @brunettetahoette (formerly @brunettefarmette)
“I feel like I have to distract myself with so many activities because farming takes up your entire life,” Amber DiBello told me while managing to take this interview and walk her two dogs at the same time. She’s not exaggerating.
To paraphrase: Once upon a time Amber created an entire sustainable off-the-grid farm in her home state of Pennsylvania and, on the side, designed inexpensive logos for small-town farms to brand themselves with. Tesla took notice of the unique farm and offered her a job as a chemical engineer in Reno, Nevada. Since moving out there two years ago, she’s managed to stay just as busy as she did while on the farm by running multiple businesses.
On top of working a nine-to-five, she created Grow Wild Oils, then created an online apparel business Grow Wild NCO (which donates 15% of profits to Keep Tahoe Blue) and manages to snowboard or ski on the weekends all while being a dog-mom.
Do you use any of the Coalition Snow gear?
This was my first season with it. I heard about Jen and Coalition separately and once I linked the two I was like ‘holy shit.’ I’ve had my old board for so long, since college. I came out To Reno and it was like ‘Now I need a splitboard, now I need skis.’ I can support Jen, support this awesome company and try an actual for-women snowboard made by women.
How do you like riding the Myth?
In Tahoe had a few pretty good powder days before I got my Coalition board. On those powder days it felt like I was fighting with my old snowboard and it took a lot of effort to fluidly ride. For whatever reason, with the same stance and binding on the Myth I don’t feel like I’m fighting it. My turns felt more natural and I could tell there was a difference. Here, you also have some icy days and people were eating it everywhere because they’re not used to icy conditions. I felt like I could make the turns that I wanted to make when I wanted to make them. Before, I was catching my edge all the time on my other board.
What does it mean to support other women-owned businesses?
It’s so important. I don’t have kids and a lot of women-business owners either have kids or at some point in that path are going to have kids. Running a business is amazing, exhausting and emotional. For me, it’s amazing that women hold everything else together and keep going - but they also have time to support other women in business.
I do it and sometimes I think, ‘Gosh can I do this forever?’ People who have done it for three, four years are so impressive. It’s so many sleepless nights.
I still work 9-5 and I’m going to keep doing that while I still have energy. For people that don’t have that extra job security, it becomes more difficult to be self-employed. If you need to get a business loan it’s really hard. If you need to get a car for your business it’s really hard. The volume of sales that I’ve done in my own personal business where I am self-employed doesn’t matter - they care about the Tesla name, the W2 and the corporate history I have on tax documentation to even get a car payment...let alone a warehouse or a larger commercial Paypal account. If you’re running a company for a couple of years you’re probably giving up your day job and your passion is becoming full time.
For women it's especially difficult to get those. You need to have these resources but you really can’t get them as a self-employed female. That’s just what I’ve experienced in two years but I’m sure it’s even more complicated than that.
Is there anything else you do that I don’t know about?
The most surprising this I do is crochet. I’ll bring it to parties and make a hat in thirty minutes or something. That’s my one weird talent that makes me most like a grandma.
I can make really sick beanies! I used to sell them - in college I started a company called Trillion Hats and employed all my roommates. We would just sling crocheted hats. It was before instagram so it was all word-of-mouth. I taught them how to crochet and I had to get my grandma working for me because we had so many orders. I was also in school full-time. Senior year we took all the money we made and did a giant snowboard trip and blew it all and that was the end of Trillion Hats. It was super profitable - it paid for a lot of beer parties.