Amy is one of our 20 Builders and lives in Milbank, South Dakota.

Name: Amy Thue

City/Town: Milbank, South Dakota

Where else can we connect with you online?

        Twitter: AmyThue

        Facebook (personal): Amy Thue 

        Facebook (business): Whimsy On Main

        Instagram: athue

Give us a behind-the-scenes look at your average day. I live in a household with two teenage girls and a tween girl, so mornings in our house are a little crazy. My husband mysteriously leaves for work before the crazy begins. After everyone is off to school, I head to the hospital for my work day as a Communications Coordinator. After work, I am chauffeuring kids to practices and then trying my hardest to get everyone to sit down for a family meal. After helping with homework or piano lessons, I start working on projects for the store in my sewing room or researching new products that we should add.

What challenge in your life or work are you most interested in overcoming? Finding balance. I am in a busy season in life and at work. It is a challenge to devote 100% to both some days. Family time is extremely important to me so I work hard at guarding that time.

If you could do any job, what would you do and why? I love books, cupcakes and art. My perfect job would be to own a business that combined all three. My sister and I talk about having a business that would combine the concepts of a Wild Rumpus Bookstore with Unglued.

What is the most beneficial aspect of living in the OTA region when it comes to your career? The network we have in the OTA region, of people who are cheering you on and helping you along the way is amazing. I feel like the connections I have made in this region are with people who really want to see you succeed and will do whatever they can to help you make it happen.

At what intersection do you live your life? I am in one of those roundabouts that could exit in any direction on any given moment. My roads lead to Family, Faith, Creativity and Career. All four are important to me, and I hope to one day be in a place that all four merge into one clear direction.

Where do you think good ideas come from? I think good ideas come from big dreams. I am a big dreamer and I am fortunate to have great people in my life who offer encouragement and help me turn some of those dreams into reality.

What’s one current trend you think will change the world? Handmade Small business. I think we will continue to see a shift from big box to high quality handmade. I feel people are starting to recognize the value and talent of makers and are starting to support quality over price.

What’s the best way to put inspiration into action? Make a plan and share it with someone you trust for honest feedback, then jump in and take a risk.

What’s the greatest risk you’ve taken? I am living out my greatest risk right now by opening up a pop-up shop while having a full-time career.

What’s your biggest failure, and what did you learn from it? When I was a young mom, I worked in a corporate job that had long hours. I was extremely focused on getting into a management position. When my second daughter was born, I took a shortened maternity leave so that I could rush back to work. I have always regretted that moment in my career path. After my third daughter was born, I left my corporate job to become a stay-at-home mom until my youngest was in school. I put my family first and it was a decision I will never regret.

Who do you hope to leave a legacy for? My daughters. I have tried to provide opportunities for them to be creative and try new things. I encourage them to explore and discover their gifts so they make good choices for their future. I hope that they can see that I have had big dreams and followed them so that they believe that anything is possible.

The OTA Builders are a group of individuals who thrive on possibility and use all opportunities they are given to grow both in their careers and in their passions. We seek creatives who are tenacious and strong-willed movers and doers and are driven to make a significant impact on the people around them and the community they call home. These people recognize their talents and capabilities and find ways to continuously grow and learn from them. Why is this you? I am a yes person, and at times that can cause me to be a little stretched, but it also has allowed me to jump in and make things happen. I am a dreamer, but I am also a doer. I thrive on recognizing a need and finding a way to make it possible. I don’t feel limited by living in a small town, or not having the ability to accomplish certain things. I am connected to so many talented people that I feel if there is something I can’t do, I will find someone who can.

What project will you focus on as part of the OTA Builders Program? I have partnered with my sister to open a pop-up shop on Main Street in Milbank, called Whimsy on Main. It is a combination of handmade products and gift boutique. We also have started to connect with some amazing local talent and the shop gives us a great opportunity to showcase their work. At this time, we have secured a location for the months of December and January with the possibility of staying open long term. This is giving us the opportunity to evaluate the needs in the community and decide what direction to take the business into the future. Our Main Street is in desperate need of revitalization, and people need to see that it is a viable place to open a business. We have multiple empty buildings on Main and hope to drive a little life and traffic to this area of our community. We hope to make our own venture into a long-term investment on Main Street and we hope it will spark the same desire for others in our community.

What change / advancement do you hope to achieve as part of the OTA Builders Program?  Connecting to a network of other creatives will be one of the most beneficial parts of becoming an OTA Builder. As a new business owner and someone who is taking a passion and trying to make it a successful business venture, the opportunity to work with other entrepreneurs and mentors will be a valuable experience. It will also give me the opportunity to showcase my own community and everything it has to offer the larger OTA region.