How we grow up and the things we’re exposed to during our formative years can play a significant role in who we become. Which is why Stam considers herself so fortunate to have grown up with her mom who worked as a single mom starting from nothing to owning her own successful company.
In Stam’s childhood home, business was one of the most common topics of dinnertime conversation, growing up in an entrepreneurial home benefited Stam in more ways than merely sparking her passion for business at a young age so Stam knew she wanted to do the same when she grew up.
I’ve always wanted to become an entrepreneur because I simply love beautiful things and luxury lifestyle. I either had to compromise and lower my expectations in life, or rise to meet them. I chose the latter.
Stam entered a very insecure space of uncertainty and self doubt, she knew what having a standard salary felt like and this was not it. She actually doesn’t feel entrepreneurship is for every woman nor does she think we should be trying to convince everyone to do it. It is only for some.
If you can’t risk anything or put your money where your mouth is, you need to step down and realize maybe this is not for you. And that’s ok. The world needs its workers and loyal followers, as well as leaders willing to take the brunt of negativity if and when it comes along.
What inspired you to start Bar Roma? What was going through your mind on that day?
The opportunity was initially bought to my mother to be an investor, and she turned it down but told them to try me instead. It would be my first business investment other than property, I’ve ever made. I was feeling risky, but I had a good feeling because the group had an excellent track record of success in the F&B industry.
Does that mean you don’t act or model at all anymore?
It just means that I am allowed to more selective with the work I chose to do because I am not financially reliant on just one stream of income, be it modeling or acting.
What would you say was the best and worst part of modeling and acting?
The best part of modeling is the money, the worst part is traveling. I know girls say they love traveling but when you’re doing it professionally, you don’t see anything, you’re just working and you’re away from your loved ones 24/7, so I hated that aspect of it. Acting is my true passion, but what I hate is waiting around for opportunities and people. You really need endurance and patience when it comes to that industry.
What fulfillment does starting your own business give you?
It’s so personally gratifying being the boss of your own company and in fact, your destiny, because you’re not relying on anyone to feed you. Burdens come with that of course, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It took a very long time to get to where I am today, a lot of convincing my family, a lot of work professionally in order to grow to have the financial means to invest in anything at all, because you need money to make money. I had a lot to prove to myself and my family because I wasn’t handed anything really.
What are your goals currently? As in vision and mission? What problem are you trying to solve?
My goals are simple, for 2019 I wish for better investments, better films and better properties! My vision personally as a story teller is to perform/story tell in whichever medium possible, it really doesn’t need to be acting only. I actually came out with an ebook called “Discover the Queen Within” which I highly suggest ladies to look into, especially if you’re looking to start fresh 2019 and rebuild the life you wish to live for yourself, because it all starts with honoring what you deserve first. It isn’t airy fairy, nothing in life comes for free, it is very to the point and gets real about why you are where you are versus where you want to be. As for problem I want to solve, I think it’s quite personal but since we’re sharing, why not. I am not very social, I am an INTJ and film career wise, I feel I would benefit a lot from shattering that nervous energy and being more confident and social.
Do you focus on a specific group of customers, tell us who are your customers?
We welcome everyone at Bar Roma, everyone is human after all, and we believe in family. Andersonville is LGBTQ friendly, and some of our regulars include Lana and Lilly Wachowski of the Matrix. Of course not all of our customers are as glamorous, but we are honored by anyone who choses to dine with us and we hope they stay long and feel the sense of returning home when they come to Bar Roma.
What 5 steps would you advise and give our ladies who starting their own business?
For sure it was not build all by myself,
1) Work hard to make money of your own first
I know you can get out loans/borrow money, but this was never my raising. I was taught to borrow nothing and I like it that way because it’s just my ass on the line, nobody else. I also think it gives you
2) Understand your goals and whether or not they are realistic
As an investor you need to be confident in the people you chose to invest in, or you will feel unsatisfied and unhappy because every business you partake in is a risk, there are no guarantees.
3) Not working part-time while pursuing an entertainment dream is a cop out
This is a personal opinion of mine, but I meet a lot of actors who tell me they aren’t able to work part-time successfully and keep their job because they like their schedules open for auditions. While that is understandable, I just don’t feel its responsible because we are adults and we should be responsible for our future generations as well. Do you really want to be an actor (if you failed) who failed, and has nothing to show for your time on this planet?
4) Stay confident and pat yourself on the back when nobody else
is, because if you don’t believe in yourself nobody will
The small wins count because there may be no awards for those, but those lead to the awards you’re searching for and you can’t stop or give up
5) Focus on the good, not the negative.
This is SO hard, but imperative to do. If you’re anything like me, you’re your own worst critic and are constantly unsatisfied with your progress. I think the glass half full versus half empty analogy is key in these situations because it’s life and we really can’t expect control all of the time.
What do you have to keep in mind BEFORE starting a business like yours?
It could fail. Simply put, it doesn’t matter the success rate of the people you chose to invest in, something could go wrong and it could fail. Be OK with that. This goes for any business, not just a business like mine.
Tell us about a time when someone disliked your decision of starting a (new) business, how did you handle this situation?
I mentioned my mother, but I should really mention my ex boyfriend. He was extremely negative and had ideas of his own. Can you believe he tried to make me feel like an idiot for not investing in windmills in Germany? I have 0 association with Germany and 0 interest in the business. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should be investing in, I guarantee you they are not as cool or smart as they believe. I now at 28, versus him in his mid thirties, am way more financially successful and that was no accident. Intuition, ladies! 😉
What advice would you want to give women who are looking for to invest in real estate?
I don’t like giving advice when it comes to where someone should be putting their money or not, I don’t know how financial advisors do their job and sleep well at night. There is simply risk in every situation and it isn’t right to guide anyone on this, but if someone really wanted my advice, I’d tell them to do what I did. Buy low in an up and coming neighborhood and sell high.
Why investing in real estate?
Because it is forever. I chose food because people will always need to eat, (Italian nonetheless because it’s everyones favorite) and property because people will always need a roof over their heads. Those are slow but steady investments and I like it that way.
What steps do you take when you want to get through a less of a good business day?
Like I said, patting yourself on the back and remembering progress versus how far behind you may be. Also to analyze where you need to be, and taking steps to get there. Notice when you procrastinate.
How do you manage your work days as the founder of Bar Roma?
I pay a team to do everything for me, so what I do is review quarterly reports. Any issues I have I simply call and ask.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your company?
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t the dividends! But what’s awesome is visiting Bar Roma and seeing all the people who work there be so genuinely happy with their jobs. The atmosphere is so great and Julia Zhu, our co-owner is the best on sight eyes we could possibly hope for. She makes sure everyone is ok, happy and taken care of, everyone from the customers to the chef, to the staff. It’s a family!
What investment did you need to start a business like yours?
I don’t like to talk numbers, but let’s just say you need over 100k USD.
What advice do you most often to your clients & why?
Girls who DM me about my “boss babe” lifestyle, I suggest read my book. I’ve given it out for free to many girls who’ve asked for the help because, but my advice is to not be a total dreamer and forget what it really takes to make something work and work well. I am the big sister that keeps it real because not every girl could be a model, not every girl can be a boss, not every girl can be an actress. That’s just life. And before you get upset at that, just understand many people to this day still wouldn’t see me as model because I’m not 5’10 and skinny. I was Eurasian and young, I was the right look for the time. This doesn’t apply to every single girl and I don’t want to sell that BS dream because it is unfair and unrealistic. Find what you are good at and stick to it.
When starting Bar Roma, what are the legal issues involved?
No, getting our liquor license was easy because we worked with a very credible group of F&B champions! We also acquired the property so we would be comfortable if the restaurant failed, knowing we had that as an asset.
How do you make sure anyone can find Bar Roma?
I promote it on my instagram a lot, but it is on 5101 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640!
What marketing strategy do you use for Bar Roma?
We hired a PR team that do an excellent job at it, but I gotta tell you, we didn’t reach number 1 on the Zagat list any other way besides word of mouth. That is the most sure fire way to success, the food has to be good and the people have got to love it. You can’t pay for love.
What sacrifices have you had to make while building Bar Roma?
Financially I sacrificed, but like I said, I made the decision to do so and I committed to it. So it didn’t feel so much of a sacrifice, but more of an exciting venture of mine.
Tell us about your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement is for sure my property. I love real estate and I love buying low and selling high. I love the fact that no matter what, I have that. I live with my boyfriend now, but I love having a home to go to if anything didn’t work out, to not be reliant on a man. If I want to buy something, I have the ability to go and buy it and wait on nobody!
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
I’ve been scammed and frauded out of 25’000 for an investment in a TV project, you live and learn. I have the best lawyers on it and we will win our case, it’s just sad to see people you trusted do you that way, to hear my lawyer tell me he tried to run way when getting served- that was priceless! I’ve learned to really vet the process more and research til you are blue in the face, because no matter how much you trust a person, it doesn’t equal credibility.
How would you describe your work style while running your business?
I love heels, I love business suits, designer bags, but most of the time people see me, I’m either glammed up for auditions, or I look like a homeless person. I live in sweats and flats and I do not wear makeup. I actually think this is the best way to be, because I am comfortable and happy in the skin I am in. When need to