President and CEO, Accent Inns Inc.
Finalist, Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship, WEST
When Mandy Farmer’s father started Accent Inns Inc. in 1987, he didn’t plan on having any of his children go into the business. But Mandy took over as president and CEO in 2008, bringing with her an innovative, lighthearted (and highly profitable) vision. With fun and unique amenities and on-property experiences, big brand personalities, Instagram-worthy decor, and a focus on keeping both guests and staff happy, she’s revitalized the family-owned chain (not to mention the exterior corridor motel market), growing it to eight hotels across BC under the Accent Inns and Hotel Zed brands.
My first job ever was… I was 14-years-old and a chambermaid in a small B’nB. I had to wear a full french maid outfit including a bonnet and a long black dress that came all the way down to my ankles. The worst outfit to clean a room in.
I decided to be an entrepreneur because… I had a crazy idea I just couldn’t shake! After ten years of pitching business plans unsuccessfully my mentor finally told me to give up. This rattled me and I knew then that giving up was not an option, I just had to pitch it in a completely different way, which then lead to success and Hotel Zed was born.
My proudest accomplishment is… getting said business plan finally approved and opening our first Hotel Zed.
“Hire people better than yourself. You really need to curate a team that inspires you.”
My boldest move to date was… launching “the Nooner” Valentine’s Day promotion where we invited people to give the gift of their sexy selves: check in time at 11am, check out at 2pm. It was a hit! Fox news picked it up which has a circulation of 42 million.
I surprise people when I tell them… I’m an Honorary Captain in the Royal Canadian Navy.
My best advice to people looking to grow their business is… hire people better than yourself. You really need to curate a team that inspires you. Then your business grows and you also have so much fun working together.
My best advice from a mentor was… being told to give up…man, did that light a fire of determination within me!
If I could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, it would be… Tony Robbins.
I would tell my 20-year old self… You are in for an awesome ride! Buckle up!
My biggest setback was… I don’t really have one. I’ve been able to turn negatives into opportunities:
- All our properties had leaky condo. Awesome! We get to change the look of the hotels and refresh our exterior!
- An arsonist burned down one of our restaurants. We got out of our lease with a lack luster restaurant, scored the perfect tenant, built a better building and added a second floor with our gorgeous new Head Office on top.
- Our properties have exterior corridors and realtors told me the valuation of our hotels was rock bottom. We turned around this “setback” by making motels cool again.
The last book I read was… Own The Day, Own Your Life by Aubrey Marcus
I stay inspired by… surrounding myself with the most amazing, interesting and smart people.
The future excites me because… we have the resources and that awesome smart team of talent for us to achieve our wildest dreams. I feel like we are on the cusp of something extraordinary. I don’t know what that is yet. Our team needs to sit down and figure out what it is, but I have an overwhelming feeling something great is going to happen.
Success to me means… loving what you do and having employees that feel the same. My New Year’s resolution was to build thriving happy communities for our employees in each of our hotels. I write this goal in a journal every single day.