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Hey Belleza,

I’ve been wanting to share with you for a long time Irma Robinson’s story on how she went from a full-time job to embarking on her entrepreneurial journey.


I met Irma winter of 2017, I vividly remember walking into her café that morning, Southside. I was blown away by the attention to detail and their delicious chilaquiles. That’s right, you heard me right, their mouthwatering chilaquiles. That same year was when my hubby and I purchased our own business, Modern Endo of Napa. I knew how hard it is to get a business started and better yet to open up. 

Irma and her team have the right formula. Great location, delicious menu, a very talented Chef (Morgan Robinson) and the right energy. The moment you walk into Southside you feel very welcome. I remember I just wanted to stay and work from there. The day that the Southside Yountville location opened up I noticed how hospitable Irma was with everyone that walked-in. I even told my hubby, she has to be the owner. I was right. A few minutes later I introduced myself to Irma and the rest is history. I mean HerStory. 😉 


Irma shares with us how her passion for cuisine started at an early age. As a kid she identified her passion for food, Mexican and English cuisine.

Her preparation into starting her own business was developed from the skills she acquired while working at Quintessa Wines and at MS Office. 


It does not matter what business journey you are looking to embark on. What matters is the steps you take in your Entrepreneurial Journey.

In this episode Irma Robinson walks us through her journey as founder and owner of SMOKE Open Fire Cooking, a catering company focusing on exceptional food inspired by fire since 2007 and Southside a community- centered café in Napa Valley since 2016. 

Here is a glance into this episode, EP2 Finding Your Entrepreneurial Journey:

>> [7:52] Develop a business that gives you flexibility with your family.

>> [9:57] Find your niche market and focus on location, location, location.

>> [11: :05] Identify those businesses that you can collaborate with to grow your own business.

>> [11:47] How applying certain corporate skills can help you build your business operations.

>> [13:16] The importance of networking and being involved in local events.  

>> [15:16] How to manage fear when starting your own business. 

And you must listen to this one… 


Irma let us know that for her it was important to work within her own life schedule.

Belleza, do you know what business structure works with your life schedule?

I don’t think I ever thought of building a business around my life schedule. It was more like, let’s get going, build the business plan, create the branding, market research but it never occurred to me to think of the structure of the business that would work with my own personal life schedule.

Somethings to keep in mind as you are navigating your entrepreneurial journey.

  • Know your long-term vision.
  • Add some balance… this is very important!! 
  • Always have passion for what you are going to create.
  • Prepare for challenges.
  • Stay positive.
  • Most importantly, surround yourself with positive people.


There were many reasons attracting me to learn Irma’s journey. I think the main one was her positive energy energy and how welcoming she is. I believe I am very good at capturing people’s energy. Call me crazy. My motto is to surround myself with as many positive people as possible. People that make me smile and support me.

I remember when I met Irma, was around the same time that my husband and I were working crazy long hours at our endodontic practice Modern Endo of Napa. We were working over 10-12 hours days and no weekends. This lasted for 9 months and it was until my interview with Irma that I decided to step back and put things into perspective. Thanks to her tips I decided to find the schedule that works for our life and to identify what is important for the success of our business and obviously happiness for our marriage. 


The time will never be perfect. You just have to surround yourself with the right people and like Irma said stay positive because challenges will come.

Belleza, I hope this episode helped you. If you have any bestie that is looking to open their own business but just don’t know which steps to take, please share this episode. ¡Vale!

And until next time.

Recuerda. Let’s unleash our passions and toast to life. Porque la vida es demasiado corta.

Descubre, saborea y brinda. ¡Vale!

Besos desde winecountry,

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P.S. Please remember that The Napa Vale Show (podcast) is my labor of love 💜. If you’d like to support me, so you can listen more episodes like this one, please know that this is possible thanks to the wine sales I make as an ambassador at https://my.boissetcollection.com/wendybarba/  . If you wish to support The Napa Vale Show and Napa Vale BLOG hop on over and buy some vinito… and next time you tune in have a vinito in your hand. ¡Vale!

About Your Host


Hey Bella,

I’m Wendy Barba, an entrepreneur, blogger, podcaster and a wine lover.

A passionate Latina that wants to see YOU grow!

I will be sharing with you some inspiring stories from our local wine country community while learning more about wine in a fun way. This is my happy place where I discover the uniqueness behind Napa Valley. Whether you’re a wine lover like me or just looking to get inspired to live your dreams. ¡Bienvenida Belleza!

I wholeheartedly believe that if you can dream it you can make it a reality. Let’s unleash our passions and toast to life. ¡Vale!

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