When Maya Djokic fell in love with her future husband Bernard Djokic, she didn’t realize that her relationship would lead her to become a successful small business owner – or how much hard work that would involve. After the two got married, Bernard suggested that they start a staffing firm supplying talent to Los Angeles country clubs, and Maya decided to jump in. They drew on Bernard’s more than 15 years of hospitality experience and Maya’s 10 years in customer service to create Château Staffing in 2015.
In three years, they worked their way from using laptops in Starbucks to a 33rd-floor office with a view of a changing downtown. They now service more than 12 Los Angeles country clubs, some of which are the most exclusive in the country. “They say love and business shouldn't be combined, but we tend to disagree,” says Maya. “We believe in putting a little bit of love in everything.”
In just three years, Château Staffing has grown to the number one choice for country club staffing in Los Angeles, and the business is expanding into Orange County.
Before seeking out a mentor, Maya made a list of traits she was looking for. She found a perfect match in Prentiss Uchida, who she says has an “entrepreneurial mindset.” Later, Maya and Bernard also worked with SCORE mentor LC Chiu.
Uchida and Chiu helped Maya and Bernard find their business niche. Maya says, “Prentiss had us develop a unique proposition for our business and see the strength that each of us brings to the table. LC really helped push us to get our financial statements together – we were leaving this to the ‘experts’ and now we understand how to do this on our own.”
Maya’s approach to business and relationships is one in the same. She says, “If something in business isn't working we just add a little more love and it seems to work.”