Amanda Stone

B.S. HOD, '11

Founder, Palmingo Pools

“I don’t aspire to have my name on a high rise like some entrepreneurs do. I aspire to be there for my family every single day and have as big of an impact as I can in my work.”  

There was never a moment in Amanda Stone’s life that she couldn’t recall wanting to be an entrepreneur. Growing up with small business owners as parents, Amanda had the entrepreneurial bug from a very early age. Her parents had their fair share of challenges as business owners – as all do – but nevertheless, Amanda only saw the benefits. Her parents were at every recital, every sporting event, everything, and family became the cornerstone of her value system. She craved the flexibility entrepreneurship allowed for so she could always put her family first, just as her parents did.   

“I knew that I wanted to work for myself and if that was my plan, why not start early?”   

Only one year after Amanda graduated from Vanderbilt with a degree in human organizational development and a minor in corporate strategy, Amanda teamed up with a fellow Vanderbilt alumna to launch A&M Agency (now Memo Agency). She knew since high school she had a place in the events world, so she started her own event management and production agency in Nashville to combine both passions of entrepreneurship and events. After about eleven years at the agency, the entrepreneurial bug crept back in, and Amanda became curious about what else she was capable of. The onset of the pandemic provided the chance for Amanda to explore new opportunities and push new boundaries all while running the agency. After extensive research – and a few rabbit holes – Amanda launched her second business Palmingo Pools in December 2020 to “help make more pools possible for people.”  

Amanda’s days are jam-packed as she balances the two businesses and raises three young girls, but she said, “it’s all worthwhile because I couldn’t picture my days without both pieces in them. I work from a place of passion, so it feels like less of a drain or a burden. I feel fulfilled and energized by the work.” 

As work has begun to pick up at Palmingo Pools, Amanda continues to be a Founding Partner at Memo while transitioning the day-to-day management to her right-hand Managing Partner, Bailey Lawson.  

About Palmingo Pools 

When Amanda and her family moved into their beautiful hillside home in Brentwood, they never thought it would be possible to put a pool in their sloped lot. Amanda and her husband took a weekend trip to a lake house with a small pool a few years after they moved in. The couple spent nearly the whole weekend in the pool and decided they had to have one for themselves.    

Even though their realtor explicitly told the couple the property was not fit for a pool, Amanda was not one to take no for an answer. She started researching pools but felt like all the options were impersonal and she wasn’t sure how to tell a good pool from a bad one. She discovered the need for improvement in the Nashville pool industry as a whole and saw a gap in contractors specializing in small pools. The hilly, contoured terrain in the suburbs of Nashville and the small, densely packed lots in the city lacked the space needed for giant pools and Amanda saw the opportunity to bring something new to the market.  

“I kept waking up in the middle of the night thinking if I don’t step into that space, then someone else will. I just found myself going down these rabbit holes of research and content curiosity about [plunge pools].”   

Amanda reached out to an Australian pool shell manufacturer to see if they would send her a handful of shells to start her business. She thought they would be a great fit and she was willing to take on the cost of the international manufacturing. As fate would have it, the company was opening its first US manufacturing facility, so Amanda began filing the paperwork for her business on the phone to make things official. She had her first supplier lined up and, “it was off to the races from there.”   

Her ‘Whys’

“The instinct that drove me towards entrepreneurship is that when I get to the end of my time, I don’t want to look back and wish that I had spent any of my years or days or hours differently, so I’d say my biggest measure of success is that I can look back and not change a thing.“  

Amanda has started not one, but two profitable businesses, that alone is an accomplishment to ring home about. But something she is also extremely proud of is the pace she grew her businesses. Every mistake made along the way was taken as a learning opportunity to achieve success in the long run. She and her team constantly autopsied their operations to continue making strides forward.  However, her biggest success is raising her daughters along the way and exemplifying a strong female role model they can look up to.  

The Honest Truth

“The greatest challenge is showing up each day, being consistent, and doing things the right way.”  

One of Amanda’s non-negotiables is doing business in a way she can sleep at night, however, when push comes to shove, Amanda recalls multiple times when she has widely inconvenienced herself or increased costs to avoid cutting corners. Consistency and commitment to ethical business can be challenging at times, but she lives by the quote “if you’re always honest, you never have to remember a thing,” which has guided her and her team throughout the years.   

“Honesty allows you to stand by the decisions that you’ve made and work through challenges in a more effective way rather than getting caught in a funky situation or feeling shame in how you’ve conducted yourself. At the end of the day, we’re all people working with people and we want the best for everyone.”   

Ask Amanda

Got for it  

“When I started my first business, I had a full-time job for three years. When I started my second business, I had another business. You can start a new chapter while you’re still in another and if you let fear hold you back from going for something, you’ll always ask, ‘what if?’”  

Be Open to Change  

“Few people make a decision or have an opinion for their entire lives. It’s okay to try new things, and it’s okay to decide to go back to what you were originally doing. No decision has to last forever. It’s absolutely worthwhile to go for an idea that you have.”   

Be Honest  

“In entrepreneurship and just in life, we have plenty of thoughts flying around in our brains. The last thing we need to do is spend any of those brain cells trying to keep a story straight. You can just learn to live in a place of honesty and truth, then your memories are real, and you can lean into those opposed to having to waste energy on anything else.”