Ora K Beauty Products – Mansfield, Ohio
Ora K Eaton, the owner of Ora K Beauty, utilizes a hair growth formula that was passed down through generations in her family. Working with chemists, Ora re-developed the formula to create a lighter foam that can be used on any hair type. The hair growth formula helps to treat baldness, psoriasis, dandruff, and other scalp issues that affect hair growth. Ora knew she had a product that worked, but she lacked the business sense to get her product commercialized and into retail establishments. She contacted Michalina Lacy at the Local SBDC center and they began working together in 2014 to further commercialize her products. It would not be until late 2016 that Ora would become more serious about commercializing her product and would finally get her first break; her product being placed into Mom’s Organic Stores in the Washington, D.C. area.
The SBDC assisted Ora in the further commercializing of her hair growth formula. Ora utilized her persistence to get into Mom’s Organic Markets, but she needed the SBDC to ensure she was doing things correctly and to provide business guidance. Michalina also assisted Ora in the challenging task of filling out the paperwork to become a Whole Foods vendor when the opportunity arose. A lot of the assistance also centered around helping Ora correspond effectively with suppliers, vendors, and potential vendors. Though the assistance, Ora was admitted into Whole Foods as a vendor and her products can currently be found in the Woodmere Whole Foods store.
Ora K Eatmon’s hair growth products can now be found in various stores and doctor’s offices all across the United States, but the work is not yet complete. With the limited capital of a new business, growing too quickly or growing quicker than demand can be supplied is a real concern. Ora is very interested in potentially developing an investor relationship to help this situation.
Ora was also a participant of a student project through the SBDC at Ashland University in which she received ideas and tactics from a student team from an entrepreneurial class at AU. She really valued and appreciated the work the student team did for her business. Ora has goals of increasing revenues to a more sustainable point in her business, but she has reached a huge milestone in getting her products into nationally-known retailers.
Dan’s Deli 62 – Ashland, Ohio
Several years ago Michalina met with client Ryan Roscoe in regards to his desire to operate his own business. He was retired from the fire department and military and ready to do something entrepreneurial. He toyed with different ideas before deciding on a mobile food cart. He did a lot of planning and hands-on experience in a friend’s food cart before taking the steps to own his own.
He initially met with Michalina Lacy at the Small Business Development Center to get assistance with writing a business plan. Extensive research was done by Ryan and Michalina to complete a business plan. He decided he wanted to go the franchise route as he came across the “Dan’s Deli” mobile food cart franchise. There was an initial fee that included hands-on training in a Dan’s Deli cart, training manuals and videos, marketing materials, and support from a successful owner.
After finding a used Dan’s Deli food cart Ryan moved forward with purchasing the unit and buying into the “Dan’s Deli” franchise. The Dan’s Deli food cart he purchased came with most of the necessary equipment he needed. During training, Ryan learned how to effectively and efficiently make all of the menu items that included burgers, hot dogs, gyros, steak and cheese sandwiches, and sausages. Each item had a twist to the recipe to set them apart from other similar food cart menu items.
Michalina next advised Ryan on the requirements for starting this type of business in Ohio. This involved helping him set up an LLC, obtaining his EIN, a business checking account, and a transient vendor’s license. This also included obtaining his ServSafe Certification and following steps to obtain his mobile food cart license from the local Health Department. Without the SBDC help, Ryan would have been lost as to what direction to take to successfully start this type of business.
Michalina also assisted Ryan in putting together an application to a vendor management company in order to set up in the front parking lot of a large big box retailer. This included helping him develop a bio of his relevant experience, filling out an application, and enclosing a menu that we edited from the franchise owner. Michalina advised Ryan on the difference between employees and independent contractors so that he may make an informed decision once he’s ready to take that step.
We also are strategizing on other events and locations that Ryan may be able to set up at for his first year. Ryan was also referred to talk to an accountant to keep track of his records and an insurance agent to obtain business insurance.
Michalina will continue working with Ryan to ensure he properly sustains the business in coming years and that he maintains successful. Part of this assistance includes marketing strategies, research on events to attend, applying for events, and guiding him in record-keeping. The biggest success of this client is having officially started a business, as Michalina has worked with Ryan for several years and several business ideas.
Mallory’s Treasures Boutique – Shelby, Ohio
Tonya Bishop first started creating homemade soaps, lotions, bath bombs, and deodorants when her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Tonya realized after some research that there was a link to some of the products we use, particularly the aluminum in most deodorants. Tonya is a school teacher by day and a lot of her co-workers were becoming regular customers of her products and she soon outgrew of her home with the products. Tonya knew she needed to establish herself as a business officially, but was unsure how to do so. She contacted Michalina Lacy at her local SBDC. Tonya also knew she had a knack for making crafts and up-cycling items, so this was also going to be an aspect of her new business.
Michalina Lacy first assisted Tonya with properly setting up the business and that included setting up a name under an existing LLC, obtaining an EIN, a vendor’s license, establishing an operating agreement, and opening a business checking account. Michalina also advised Tonya on consignment and also helped with developing a consignment agreement. Michalina further advised Tonya on online marketing, promotion ideas, and general marketing ideas. Tonya was interested in selling clothing and other accessories but did not know how to meet suppliers, so Michalina referred Tonya to Columbus Mart in Columbus, Ohio. Eventually, Tonya moved to a larger space next door to her original space, and this allowed her to carry more inventory and have additional space for not only making her products but also separate space to rent out for craft classes and party rentals.
Mallory’s Treasures was another one of the businesses working with an Ashland University entrepreneurial class as they provided teams of students to local businesses. The team was encouraged to develop ideas and help the business in any way they can. They worked with Tonya on researching label costs, redefining her logo, merchandising ideas, and packaging ideas for her bath bombs. The package redevelopment resulted in a huge increase in the sale of her bath bombs and resulted in her product being involved in a local school fundraiser. Michalina continues to guide Tonya as she grows and further develops her business.