Courtney Jones is a Nurse Practitioner, and owner of Vibrant Skincare and Laser Center, LLC in Frisco, Texas. Her med spa provides many great aesthetic services using the best equipment technology on the market today. Here is what Courtney had to share with us…
Tell us a little about your business.
Our business is Vibrant Skincare and Laser Center. We are a medical spa in Frisco, Texas. I am a nurse practitioner and I own this business, and I do all of the procedures. I offer
How did you get started in this business?
I was working as a nurse practitioner at Baylor downtown Dallas in the E.R, and it kind of wore me down. So I started thinking of something that could be a little more uplifting and something that I would enjoy doing. I decided to get into the aesthetic field. I went to the National Laser Institute, and did all the courses and learning on all the lasers and injectables. Then I decided to start my own business and I have had it for about two years now.
What you apart from your competition out there?
I have the best of the best equipment. The laser I have is a class four laser it is amazing and is the best of any laser that I've seen.
The fillers and Botox are obviously the same product everywhere but it is who is injecting it that makes a difference. I have a master's degree, I'm a nurse practitioner so it's kind of like having a physician inject it more so than an aesthetician or someone that is fresh out of high school that just that did like a two-week course. At a minimum, you are supposed to be a registered nurse in order to do the injections, but at a lot of these med spas, this is not the case. You really need to do your homework to know who's injecting your face.
I feel like me being a Nurse Practitioner really does set me apart from the competition, and I do all of the injections here.
What does your future look like for your business? What is your five-year plan?
I just moved into a new office and it is really nice. It is a four business office building. That was a goal that was achieved recently.
Now I want to grow over the next five years. I would like to hire more staff and continue to build my brand more. I am getting some more equipment, another laser for vaginal rejuvenation, and cool sculpting for fat reduction. So once again I'm getting some of the best machines on the market.
I have a mentor in Kansas City that runs a multimillion-dollar med spa. He has all of the same equipment that I have and he provides consultation and mentorship to help me grow my business.
How do you market your business?
I do social media marketing. I also advertise in magazines around Frisco. I also do a lot of fliers and I give out gift cards. I also have a few relationships with car dealerships and when people buy things they will give out one of my gift cards. I am also doing some vendor shows like the Dallas Fashion Week where I will have a booth.
Being prepared to assist or provide CPR during an emergency situation is a training and a skill that everyone should possess. You never know when you will find yourself in a position where CPR is needed, and being prepared to assist can literally save someone’s life. Megan Rhodes, owner of Core CPR Solutions is not only prepared but ready to teach this life-saving skill.
Could you tell me a little bit about your business?
We teach C.P.R. and first aid classes at doctors' offices, dental offices, and schools. We have worked with different cities and provide health and safety courses; including child care and babysitting courses.
We offer the following courses:
How long have you been in business and how did you get started?
My mom and I started our company back in Phoenix Arizona in 2004. We relocated to the Dallas area in 2011 and brought the business with us, and we’ve been training ever since. We’re no longer in Phoenix.
What would you like people to know about your business?
I would like them to know that taking a CPR course may seem to be intimidating, but there's no reason to be scared. It's something that can save somebody's life, and it is vital information to have whether it's CPR or helping someone when they’re choking. Our training can be utilized in restaurants and schools. It's crucial for them to know what to do if a child chokes and not be intimidated. We deliver training material unambiguously and concisely and in a comfortable setting.
What sets you apart from your competition?
The quality of instruction all our instructors have. Each has some sort of medical background whether it be they are EMT’s, paramedics or they're going to nursing school or going to medical school. Our instructors are also well qualified and know how to train others to learn. We’ve invested in them by having them take an instructor course which not every company does.
What do you envision for the future of your business?
The majority of clients that we work with are in Collin County, and so we are looking to expand into Dallas County, Tarrant County, Denton County and then the next step next phase would be to expand up into Oklahoma.
How do you market your business?
A lot of it has been word of mouth. We used to make cold calls which resulted later in reoccurring business. These days our business is growing as customers are recommending to others.
Meet Theresa Nguyen, owner of More Time More You. She is a successful entrepreneur business coach and mentor that will teach you to focus on the mindset as the foundation before we get into the strategy of building your business.
Tell us a little bit about your business?
I help primarily female entrepreneurs with home based businesses, look up to their fear so that they can turn their passion, or what they love to do into profit. I am primarily a mindset coach. I focus on the emotional blocks that keep people from moving forward with their businesses, whether it's confidence, feeling unworthy or undeserving, feeling like they are not experienced enough or don’t know enough about business in order to create something that brings in revenue. I focus on strategy with the program that I created but it's primarily, tackling mindset because that really is the foundation of any business. The mindset of truly believing that you can do it and giving them tools and the inner work completing that before we move on to the strategy parts.
How do you get started with this business?
I have a background in network marketing and I then with this company for four and a half years. I also have a background in nursing. I really felt like the combination of the two has really helped me to propel my business when I first started network marketing.
As a nurse we never imagined or do anything else besides taking care of patients or being in the health care field. I never imagined anything outside of that but with a lot of careers it is no fun working on the weekends or on the holidays and missing out. You miss the time that cant get back with your family and your loved ones. I was looking for a way to provide my family with more flexibility but still be able to create a significant income and I saw that in network marketing. Fast forward two years after that I was able to replace my husband’s in income. Then I realized that I could actually help and teach other people to be able to make income whether it's to replace their own or to provide some sort of flexibility like travel or go shopping without feeling guilty, or make their car payment, pay off their debt. I struggled a lot with confidence and trying to figure out how to run my business. I had no business background, so I felt like I was alone in doing this and I hired some high level coaches who helped guide me through the process and gave me the tools and confidence to build this business.
So what sets you apart from competition?
I believe what sets me apart is I don't focus on strategy because you can Google strategy. You can download it, you can go to webinars and get prospecting tips and all of those things. People always want to know about strategy when they create and start their business and so many entrepreneurs don't realize that there are so many emotional blocks that you are dealing with when you're creating your own business. You have to be aware of those issues first and address it and know how to flip the switch and create a better relationship with yourself so that when those fears start creeping up on you, you don't let it prevent you or paralyzed you from doing what it is that you're meant to do. I truly believe that everybody is here to do something amazing and whether or not you step up to that goal whether or not you step into your power is really up to you. I only take those people who are willing to step into that power and who are ready to work.
No matter if you are in Network Marketing are Sales what I teach isn't what you're taught by the company. I teach more about how to overcome both fears can paralyze you, and then how to attract your clients versus the sort of stereotypical strategies that have been taught for so many years. Like when you go on Facebook it's like an advertisement of everybody’s businesses. I'm all about supporting small businesses but when you're scrolling and seven out of the ten posts are people posting about a product or a service it becomes a big turnoff. I also want to change the way people perceive Network Marketing. I didn't mean to actually market to network marketers but that seems to be the people that I am attracting right now. But that is find because I love the business and I love the people there they are very passionate and they have big goals.
I feel like that's what sets me a part is I really focus on the mindset as the foundation before we get into the strategy.
What five year plan and how do you plan to get there?
My five year plan is to truly live a laptop life. Right now I am a multitasking entrepreneur and I want at some point to slow down, and really be present in my life. I want to enjoy all the beautiful people and the things around me. I see my business expanding globally and not just limited to the U.S. An online business allows you to be able to reach all sorts of people all around the world so I do see myself having a worldwide impact.
How do you market your business?
Building online relationship and connecting and collaborating with other powerful entrepreneurs. There are these events called online summits that are popping up these days. I am doing one with a woman in London and then I have another one coming up in January. Collaborating with other female entrepreneurs and being able to spread my message that way online.
Do you have any other words of advice you can give other aspiring entrepreneurs?
A lot of people feel like everything has to be during the right time. Like whether they go on vacation, or whether they invest in something, or whether they start a business, or when they quit their but I wanted to add that you don't have to wait to get the things that you want. And you don't have to be that person who is just grateful for what you have, and go through the motions and play it safe. Anything really is possible and all of your desires are possible but it starts with really admitting what you want and sometimes you make what you want feel wrong. Like having money to be wealthy but without money you cant provide all the desires and the dream life that you want to have.
Do you have a special celebration coming up? Chancy Green, owner of Inflation Celebrations has a unique way you can surprise, honor, and recognize a loved one or a friend with a special inflatable celebration.
Tell us about your business.
My business is an inflatable yard greeting company located in Frisco, TX.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
I was on a walk one day with my girlfriends and one of them was talking about how she was going back to work. I wanted to do the same to help with some of the expenses of our kid's activities, but due to all of the activities, I didn't know how I would hold a full-time job. On the walk that day I began remembering an inflatable that my dad had purchased for my daughter's first birthday. It was a six-foot-tall inflatable birthday cake. We put it up every year after that for her birthday and all the neighbor’s birthdays. So while on the walk with my friends, I told them this story and asked their opinion on making this idea into a business, and decided to start this business.
What type of inflatables do you offer?
There are a lot of inflatables that different companies sell on Amazon and other places online. The inflatables that I have available have more of a shelf-life than just Christmas and Valentine’s Day. The biggest seller that I have is the birthday cake. It is a six-foot-tall birthday cake. I also have superheroes, princesses, minions, and an I love you teddy bear. There are different options for different occasions
Do you offer these inflatables to rent or to buy?
I offer the inflatables to rent. This is how the service I provide works. You can order the inflatable for a family member or you can order it for someone else so it can be delivered to their yard. I also partner with Terry's Donuts, they are located at Legacy and Lebanon, and they make donuts that spell different things like Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, I love you, Do you want to go to Homecoming, Will you go to prom, etc. They can make it special for any occasion.
If you have ordered donuts with your order, I pick up the donuts at five thirty in the morning and then go deliver him to the doorstep in a tote bag and put the inflatable up in their yard. When they wake up in the morning there is a postcard tied to the front door with a greeting on it. It is great for people of all ages because everyone likes to be acknowledged on their birthday whether they really admit it or not.
The fun thing about it is the timing factor. For example, anyone can get flowers sent on their birthday. The person sending can call and have flowers delivered in the same afternoon and it could have possibly been an afterthought, but if the inflatable is there by 6:30 am when they wake up in the morning, they know that you thought about them in advance to have it delivered on time. People love it because the neighbors see it, they can post about it on social media, they can take a picture with it, and it is just really fun. It really lets everyone know it is their birthday.
Kids really love it but it's great for people of all ages.
I basically provide a very unique service, in the fact that I put it up for you, I take it down, and I deliver the special messages to your doorstep. I have had people call me the birthday fairy before and I kind of like that.
What sets you aside from your competition out there?
My price point is low intentionally because I want to have repeat customers. I want to have my service not just be a one-time thing for a landmark birthday, which I can also do. I have signage that says things like, Welcome to your teens, 40 and fabulous, Happy 50th birthday, which are all landmark events. I love providing those signs, but I want to be part of this celebration on annual basis as well.
The other thing I love about this business is that it is not something that's going to be an afterthought. To wake up and know that someone thought about you that early in the morning I think that's pretty special.
I also have a twin special, which a lot of people don't know about. In the case of twins, I do a buy one get and that has been a lot of fun.
I always do my best to help everyone out. I have had a few times where people call the night before needing the inflatable, and if I am able to make it happen with the schedule, I always do my best.
So how do you how do you go about advertising your business?
So far it has all been word of mouth and social media. I have been in business for four years of business and the growth has happened by word of mouth and social media. I am on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Also partnering with Terry’s Donuts we have given each other business and that has been helpful too. It has been a great partnership between the two of us.
Responding safely to a crisis situation is beneficial for everyone. Heidi Wysocki provided us with great information regarding how she and business partner Ed Pietrowski from First Defense Solutions can help you and your business with specific training to be ready for these crisis situations.
Can you tell me a little bit about your business?
We provide training and consulting services and physical security solutions for small to medium-sized businesses, schools, and houses of worship. We help everybody to respond safely to an active shooter or other dynamic threat situation. We give you the tools to cognitively train yourself to not only identify pre-attack indicators but also be aware of what's around you. We provide training in situational awareness and de-escalation techniques and what to do if you are caught in a crisis situation so that you can safely respond. We cover everything in our training including:
We teach what you can anticipate or physically experience if you are in a crisis and how you overcome those physical reactions so that you can get yourself through the event safely.
If you imagine an active shooting from a thirty-thousand-foot view as a timeline, you have a before during and after. From a holistic approach, we start with before, during and after and then address the situation so that we can work collectively together to identify and stop something before it starts or at least be as safe as possible during it. We also offer continuity management which is mitigating or avoiding risk at the end of an event. This provides resiliency to your organization and helps gets people back to a new state of normal which is mentally better for everybody who is involved. This includes everyone, including people who are firsthand involved in the community at large. The quicker you can reestablish your operation, regain function and define a new normal, the better it is for everybody. This is a service we provide on the back end as well.
Does your business have any ties to law enforcement?
My business partner’s name is Ed Pietrowski, and he has ten years in law enforcement, including six in a violent felon unit in Harlem in the NYPD He is now an officer here in Euless, Texas and is nationally decorated. He was, unfortunately, part of the first police ambush in March 2016 where an officer was shot and killed in a park. He received a national award for his heroism in the line of fire. He has been in over fifteen active shootings and has no bullet holes in him. He's our bank of experience and what I do is take his knowledge and information and transform it into something that can be explained to civilians like me. Ed does the hiring, handpicking people to do physical security, which is also a service we offer. I do our business development and organizational management.
What would you like people to know about your company?
Our goal is to make sure that small to medium-sized businesses and schools have the knowledge that can help them respond to active shooter risks. I want them to know that there are options that are affordable that and we can make sure that they have risk management in place.
Continuity Management is so critical, and it is basically a ten-step process in total. Ten professional practices cover everything from risk mitigation, risk assessment, impact analysis and emergency operations plan. We help you figure out what you're going to do and prioritize where you want to spend money and invest time to make sure that your company can stay up and running if you do encounter a crisis.
According to Travelers Insurance research, 65% of small businesses fail within the first full year of experiencing a crisis. 48% percent of companies have risk management, and that's it. We want more small and mid-sized businesses to consider our services to make sure our community is able to continue to flourish. This is critical in Collin County and especially in Dallas in general given the growth we’re experiencing right now.
What sets you apart from your competition?
I think the critical differentiator is that we have a unique mix of expertise. In the security world, you see a lot of people who have law enforcement or military experience and that that's pretty much the majority of the expertise that they can lend. The benefit of hiring us is that we also have a corporate background where we can comfortably work with everybody from the C suite all the way down to the essential stakeholders and people who do the day to day work.
The combination of all of our expertise together really brings a lot to the table. The other thing is that there are there are a lot of resources out there for security. What we've done is try to be a resource hub for managing everything from the before to the during to the after so that we can mitigate and avoid as much risk if possible and help people be as successful as they can be. For small business owners, it's critical that they're able to protect what they've built. You have to defend your people to protect your business.
Where do you see the future of your business and how do you plan to get there?
We were working only with schools and then decided that given the current climate we would be able to transfer our skills and our knowledge into small to mid-size businesses. Our goal to grow our business in the small to the medium-sized firm is to continue being present in the communities through word of mouth and networking opportunities. We're doing free seminars in the coming year so that we can start sharing information and start to elevate that conversation with a lot of different industries.
How do you market your business today?
We are online and active in the chamber and different community volunteer nonprofit groups. We work with an organization that provides free meals for the weekends for children who are below the poverty line to make sure that they're eating over the weekend. We do a lot of different things within the communities that we live in so we are as visible and contributing as much as we can.
We are on social media and the web.
We know in Texas the weather can be pretty unpredictable. We spoke with Jessica Taylor, from Taylormade Heat and Air, LLC and no matter the season they are ready to help you stay comfortable in your home or business. Keep up with your yearly maintenance to help keep your systems running perfectly all year long.
Tell us about your business?
We are a residential and commercial air conditioning business. We are a Trane Factory Authorized Dealer, with the achievement level of “Trane Comfort Specialist”, which is a huge honor and sets us apart from any other dealer. We have been rated on our customer satisfaction and the amount of product that we move with Trane and achieving this level is a really big honor.
How did you get started in the business?
We are a third generation HVAC company so it actually started with great grandpa Mack or Papa Mack as most called him. He started Anderson Contracting Technologies which is still in business today. As my husband grew up, he was learning from his grandpa and learning from as dad. As he got older he realized that commercial work is not all that relational and not very interactive with your customers. With commercial work you get in there, you do your job, you get going, but my husband loves people and that's what set his heart to start the residential side of the business. With residential work, you are in people’s homes, you are in people's lives and there's the matter of trust there that is very relational when they choose comes into their house. So four years ago we launched Taylormade Heat and Air completely on our own and we are licensed to do both commercial and residential.
There are so many different air conditioning and heating companies out. What sets you apart from your competition?
Definitely being Trane Comfort Specialists sets the bar high we also have an A+ rating with the BBB and that's hard to obtain because when a customer gets angry they go straight to the BBB to let out their anger.
Not only do we have the A+ rating, but even on Facebook, Google, and other social media where people can leave a review, we have nothing but positive reviews. We have happy customers. In the event, that we do make a mistake, we will own it, and we will fix it, and we will make it right. We keep our customers very, very happy because we hold them on a pedestal and always do the right thing for our customers.
Also how we treat our employees is a little different from a lot of AC companies. Our employees are paid hourly and I think that's important for the consumer to know because a lot of AC companies pay on commission. So often times, when people are working on a commission they come into your house and tell you that you need to replace parts that maybe only need to be repaired because that's how they make their money. Our employees, on the other hand, tell you all of your options of replacing vs. repairing and they put the decision making power back in your hands to decide how the best option for your budget. Also, our employees are not rushing to get to the next job because there are no commissions involved. So I think that is nice that we really do take care of even our employees.
The other thing that sets us apart is we don't charge extra for nights, weekends, or holidays. So our prices are our prices. We may not be the cheapest AC Company in the book, but we stand by the quality and we stand by a fair price and we don't raise or lower those prices based on what time of day you call us. We offer 24/7 emergency service. You can read the reviews on our Facebook, where we have people that have called at midnight and we come at midnight because we know what it's like to live in Texas without air conditioning, so Taylormade Heat and Air will show up and we get you fixed up no matter when you call us.
Another good thing is we have a fully stocked warehouse. We have every part either on our truck ready to go when we come to your house or we have it in our warehouse ready to go. There is never a matter of having you as the customer hold tight for two to three days while we get that part ordered because we already have it in stock for you.
Because my husband was raised in this business he has seen everything under the sun when it comes to air conditioning and so he's really made us different from a lot of companies. We will keep offering quality work at a quality price and we don't worry about the number of other companies that are out there because we stand by our work and we stand by what we offer to people.
What does the future look like for your business and how do you plan to get there?
We are located in McKinney, but we do service within a thirty-mile radius of McKinney for any kind of service call. Our goal is just to keep building our brand and keep making our name more prominent and known in the community.
So how do you currently market your business?
We actually do a lot of events where we go to different schools or churches or communities who are having vendor fairs and have a booth and we meet people face to face. We also do email marketing, Facebook marketing, Instagram, and other social media. We even participate in parades and running ads for local football teams.
My favorite way of marketing is face to face and actually getting to meet people. I think this is most effective because if you can shake somebody’s hand and meet them face to face and then in the future when their AC does break down they will know who to call.
We are members of the McKinney Chamber of Commerce and that's been really awesome they are all very supportive within the chamber. We are also members of the McKinney Young Professionals and the Melissa Rotary.
Nelson and Sandy Carter are the owners of Cartermere Farms in Celina, Texas. Their Mission Statement reads accordingly: Cartermere Farms is committed to producing the highest quality, organic food we possibly can. In doing so, we are dedicated to treating our customers with the transparency and honesty we would expect as consumers, and to treating nature with the respect it deserves as a borrowed resource – progressing rather than pillaging.
Please tell us a little bit about your business.
We are an organic farm, family owned and operated. Our farm sits on about three hundred acres and we specialize in grass-fed lamb, grass-fed beef, pastured poultry, free-range eggs, and seasonal vegetables.
When did you start your business?
We started in January 2014.
Tell us more about your farm, and why people need to come and check you out.
In addition to being a business, we feel like it's a mission of ours to offer what we call truly honest food. We are transparent in how we produce food and the relationship we have with our customers both restaurants and individual families are really based around that.
Our customers want to know exactly the practices that we employ whether it be our animal husbandry or what we feed our animals. We have a lot of families that are dealing with various allergies or health issues, so they need very specific information on what they eat, and we can provide them that and even cater to them in certain cases. So really our objective is to be absolutely as honest as we can with people with regard to our products and what we do with our animals and vegetables.
Something else that is really important to us is that we didn’t get here overnight, so we are doing what we can to help educate the public on what they're putting into their bodies. We actually host different events and classes here at the farm. We just did a Chicken Broth class and we also did a Kombucha class. Kombucha is the most natural probiotic that you can put in your body. We also host a summer camp for kids to teach them all about where their food comes from and about what they're putting into their bodies in hopes that we're helping impact the next generation so that America can make a change.
So what would you say sets you apart from your competition?
I would say a couple things …
It's an interesting industry in itself because my husband actually came from corporate America. He quit corporate America five years ago to live his dream and it's a very different area of business that we have found. So even though we have competition it's a little bit different than what we experienced both of us being in corporate America. There is not the kind of dog eat dog mentality because the farmers really all want to help each other and there's enough business to go around. One of the things that I would say that does set us apart is how we consider and treat the customer both individuals as well as restaurants. The way we package our food, the way we present our food is all very important to us, and even though we are small we are presenting ourselves in a very professional way. For example in the beginning when Nelson first started visiting restaurants to gain their business, people would deliver vegetables in plastic grocery bags but when Nelson first showed up he had the vegetables in totes and he pulled them out to show the restaurant owners, it just made a huge difference. Sometimes it is the little things, like when you take the extra time to wrap the twine around the radishes to give that little extra special touch.
The other thing that sets us apart today is we are not a monoculture farm. For example a lot of farms these days have become monoculture farms where they just produce one thing. Maybe they only produce carrots and they are good at producing carrots but they just have you know hundreds of acres of carrots. It has always been our philosophy that on a healthy farm there is a relationship between plants and animals and there are certain cycles. For instance, we can take the overage of a crop, let's say radishes if we have too many radishes we can feed those to the sheep. And then six months later we collect the composted sheep manure and we can add that back into the gardens as fertilizer and so there's this kind of this closed cycle between plants and animals that monoculture farms don't have. Our objective is to really learn and explore the relationships in a multicultural farm or a multipurpose farm.
Another thing I would say that sets us apart is we are probably one of the only farms that actually raises a heritage bird and what that means is that our birds take 10 to 11 weeks to go from hatch to harvest. Most farms are raising what they call a Cornish which is what you typically will buy in the grocery store and those go from the hatch to the harvest in about five to six weeks. What this means for our customers is that because it takes our bird longer to gain the weight they are spending more time on the pasture, more time taking in what God meant for them to eat, which are all the insects and the good proteins that they get, as well as they're building more muscle which gives the bird a lot of flavor.
One other thing that I feel sets us apart is that we don't consider ourselves just a farm we are also a ministry. We are constantly asking ourselves, as people of faith, what would God have us do with the land it's his farm and how can we give back? We actually partner with a local food bank and we have a plot that is designated just for that food bank for people who are in need.
What are your plans moving forward for the future for your business?
We have a number of endeavors that we're looking at. We are looking at trying to engage more with the food bank that we work with as they have expressed some greater needs. So we are looking at how we can partner with them in a closer way to provide even more food. They also have a lot of endeavors in Africa where they actually have some farms in Africa where we've talked about maybe partnering with them to help with those endeavors. The more that we can go down the needs side of it that is of particular focus.
On the business side, we see it growing. There are more and more restaurants looking for local relationships with farms not only from a quality standpoint but also to sustainability standpoint. Their customers care where they are getting their food so.
The business side will definitely tend will evolve more and more as we are still learning as a young farm what specific products we can be most impactful with. We found success with our poultry, we found success with our eggs.
In the vegetable world, we have found some areas that we can do really well at and some areas that others are better at. It may be that our particular land doesn’t cater to a specific type of crop so we're still learning and as that knowledge deepens we'll focus more and more on those areas and get better at those.
How do you currently market your business?
We have done a lot with social media. We have a huge following on Facebook we have over four thousand people who follow us. Typically when we post videos of children with the farm animals and cute baby animals because it will get like eight thousand views. So Facebook has been huge for us, and we are just starting to do Instagram.
We also have different co-ops that work with us and then we create we partner with a host family that basically offers their front porch or their sidewalk and we literally deliver the cooler everything's ordered online and we are Grocer model. This means you can go online between Wednesday and Thursday at midnight and there is no minimum. You can order what they want and then choose if you want to either pick it up at the farm or one of our drop off locations.
We have been featured in different magazines, and a lot of restaurants say they partner with us. So that is how we get the word out. This is probably our biggest dilemma, there are so many people who want what we have, but don't know we exist.
If you are out and about and find yourself with a diaper bag that is running low, then look for Mommies Big Helper. We spoke with Evangelina Rich, the owner, and creator of Mommies Big Helper which is not only a great idea to help you out in a time of need, but also provides you the essentials necessary to care for your infant or toddler.
Tell us about your business.
We have been open for three months and we are currently located inside The Shops at Willow Bend on the lower level across from the Crayola Experience that will be opening soon. We are a vending machine that sells items necessary to care for your big helpers, such as diaper changing kits, formula feeding kits, pacifiers, snacks, wipes and things of that nature. We are here to help families make it easier when they are out on the go and they don't have what they need. They would really hate to go home so we fill that need and hopefully make life a little more convenient for them.
How did you get started and what made you come up with this idea?
So I got the idea about six years ago after my last child was born. Although I thought it was a great idea, I chose to put the idea off for a while because my mom had also just been diagnosed with breast cancer. I didn’t want her to be by herself during this battle with cancer, so that is why I chose to put the idea on hold for a while. A few years passed by, and I went back to work and we moved a few times, but this year I did a self-reflection and realized that now is a good time to take action on my idea and make it real. I have been very excited about it, and it's been well received. I am appreciative and shocked at the responses I have received from the community.
On the very first day that we were filling the machine it was about 7 pm and this mom walks up to me my husband and she's and she was quickly looking around for something. We asked her what needed, or what she was looking for, and she told us that her daughter had just had an accident and she didn’t have any wipes, and she needed wipes quickly. So we explained what we were, and she was so grateful, and couldn’t believe the great timing of us being there in her time of need. So her need, her why, and her franticness is one of the many reasons why we are here and so we were able to help her and she was happy. I was so shocked and caught off guard that we were not even technically open for business but we actually helped someone already. It was too good to be true and I wish I had captured the moment with a picture or something.
What sets you apart from your competition or are there other vending machines out there like yours?
There are similar machines out there, but not in the state of Texas. We know of similar machines in Illinois and New York.
What sets us apart is not only do we offer everything you need you like the things I mentioned previously like the pacifiers, snacks, and wipes, but one thing I wanted to do as a business is to help other mommy entrepreneurs. For example, I wanted to be able to help the breastfeeding mommies. Normally when you think of breastfeeding, you think of a huge piece of cloth that you wrap around yourself. I did some research and I found a local mama here and she has this invention and she calls it The Ultimate Breast Feeding Accessory, so I reached out to her she agreed to let me sell her product in my machine.
Adding this product was huge for me because the other machines that are out there don't do that. Also, I don't want to leave anyone out, meaning if you don't bottle feed, and you breastfeed, I don't want a potential customer to think that my machine doesn't work for them and have them move on. I want to be able to help everyone. So in the event, the mommy doesn't have what she needs to breastfeed now she does. This new product is innovative and now the mom can walk around the mall or walk around anywhere being covered and still feed her child. With all of that said, the fact that I'm actually able to help another mommy get her product out there and get some exposure was huge for me.
So where do you see your business in the future and how do you plan to get there?
In the short term, for example, next year we want to grow by two machines. Overall I don't want to grow too fast, I want to be able to control the growth. Our goal is to be in a heavier traffic area, for example, DFW Airport and Six Flags Arlington. Within five years I want to expand outside of Dallas, an in other cities within Texas, such as San Antonio or Houston and also hit the heavy traffic areas like airports, theme parks, bus stations, outlet malls and other places like that.
Also as I mentioned earlier we are helping other mommy entrepreneurs by putting their products in our machine, and we want to continue with that as well.
Another thing we want to start doing hopefully next year is to give back to the community, either people or companies who provide a need or solution for other families out there. For example, I saw a story about a nurse at a local hospital, and what she does is she makes hand molds for loved ones who are about to lose a loved one. Sitting by the by the hospital bed, she will have them hold hands and will make a clay mold. She does it completely out of her pocket, one hundred percent all self-funded. Read the story here. It is stories like that, where we want our company to be able to give back and help those who are helping others. Obviously, you have a business to make money, but I don't want to stop there I want to be able to continue to pay it forward. I don't want to be known just for having a great product or an awesome company I want to be known for constantly giving back and being thankful and grateful for what I have and showing it through you know supporting the local entrepreneurs or just giving back to those who help others.
Do you need a girls night out, or something unique to do with your friend group? Meet Jeanette Walkabout, owner of The Paint Pallet. She has a unique service that you and your friends are going to love.
Tell us a little bit about your business and where you are located.
I am actually located in Little Elm. We do paint party workshops but instead of canvas painting, we paint on wood. So we do pallet art and signs and it's all on wood. This is kind of a family business because my uncle makes the pallets for me. We bring all the supplies needed for the parties and workshops.. We are totally mobile and I bring the party experience to people's homes or we meet at restaurants or our resident HOA clubhouses.
My original dream was to open up a little studio like a little storefront. It wasn't possible just starting out so I thought I'd just do the mobile route and do like it a little bit more because I'm not limited to just the Little Elm area. I travel all over DFW.
Tell us how you get started?
Well I opened up this business in January 2017, but for a few years prior to that I was doing some Pinterest projects myself and just kind of getting into the D.I.Y. Then I started doing home parties for friends and everybody really started liking them. It is becoming a trend right now with D.I.Y. Pinterest stuff so I thought I'd go ahead and open up a small business and it's been going great and has been very successful so far.
I know you can go buy a sign or have somebody make one for you, but I feel like I just sell the experience. Ladies want to get together, have a night away, and just have some girl time so I feel like that's what I sell.
What sets you apart from your competition?
I think the big thing that sets me apart is that I am mobile. I consider my competition right now the actual studios that are popping up, and there are some franchises that are now popping up here in the area. So what sets me apart is I come to their house. People don't have to fight Dallas traffic to get somewhere, so I kind of take that stresses away from them. Also, they get to choose any painting, or any design that they like so not everyone paints the same thing. I really pride myself on that because I offer hundreds of designs and every person paints something different at every class.
So what is the future look like for your business, and how do you plan to get there?
I eventually would still like to have a DIY studio or if not to maybe expand. Right now is just me doing it myself. I have been approached about the idea franchising, but I'm just not sure I'm there yet. I don't know if it's going to be where The Paint Pallet can be franchised or if I simply hire employees. I do know eventually I'd like to have more than just me doing The Paint Pallet parties at homes. I don't know yet if I'm going to set up where I hire instructors or actually franchise the mobile aspect where some ladies can start their own business under The Paint Pallet umbrella.
How do you market your business?
Right now it's a lot of a social media, Facebook, Instagram, and word of mouth. I really haven't paid for any advertising so far, and I've been kept pretty busy. I'm actually projected by the end of the year to be at fifty events and all of that is just kind of word of mouth and Facebook. Typically at each party, I end up booking another one right from someone at that location.
So what would you like people to know as far as you know how to schedule you for a party?
My website has a plethora of information. I have set it up to provide all the information regarding deposit minimum, and guest minimums. They can find all of that on the website and they can even book an event off of the website. There is a deposit required to hold a date. I would say my website would probably be the number one way to reach us, and also our Facebook business page would be a great way to see upcoming events because I also hold public events. So if someone doesn't want to host an event and clean their house and have people over, they can simply join a public event that I have around town.
What types of Photography Do You Do?
KDP provides photography services that include:
Tell us a little bit of your background and how you started with photography.
I grew up in Michigan and in middle school, I decided I wanted to be a photographer. Once I was in high school, I created a darkroom out of a janitor’s which was my first dive into photography. It was fun and it was real. I was able to really learn the skill because I had to look at photography with a scientific approach that included trial and error in a lab. In turn, this taught me how to work the settings and utilize lighting from the very beginning. I'm always learning new things, of course!
I ended up going to school for civil engineering and I only did photography as a hobby, mostly doing photoshoots for friends. I started working for a consulting firm doing civil engineering, but once my youngest child was born, I stopped working to stay at home and eventually took the leap to offer some photo sessions. I wasn’t sure how it would take, how much I could manage or multitask at that time, but my business definitely took off from there!
I really like working with people and I like getting out there creating and capturing beautiful moments. I love it. I love being there at the session with people, I love delivering the photos at the end because it's just beautiful. I like editing. I like the whole process.
A couple of years ago I started doing weddings and I absolutely love it. I've come a long way from those first mini sessions I'd offered and have self taught through research and practice for the different types of portraits such as newborns and others.
There are a lot of photographers out there, what sets you apart from everyone else?
I feel like everybody would say it's their passion, but what sets me apart from the others is that I like the artistic and the scientific approach. I think that is definitely different from most photographers.
When I see a new technique or have an idea, I go figure it out and use my determination and attention to detail to figure it out the best I can. This all comes from my technical background and it certainly plays into my photography. I enjoy when clients ask questions or inquire about their photos or technique. I like to show them why I'm doing things the way I do. I like to show them some of their photos which they love because it's nice to walk away KNOWING you've got some great shots and not wondering until you see them.
Another unique thing is an even that I created called Portraits of Courage. It will occur approximately every 18 months. It is a free event for kids battling Congenital Heard Defect. This all started when a friend of mine who’s child had a Congenital Heart Defect told me that her doctor had recommended getting portraits as her child portraying two different sides of her, and both as strong and beautiful. The idea was to have some portraits showcasing her beauty through the strength she demonstrates as a warrior of CHD and then to also be certain to have other portraits capturing her beauty, personality, and spirit having nothing to do with CHD, highlighting both aspects of beauty.
Later, I had a client with twins both having CHD. At a normal milestone session she asked me if they could do one photo of her son with a special cape and his Beads of Courage (children with CHD earn beads to represent different events in their treatment and battle) to capture that strength that was so evident and possibly use for something at their hospital. From this experience, along with what my friend had told me, gave me the idea to offer this special photo shoot for these children. I learned that many families do not have professional photos taken during this time in their child’s life because it is a trying time. Not only is there the aspect of having children that can in and of themselves be unpredictable, but also all of the other treatments going on in their lives.
Putting these ideas together, I felt lead to provide a day where it'd be focused on doing just that with the portraits of these sweet warriors, for free. Unsure if this idea would be well received, I created an event called Portraits of Courage and offered it to a group called Amazing Little Hearts based out of Medical City Dallas Hospital. The event was very successful with a full day of back-to-back short reserved sessions photographing children ranging from 4 months to 12 years, all of whom were CHD warriors. They were encouraged to bring their Beads of Courage or whatever other prop had meaning for them. They could showcase their scar if chosen to as well. We had some babies in tutus and beads and some with capes! It was marvelous! They were also encouraged to bring any outfit of choice for a regular, beautiful portrait. I selected, edited and delivered the best 3 to 4 pictures. I was blessed as much as they were, if not more! After the events success, I had confirmation that this was something I was called to do and look forward to the next!
So how do you how do you advertise your business?
I have a website a Facebook page.
Our biggest advertisement is word of mouth. People share with their friends in person and on social media.
Please meet Kimberly Armstrong, owner of Posh Pretzels of Frisco. She combines sweet and salty to create unique savory treats. If you have an upcoming event we encourage you to consider adding these tasty treats to your dessert table. Learn more about Posh Pretzels of Frisco…
Tell us a little bit about your business.
I make hand dipped chocolate pretzel rods. I have over a dozen year-round flavors along with seasonal flavors. I currently have three new holiday flavors and create custom flavors as well.
I have a set that is decorated like mummies, werewolves, witches, Frankenstein and his bride for Halloween. The custom ones are always really fun.
Do you have a storefront or do you do you only sell online?
I do both and I recently this summer got a small storefront at the Lonestar Mercantile that just opened in Allen. We also sell our products online.
How long have you been in business with the online sales?
I have been in business for about a year and a half now. March 17, 2017, was my was my one year anniversary. March is when I started the business, but April is when I officially opened.
I previously had a full in-home bakery after the Texas Cottage Food Law had passed. Then we moved so I had closed everything down and then I reopened but only specialized in the pretzels.
How do you come up with the different flavors and ideas?
I have a taste crew of about twelve kids, all of teenagers.
When I am creating a new pretzel, they get the tasters and they let me know how they taste. Everything is tested in all three chocolates: white, milk, and dark. So they let me know if things do not taste good or if it has a strange texture. For example, we have been testing different cereals, and we did Fruit Loops. Their feedback was that I needed to cut the fruit loops down or break them down somehow because they were too big.
What client base are you trying to reach? Who is your ideal client?
I honestly do everything and work with anyone who eats pretzels. I have done orders for Teacher Appreciation, I work with a local event planner and she has she has designed a couple of my gift baskets for me. I do business to business, I do a lot of network marketing and they send me to deliver pretzels to their clients as thank you's. I do all the special events like birthdays, weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, holiday events.
I have clients who have used me personally and then they tell their boss who then uses my pretzels to gift to their clients. So I cater to everybody.
What do you think sets you apart from your competition?
My competition is basically anyone that sells desserts. So there are a lot of places where people can go buy desserts for events. I try to get in front of people who do dessert tables and I help them think outside the box to realize their table can be unique and not only cookies and cupcakes and just a regular thing. So I really do strive to be unique and be something different that people haven't had before. I want people when planning their next event to think well I always do cookies, so maybe I'll do something different this time instead of the same dessert table.
I realize you know you can customize sugar cookies and cupcakes, but mine I can customize a little bit more uniquely aside from just the colors and things. For example, I recently did a dessert table for a junior high. Each year they do a prom for the theater kids and it's always themed. This year they chose a Disney theme and I made Bell's dress and Mike and Sully from Monsters, Inc, and I have made minions as well. So no matter the theme, I can adapt and create something that is a little bit more unique.
I have seen some impressive cookies, don't get me wrong I'm friends with several of the business owners in town who do stuff like that and it's kind of nice to have that competition. We don't really honestly compete because when we are busy we refer each other. The holidays are huge for everybody, so when one of us is booked we can refer each other to our clients. So while being a competition, we also help each other out.
How do you advertise your business and get your business name out there?
I do have a website and use social media. Also with the storefront, they are really good about advertising the different vendors and having different events. Everything else I do is social media, and I attend a lot of different networking meetings where I do a lot of business to business types of connections. When I'm doing the social media promotion, it's more customer/client business to person and then through the networking meetings, I show how I can do this for your clients and customers.
Where do you where do you see yourself in five years?
I honestly I really haven't even advertised that much I've just started shipping. I have shipped to several different states. Honestly, having this small space at the Lonestar Mercantile was a huge step for me having only been in business just a little over a year. I would eventually like to have my own standalone place for people to come through and I really kind of want a food truck. I have family in other cities, I have family in Houston and Galveston and they have festivals and things all the time and with a food truck I've become mobile. I can be there and here in Frisco too.
In the very beginning when I didn't have a space at the Lonestar Mercantile, I did a lot of different vendor events and had a little booth and a little table and that's how I got me in front of people. I have started thinking about getting back into doing some of those just to reach a different audience. You never know who you're going to reach and where you are going to reach them.
So having a food truck would open up a lot of the outdoor activities and festivals because I can keep my product cool. Chocolate starts melting at eighty degrees. I have done some events outdoors where it was expected to be cold and then it was not and so I was left scrambling to figure out how to keep my product from melting in the heat.