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Anjolie Ayurveda Brings Skincare Products from the Himalayan Mountains
NEW YORK, NY--- Several years ago Cary Gabeler embarked on a journey in India and discovered Ayurveda: an ancient medicinal practice native to the area, whose holistic approach to healing would inspire her toward her business venture with her daughter Meryl. Cary and Meryl’s love of the Ayurvedic practice combined with luxurious aromatic scents and soaps is the foundation that began Anjolie Ayurveda, their small business based in Hastings-On-Hudson, which imports handmade skincare products from their women owned and operated facility in India.
Like many entrepreneurs, and even with Cary’s previous business owner experience, they had to overcome a few challenges.
“When we started out, it was challenging because it was just the two of us, so you’re doing everything on your own from the very start, which can be overwhelming,” said Meryl.
Shortly after launching Anjolie Ayurveda, Cary and Meryl learned about the Women’s Enterprise Development Center in White Plains, New York. WEDC is a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Center program, and offers training, counseling, and resources to small business owners and entrepreneurs. Cary and Meryl participated in WEDC’s 60+ Hour Entrepreneurial Training Program and were awarded a grant from the organization’s Lanza Enterprise Award Program which provides grants to help women entrepreneurs in the lower Hudson Valley boost their small businesses to the next level.
The LEAP award funding allowed Cary and Meryl to attend their first trade show, resulting in additional opportunities including a feature in Oprah Magazine. Cary and Meryl have continued their relationship with WEDC and have also advanced their training as small business owners through WEDC’s Business Opportunities and Success Strategies Program. The program, also known as BOSS, helps business owners focus on business strategies and methods to position their businesses for growth and sustainability, and help plan for both short and long term goals.
WEDC Executive Director Anne M. Janiak stated that, “Cary and Meryl Gabeler are truly inspirational WEDC graduates. They took advantage of a variety of our business training and financing programs to help grow their profitable and socially conscious company. The success of Anjolie Ayurveda clearly demonstrates the importance of supporting the growth of women-owned businesses.”
“The counseling and coaching we’ve received from WEDC even after the training classes are completed have made us feel very lucky to have them as resources,” said Meryl. “I definitely advise other small business owners or entrepreneurs to find resources to help them out like WEDC or the Business Outreach Center Network.”
Anjolie Ayurveda developed its “Anjolie” namesake from Meryl’s middle name, whose Sanskrit meaning is “Divine Offering.”
“We see Anjolie Ayurveda as, ‘our divine offering to you,’ and in addition to our products that are handmade in India under fair trade practices, we also help contribute to and empower the local employees in India who help make our business possible,” said Meryl.
Anjolie Ayurveda helps provide education to the children of their employees due to the lack of a public school system in India, and additionally they work to support women entrepreneurship by providing entrepreneurship grants through partnerships with various organizations.
“The true success of a small business owner and entrepreneur is not only in how they manage their business, but also in how they give back to the small business community and contribute to the lives of those who have helped them along the way,” said SBA New York Acting District Director Adalberto Quijada.
Currently Anjolie Ayurveda’s products are in over 300 stores across the nation to include Whole Foods in the northeast region. They also received an $18,000 microloan from the WEDC Microloan program, a collaboration with the Business Outreach Center, which has helped them launch a new line of perfumes made in the USA, expand their inventory, and increase their product lines.
NEW YORK, NY— Twenty-two years ago, Michael Montenes set out to start his own small business with the primary goal of ensuring that his customers were satisfied. He knew that in order to do so, he would have to put together and train an all-star team who understood the power of personal customer service and could deliver results.
Montenes founded M.S. Hi-Tech, a New York-based electronic component distributor located in Hauppauge, New York that specializes in procurement and inventory management solutions for customers in the global electronic supply chain. Montenes credits his father with teaching him the importance of quality control and attention to detail for any product, and he demonstrates this lesson by pushing his company to exceed expectations in its mission and operations.
That doesn’t mean the process was always easy.
When Montenes opened his business at 2 p.m. on November 20, 1990, he was 29 years old, “with a credit card, telephone and a prayer.” While the business was getting off the ground, he put in the long hours needed to achieve customer satisfaction. During a tough patch, he also worked nights at a local gas station to help make ends meet. Reinvesting profit into the business and maintaining a culture where a real person is always there to answer the phone has been the key to his company’s development.
“It takes a family to build a successful company,” said SBA Long Island Branch Manager Walter Oden. “And Michael has created a great family within M.S. Hi-Tech who work very hard and are very passionate in their mission.” From his puppy, Kiwi, who stayed faithful during the early days when LIPA cut off Montenes’ home’s power, to a staff of 10 professionals who regularly stayed late to help customers get what they need, the MS Hi-Tech team understands the meaning of commitment.
In developing his management strategy, Montenes, knew that the work of his people have a direct effect on the company goals of their clients. The MS Hi-Tech team is distinguished by a strong culture, seeing themselves as an extension of their customers’ buying groups. In an industry where buyers are pressured with deadlines for their own customers, and distributors have to efficiently manage multiple orders and requests, Montenes has ensured efficiency by cross-training his team and maintaining that they have a high-level of technical expertise.
“We look to hire, train and develop individuals who are passionate about helping other people,” Montenes said. “We have an excellent infrastructure, and a great group of people who truly care and take the success of our clients very personal, and that’s how we’ll continue to grow.”
In September of 2007, Michael worked with TD Bank to obtain a loan under the SBA’s 504 CDC Loan program. M.S. Hi-Tech received an $870,000 loan to assist in the purchase of the building in which they’ve operated for the past two decades.
“It’s been a sincere honor to recognize the great work and the great team at M.S. Hi-Tech,” said Acting District Director Adalberto Quijada. “As the opportunities in the sub-contracting market continue to grow, Michael’s team sets a great example for success for the small business community.”
M.S. Hi-Tech is also the SBA New York District winner for Sub-Contractor of the Year 2013, as well as the winner for SBA Region II Atlantic. Michael and his team were nominated by Brookhaven Science Associates/Brookhaven National Laboratory.
“M.S. Hi-Tech has provided a wide range of products and services to us on such programs as the Large Hadron Collider, Atlas Detector, National Synchrotron Light Source, and the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider,” said Small Business Liaison Officer Jill Clough-Johnston. “We nominated M.S. Hi-Tech for this award because they have always provided us with competitive prices, on-time delivery, and a customer service team that is excellent in respect to technical expertise and courtesy.”
Michael and his team continue to work hard at building a strong business, by maintaining a family culture and high standards of practice, and by also honoring those who have helped along the way. Although they are no longer with us, Michael and his team know that both Kiwi and Mr. Montenes, Sr. would be proud.
Eight years ago, George Constantinou and Farid Ali-Lancheros opened the restaurant that would turn their dreams into reality and make them role models to small business owners and entrepreneurs looking to succeed in a competitive industry. Through determination and years of in-depth planning and research, Constantinou and Ali-Lancheros created what would become one of Brooklyn’s most popular restaurants: Bogota Latin Bistro.
Bogota Latin Bistro is a Pan-Latin eatery located in Park Slope, Brooklyn that now serves 2,600 customers weekly after opening in the summer of 2005. During its opening night, the restaurant served over 250 customers and continued its success to generate over one million dollars in sales during the first year of operations, and today employs over 60 employees from the local community.
Part of Constantinou and Ali-Lancheros’s journey included working with business counselors from the local Business Outreach Center. They were able to create target financial projections and a solid business plan to support their application for an SBA microloan. Despite initial rejections from 13 commercial banks, their perseverance and encouragement from the BOC helped them receive a $25,000 microloan from the U.S. Small Business Administration as well as a $100,000 loan from HSBC. Bogota Latin Bistro’s relationship with the BOC has continued to grow over the past 10 years which has supported them with on-going technical assistance, guidance on strategic growth planning, and preparation to look for new financing to support additional business endeavors and expansion.
Constantinou credits their high value for management ethics and success to their strong family backgrounds. “We come from immigrant parents and appreciate the value of hard work,” Constantinou said. “We pass that on to our employees so they can be successful in their own right.”
Their managerial style is described as being infused with reward and respect. Bogota Latin Bistro offers employee health insurance, paid time-off, 401K, and they also hire from the community and promote from within, to work towards developing a dynamic team of people.
Another side to their success was having a business plan that was prepared to manage growth and infancy in its early stages. This was achieved by only opening for dinner in the evening, having a multi-faceted marketing strategy, and leveraging social media and the internet to develop brand awareness and build business.
As their sales grew, Bogota Latin Bistro was able to take advantage of new opportunities by introducing a new line of specialty sauces after noticing it was in high demand. This product alone helps produce $25,000 in annual sales and has now developed into a specialty food line, Miti Miti Foods.
In the past three years, Bogota Latin Bistro has grown over 56 percent, which has supported their efforts to open an executive office space and learning lab for staff, launch a catering wing, and create jobs. Constantinou and Ali-Lancheros are also active community members, volunteering their expertise to the local small business community, donating tales to charitable organizations, and promoting cultural initiatives.
“George Constantinou and Farid Ali-Lancheros are great role-models to any entrepreneur looking to break through in a tough industry,” said Acting New York District Director Adalberto Quijada. “Many businesses fail early on because they weren’t prepared for scaling up and dealing with rapid growth, but Constantinou and Ali-Lancheros’ preparation and planning really paved the way to their success.”
Constantinou and Ali-Lancheros were also honored with the SBA’s New York District Office Small Business Person of the Year award for 2013. Their perseverance and preparation, relationships with local business resource partners, and continuing contributions to their community, demonstrate the positive impact they have made toward economic growth and the New York small business community.