- 1 of 2
Elite Human Capital Group - Brookfield, WI
Crystal LaPoint-King likes helping people and knew that she could do it better than the staffing companies she had worked previously with. In 2003, she founded Elite Human Capital Group in Brookfield, Wisconsin.
Elite Human Capital Group provides temporary staffing and temp to hire recruiting services for engineering, IT, accounting, finance, and other professional positions. Along with Vice President Kate Weiland and Paul Kilp, Elite’s CEO, the company also offers direct hire recruiting for companies and has a consulting division that allows clients to outsource their recruiting to Elite.
It is 2009 and the company is growing and adding a technical division. The economy is not growing and a potential new contract was offered but debt needed to be restructured and working capital was needed. Crystal and her SBA lending staff at Community Bank & Trust secured a 7(a) term loan and a Patriot Express loan. Elite took on the new contract and stood ready to face the economic downturn without having to lay off any talented staff. There were still some fears and uncertainty with the economy, and the company’s revenues were down in 2009 but they have succeeded in growing the business and are feeling the effects of the rebounding economy, including a recent move to larger space to accommodate their growth.
Crystal promotes community service where she grants additional vacation time if individuals volunteer in the community. Her company also matches dollar for dollar any contributions their associates raise for any community programs or causes. In addition, Elite annually sponsors little league softball and football teams of local middle schools as well as donate to local causes. In 2011, they sponsored the fall fashion show for the Waukesha Humane Animal Welfare Society.
Elite Human Capital is also WBENC certified which is a national certification for women owned businesses. A Third Party Certifier for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program. Crystal believes in good karma. She states, “All good comes back to you, every day is a new opportunity”.
Plans include adding a government services division that will focus on securing government staffing contracts for agencies looking to contract with women or minority owned businesses.
FloClaire LLC is located in DeForest, Wisconsin, and markets ethnic beauty products that address the specific and essential needs of hyper-pigmented or melanin-rich skin. FloClaire is the exclusive North American distributor of the O’tentika and Hypercreme product line. These products are developed and produced in Geneva, Switzerland under the strict and high quality Swiss standards. The products are formulated with mulberry root extract and other natural ingredients. These ingredients help to reduce the over production of melanin that can lead to hyper pigmentation in the skin of African, Latino or Asian women and men.
O’tentika and Hypercreme were first introduced in 1986 as an innovative, effective, and specific answer to hair and scalp care problems. A few years later, the O’tentika brand was reoriented exclusively towards ethnic beauty skincare so that the historical knowledge of the company could be fully leveraged. Each of the products has been formulated to deal with a particular aspect of beauty care, but they are even more effective when they are used in combination or complementary to each other. With over 25 years of history, these products are not only safe but of superior quality.
In 2004, Tim Chulu, owner of FloClaire, began selling O’tentika and Hypercreme skin care products from his home. After four years of steady growth, Tim knew he could build a successful business around these products. Tim always knew he had a great brand but the rapid success of the natural skin-care line sales was a surprise even to him. Sales climbed from $7000 in the first year to seven figure sales in just seven years.
FloClaire LLC is off to a great start thanks in part to help from SBDC. Tim says, “Without the SBDC, I don’t think I could have achieved what I have.” While doing research on starting a company, Tim found out that the most important thing is having a business plan. He first took an introductory class on writing a business plan from the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. (WWBIC) and then enrolled in the Entrepreneurial Training Program at UW-Madison SBDC that consisted of small business fundamentals, instruction on developing a business plan and individual mentoring. Tim says, “The class was very instrumental in helping me to see where I was going and not just a tool for getting a loan. It helped me to visualize what I was getting into and to prepare for the problems that were coming.”
SBDC assisted Tim in drafting his business plan as well as directing him to WWBIC for a $25,000 Micro loan and later a $60,000 loan to purchase inventory and grow his business. Tim continues to utilize the SBDC as he hires employees and seeks additional sources of funding. Tim also obtained two 7(a) SBA loans in 2011. Tim, who calls his SBDC counselor, Linda Davies “amazing”, does not have the words to express his feelings about the SBDC making her available to him pro bono.
FloClaire is projecting 50% growth in sales this year and will expand into new markets. The company will be launching a new line with improved packaging and even more natural organic ingredients. To keep up with his growing business, Tim hired one employee in 2010 and recently added two more employees in 2011 that will help with sales as FloClaire expands its reach. You can take a look at FloClaire at http://www.floclaire.com
Tim says, “My goal is to grow the market and my vision is to make O’tentika the number one ethnic brand in the USA”. It will be interesting to watch Tim expand FloClaire’s market in the future.
Teaching Books.net - A Success Story from Madison, WI
TeachingBooks.net, located in Madison, WI, is an internet-based resource that makes global connections between authors and teachers a reality. It can be found at www.TeachingBooks.net. Nick Glass, founder of TeachingBooks.net, started the business because he wanted to share his experience of how seeing and hearing an author changes a relationship with the book for both the student and educator. In April 2000, the idea for TeachingBooks.net took form. Their debut was at the American Library Association convention in San Francisco in June 2001. TeachingBooks was launched on the internet September 1, 2001 and began selling licenses in November 2003. Nick has seven employees that help him run TeachingBooks.
TeachingBooks was founded on the premise that educators find enjoyment and professional value in seeing and hearing authors talk about their work. Nick had hosted many author presentations in his previous work—bringing authors to bookstores, schools, libraries, and conferences—and had arranged live author programs for educators over a distance-learning video network. Each author interaction with educators inspired new insights for teaching and sharing books with children.
TeachingBooks.net’s mission is to generate enthusiasm for books and reading by bringing authors, illustrators, and engaging resources about books for children and teens to every school, library, and home. TeachingBooks.net’s database of tens of thousands of reliable links—professionally vetted and authoritative—makes it intuitive to bring books to life for everyone across the K-12 educational landscape.
A sampling of what subscribers to this virtual encyclopedia of children’s literature resources can access are:
- Movies of authors being interviewed in their studios
- Authors introducing and reading their books
- Stimulating book discussion and activity guides
Recordings of authors and illustrators saying their names
…and much more!
When Nick quit his job to devote his energies to TeachingBooks.net, he knew he had to learn about business. He took a business fundamentals class at the SBDC and upon completion of the class, got counseling from SBDC and was encouraged to create a business plan. Nick’s business plan ended up in a thick binder with tabs that organize pages into all the categories of a classic business plan and has a prominent place on a shelf in his office. Nick continues with SBDC counseling as he pursues his dream. Recently, he revisited the plan and drafted a 30-page snapshot of where the business is and what he would like to see happen in the next few years.
Nick raised private financing to support his venture. His business plan has a comprehensive market research section. Revenue sources are primarily subscriptions from schools, universities, and public libraries. Currently more than 26,000 schools have licenses to TeachingBooks.net, offering instructional support to the books read by students, teachers, and families.
As Nick’s business develops and issues become more complex, he still recalls some advice he got from a man he met on a bus, “Watch your dollars and be as creative as you can early-on, because the day will come when you are not as creative as you are now.” Nick says he is in business because, “I have something I want to accomplish. This is my strength; this is what I want to do. I want this job.”