Suchi Mumford has always been the hands-on type attracted to hands-on art, and now that she has opened her own clay pottery and glass studio, she is thrilled to own and manage a business around something that she has loved since her childhood.
Mrs. Mumford started Indigo Fire Studio in Belmont, Massachusetts in 2012. She had always loved working with clay pottery, but a career in international aid took her overseas and kept her busy working with education and adoption programs. After marrying and having two children, international work was no longer a good fit and Mrs. Mumford decided to open her own business. That first year was stressful, and Mrs. Mumford said, “I wish I had started Indigo Fire before having children. Finding balance can be difficult in that first year. But at the end of the day, it’s a great fit.”
Before starting her business, Mrs. Mumford approached the Center for Women and Enterprise (CWE) for help in 2011, and later completed a six-month business writing course with the organization that helped her develop her business plan. She then approached Cambridge Savings Bank with her plan and received a small business loan to get her started. In the 14 months that she has been in business, Mrs. Mumford has been able to hire five additional employees and hopes to add additional locations in the future.
“I could not have started my business without the help of CWE,” said Mrs. Mumford. She added, “They understand the unique challenges that many women face in starting businesses, and work hard to get women the resources they need to become successful entrepreneurs. They continue to be my ‘go-to’ resource for networking and on going support.”
Every day, our military works to protect the American dream, and when they return home, the U.S. Small Business Administration works to help some veterans live that dream by starting a small business. This creates jobs for other Americans, and at times other veterans, and this is exactly what happened when Michael Niall left the Army and started My Mobile Mechanic, an auto repair company.
My Mobile Mechanic sends one of two mechanics to a home or other location to fix brakes, check exhausts and mufflers, change engines, complete a tune-up, or provide other services including diagnosing check engine light complaints and other electronics problems. Their mobility makes the company a convenient choice, and their client list is continuing to grow.
Before Mr. Niall started his company, he worked at Tri-State Truck Center in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts as a mechanic, and also served as a mechanic in the Army when he started there in 1997.
Mr. Niall started his business in January 2007 with a borrowed truck and a toolbox. In 2009 the business was struggling when Mr. Niall met Jerry Pinsky and became a member of the Veteran Business Owners Association. Through education, coaching and peer support provided by the VBOA, the business took off and Mr. Niall learned about the services offered by the SBA. With a combination of what he learned through the VBOA and excellent counseling from the SBA , Mr. Niall was able to secure a Patriot Express loan for $80,000 from First Trade Union Bank in September 2012. “With a small business loan, I was able to purchase two new vehicles and hire a mechanic and administrative assistant,” said Mr. Niall. He added, “It would have been impossible to grow my business without the SBA.” Today, he manages two employees and his earned revenue in 2012 was $120,000.
Mr. Niall’s success in the transition from soldier to business owner led him to work with and later serve as the president of the Veteran’s Business Owners Association. There, he works to help other veterans start their own small businesses.
Looking ahead, Mr. Niall sees a bright horizon, and is planning to hire more mechanics as his business continues to take off.
Every company talks about the value in listening to its customers, but no company takes that creed more seriously, or more literally, than Keep the Edge Studios. Keep the Edge is a recording studio where according to its founders, “all musicians should feel welcome.” The studio aims to provide a creative and inspiring environment for all musicians needing a space to record, while also upholding industry standards for sound fidelity, consistency and creativity.
Keep the Edge Studios was founded in 2009 by two Berklee College of Music graduates, Keith Asack and Kim Pfluger. Mr. Asack has been recording since age 14 and is also an accomplished songwriter. Ms. Pfluger is a singer, guitar player, and guitar repair technician as well as a graphic designer, web designer, and artist. The two business partners met while in school, and decided to start their business when they were only 20 years old. The pair started the recording studio in a small, 525 square foot space in Allston, but after some flooding in 2010, the company moved to a full-service 2,000 square-foot facility in Quincy, Massachusetts.
With a total of 88 inputs in each control room, Keep the Edge Studios is now one of the largest, multi-functional studios in the Boston area. Keep the Edge Studios received help from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help them grow, including counseling from the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center and an SBA small business loan for $100,000. The pair was connected to the SBA by Ms. Pfluger’s former accounting teacher and manager of a Berklee business incubator, Martin Dennehy.
Giving back to the community that helped them get their start in the music business has always been important to Kim and Keith. Each year, the studio puts on a community concert in partnership with the local Chamber of Commerce. The event includes a few of the bands that the studio works with and concessions.
Despite a few challenges, and with help from the community in Quincy, Keep the Edge Studios has shown that it has staying power. As the trend of positive growth continues, the company is likely to enjoy enormous success.