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Tanna Parker, Owner and Jon Crabtree, SBA Lender Rel. Spec.

Imagine That Signs & Graphics

 

Tanna Parker is the owner of Imagine That Signs and Graphics.  Tanna entered the male-dominated sign industry in 2010, when she started her own woman-owned business.

Tanna earned a business degree and has gained industry experience by managing a signage and marketing materials company.  Based on this experience, she decided to start her own business, so she could use her ideas to develop her own signage and other products.

Tanna needed help meeting the challenges of starting a new business.  She learned about the pros and cons of different legal structures, and decided that being a sole proprietor was right for her.  She also needed to know the cost per square foot for lease space and choosing the best location.  Fortunately, her parents, a real estate broker and an appraiser, were available to help her with these business decisions.  Next, she purchased the equipment, including the software and media to run the very large printing and screening machinery. Financing a start-up business can be a challenge, but in April, 2010 Tanna received an SBA loan through the Bank of Buffalo.  She was in business!

Tanna knows the importance of learning the methods and technologies of her industry.   She opened her business in 2010, and went to wrapping school the following year.  The training taught her the technology used to apply wraps to cars and positioning signs and logos.  She learned about the school through a friend that was into NASCAR racing.  Tanna experiments with the designs she sells and has taught herself many skills necessary to run her business. 

Tanna also received assistance through the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Casper, Wyoming.  Leonard Holler at the SBDC prepared a business valuation for Tanna, which can be useful when a business owner is considering applying for a loan, selling the business or making other business decisions.  Her parents also continue to mentor her as needed, and she has learned the importance of researching an issue and making business decisions.  She says:  “I will make no rash or fast responses without thoroughly thinking it through.”  This focus and determination have helped her start and grow her business.

When starting and growing a business it is important for a new business to do as Tanna did, and seek the help advice and training from the SBA, the SBDC, and family, friends or other available resources.

The SBA does not endorse the opinions, products or services of any private individual or business entity.

Wyoming Completion Technologies, Inc. Growing by Exporting Down-Hole Tools Worldwide

 Scott Hecht started Wyoming Completion Technologies, Inc. (WCT) in Powell, Wyoming, in August of 1998 because he believed his designing and manufacturing of oil field down-hole tools would benefit the oil industry.

Shortly after going into business, oil decreased to $9.50 a barrel.  Oil drilling virtually ceased.  Faced with aggressive competition from large businesses and the challenge of rural living, Scott found himself relying on his other business, Western Engineering, Inc., to pay the bills while building WCT.  WCT continued to expand even during the oil bust and to produce down hole tools for established customers in the United States as well as many foreign countries. 

Scott acknowledges the contributions of agencies and individuals in the success of WCT.  Several of SBA’s Capline/FA$TRK loans allowed his business to grow and ship fifty percent of his annual sales outside the U.S.  With the guaranteed SBA loans, Scott had the seasonal cash/credit on terms he needed to pursue his dream and expand WCT.  Scott said, “Without SBA we never would have been around today; we will never forget you.”  WCT was presented SBA’s Wyoming Exporter of the Year award in 2004.  Over the last ten years WCT has increased its exporting and currently approximately fifty percent of its sales are international.

Looking back, Scott and his wife, Janice started the business with one CNC lathe and one mill and the two of them; now they have five lathes, two mills and employ 15-20 individuals in the area.  In July 2013 they went to a third shift in the production of parts.  Scott attributes the uniqueness and quality of his business to Janice, Mike Kvia, a top notch machinist, Martha Butwin, Department of Commerce, and Bart Langemeier, President, Bank of Lovell.

Scott and Janice received the U.S. Foreign Commercial Services Export Achievement Certificate during the 2012 Global Petroleum Show in Calgary.  They were also part of the first Gold Key Canada which is a program provided through Department of Commerce, one of SBA’s exporting partners.  American companies are matched with companies in foreign markets that can assist them to expand in the exporting field.

WCT has experienced increased growth and several awards for achievement but small businesses are never without challenges. The major challenge Scott and Janice face is logistics and shipping.  The average tool they manufacture weighs around 50 pounds and is shipped UPS or Fed-ex.  Heavier tools are shipped via LTL.  Being located in a rural state definitely contributes to the challenges of worldwide shipping. 

Scott says, “We currently deliver tools around the world and are in the process of a company expansion to increase our manufacturing capacity.  We have our own design team and licensed professional engineers and are able to customize tools based on individual customer needs.”

Wyoming Completion Technologies, Inc. provides an example of what small businesses in Wyoming can accomplish.  To find out about any of the programs mentioned in this article, contact your local SBA office at 307-261-6500 or www.sba.gov/wy

The SBA does not endorse the opinions, products or services of any private individual or business entity. 

Attached files: SBA Success Story (4).docx

SBA's Resource Partner Helps Woman Business Owner Build Dream Enterprise

Kairy-tate Barkley is the owner of French Cuff Boutique, an innovative and highly popular women’s apparel and accessories boutique.  Located in accessible neighborhoods with an intimate setting focused on expert wardrobe consultation and a custom selection of designer labels sets her apart from competitors.

Kairy-tate is a native Houstonian who loves fashion and always dreamed of owning her own boutique.  She attended the University of Houston and received a dual Bachelor of Business degree in Marketing and Management.  While working as a Human Resource professional at a Houston-based Fortune 500 company, she began selling women’s clothing and accessories at home shows in the evenings and weekends, which rekindled her passion for fashion.  She realized that she enjoyed this and was good at selling clothes.  “This re-ignited my true passion and gave me the confidence to take the next step,” said Kairy-tate.

In 2007, she left her successful HR career to pursue her dream full time.  Her research and planning led her to the SBA website where she learned about SCORE, a resource partner of the SBA.  SCORE is a group of volunteers, with a wide range of industry experience in building and/or running businesses, who provide free confidential counseling and low-cost seminars and workshops.  She attended SCORE’s “How to Start and Run Your Own Small Business” workshop.  “This course was great at giving me a better understanding of the important fundamentals of business,” said Kairy-tate.  During her mentorship with SCORE, business counselor Richard Stanley identified that Kairy-tate needed practical retail experience and helped her find an internship with a fashion retailer.  He also assisted Kaiy-tate with her business plan and marketing and business development strategies.      

In July 2008, with the help of SCORE, Kairy-tate braved the difficult financial climate with a second mortgage on her home to finance the first French Cuff Boutique in the Bellaire West University area.  Within 19 months she was able to pay off her second mortgage.  Buoyed by the success of this first location, Kairy-tate opened a second boutique in the Galleria-Memorial neighborhood in 2011.  She began the business with three employees and now employs ten and one intern. 

A true community champion, she contributes time and resources to numerous charities, schools, and important social causes, such as Dress for Success, the March of Dimes, Texas Children’s Hospital, American Cancer Society, Houston Area Women’s Centers, and many others.  She is a member of the Junior League of Houston and serves on the Board of Directors of the River Oaks Women’s Exchange Club.  In addition to a demanding career, she is also balancing the role as wife and new mother. 

For more information about the French Cuff Boutique, visit their website at http://www.frenchcuffco.com