Success Stories

SBDC assistance crucial to firm’s Success

Every morning, Robin Cunningham is at the computer studying Euro exchange rates. She’s a small business owner, not an international economist, but the fluctuation of the Euro has a direct impact on the French soaps and lotions she makes in France and imports to the U.S.  

Cunningham, the owner of La Lavande Fine French Soaps in Richmond, has used the services of the Contra Costa SBDC for over 10 years. When she owned a retail store in Walnut Creek, an SBDC consultant counseled her on lease costs. Another SBDC consultant worked with Cunningham on business ratios, inventory, marketing, HR and the importance of reading useful business books. When the constant work of running a retail store and a wholesale firm proved to be overwhelming, SBDC consultant Randy Shores advised Cunningham to concentrate on the wholesale side and recommended a strong web presence to attract a variety of customers. He also suggested systems to track inventory and shipping orders, and how to set... Read More

Thank You, SCORE

San Francisco—You walk into Akimi Hair Gallery on Kearney Street and immediately feel at ease. The spacious hair salon three floors above the street is cool and elegant, just like the owner, Carolyn Luu. A former architecture student, Luu knows style and practices it every day through the services she provides to her loyal customers, some of whom have been with her more than 20 years.

A native of Vietnam who fled the country as a child in the late 1970s, Luu and her family arrived in San Francisco via Utah in 1980 to begin a new life in America. She attended Mission High School where a counselor suggested cosmetology as a potential career. Luu took classes at a San Francisco beauty school and later attended San Francisco City College with the thought of becoming an architect.

“After working at a couple of hair salons,” said Luu, “I realized I wanted to be in the hair business full-time.”

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