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One Mistake is All it Takes to Launch Baabaazuzu in Leelanau County, MI
Sue and Kevin Burns never dreamed that a botched batch of laundry would turn their world upside down. That’s exactly what happened when Kevin accidently washed one of Sue’s wool sweaters, rendering it useless. Unless…Sue began thinking…she could someone reuse the beautiful wool and make something for her daughter. And that was the beginning of Baabaazuzu, a little company that started from one useless article of clothing.
That was in 2007 and today, Baabaazuzu is a manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer of fashionable clothes for women. The company has received six SBA guaranteed loans to grow the business. The most recent loans, approved in 2011, helped the company with inventory and marketing. Baabaazuzu also received a State Trade and Export Promotion grant administered through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and funded by the SBA. The grant enabled the company to participate in a Canadian trade mission. The trade mission was a complete success with new export sales in both Ontario and Quebec. The couple was able to develop new manufacturing relationships and now have the tools in place to have a greater presence in the Canadian market. They also were able to identify potential barriers to entry such as translation into French. Finally, they were able to call on established accounts to reinforce those relationships.
Over the years, Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center business counselors provided substantial assistance to Sue and Kevin with marketing, and sales, financial analysis, and cost controls. The SBTDC is an SBA funded program.
The future looks bright for Sue and Kevin Burns. The will be launching a new Spring line to become less seasonal and a men's line to broaden their customer base.