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Pitching a Dream
Christina DeAntonia, born and raised in Morgantown West Virginia, had a dream - a dream of Hollywood and fashion. She, as the daughter of an entrepreneur, also had determination - so at the age of 19, she moved to Tampa Florida to purse her passion at design school.
In 2005, after completing her education, Christina moved to Hollywood to achieve her dream of being a wardrobe stylist. During her five years in Los Angeles she did just that. Christina had the opportunity to work on commercials, music videos, independent films - and her overall dream, a feature film. After conquering all she went to LA to accomplish, she was ready to continue her stylist career in the hometown she loved - Morgantown.
Christina wanted to do something no one else was doing in Morgantown, so she decided to open her own boutique and bring Melrose Avenue to Morgantown. She had the dream but knew she had to pitch it to find the funds.
After shopping her dream around to multiple banks she ended up in the office of the Small Business and Development Center (SBDC), speaking with business coach, Sharon Stratton. At the age of 29, Christina didn’t have the collateral required by most banks and wasn’t sure where to go next. Stratton helped Christina in preparing her business plan and put her in contact with the Washington County Council, who is an SBA’s microloan guarantor.
“I loved the fact that I could sit down and talk with someone open and honestly,” said Christina when asked about her experience working with the Washington County Council. “They really listen to your concerns and questions and they are there to help you succeed.”
Christina has words of wisdom to other young entrepreneurs who may face the same challenges, “Contact your local SBDC office and get started on your business plan,” she said. “If you can’t put forth the effort it takes to plan your business, then you aren’t ready to dedicate your life to it.”
Christina had the hard work and dedication needed to launch a new business. In April of 2010, she opened the doors to Altered Ego Boutique. Now, after being in business for three years, she is pursuing a new dream – Christina will soon launch an online version of Altered Ego Boutique.
“I owe a great amount of gratitude to Sharon at the SBDC and also those involved with the SBA microloan program,” she said. “They helped me accomplish my dream.”
To contact the WVSBDC call the Business AskMe! Line at 888-982-7232. For more information on loan guarantee programs visit sba.gov.