#31DaysofBiz | Geathers’ Enterprises

About the Biz

  • Company Name: Geathers’ Enterprises
  • Who we talked with: Rachel and Brian Geathers
  • Year established: 1994
  • How to Find Them: Book a flight! Visit them at Queen City Gifts and News located in the main atrium of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport between Concourse A and B.

Get to know Geathers’ Enterprises

As our #31DaysofBiz finale, we caught up with Rachel and Brian Geathers in person at the Charlotte Douglas International Aiport! Owners of multiple store locations within the airport, Rachel and Brian share how they started their flagship store, Queen City Gifts and News, a unique shop that puts a Charlotte-specific twist on the airport shopping experience. Watch the full interview!

 

#31DaysofBiz | Fresh & Bright

About the Biz

  • Company Name: Fresh & Bright
  • Who we talked with: Adriana Silva, President
  • Year established: 2006
  • How to Find Them: freshandbrightcorp.com
  • Socialize: Facebook

Get to know Fresh & Bright

We have more than 15 years experience in our field. We provide painting, cleaning, and drywall repair services in Commercial and Residential areas.

As a business owner, what resource organizations have helped you along the way, and how?

They are Charlotte Business Resources, Hispanic Contractors Association, Latin American Chamber of Commerce, Greater Charlotte Apartment Association, and TBR (my accounting firm). Without the help of these organizations, I don’t think I would not have had the success we have now. Thanks to them I have met a lot of people such as General Contractors who later became my clients. These seminars and classes have helped me gain the knowledge that I need for the daily, successful running of my company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you use contracted vendors, or do you employ all of your professionals?

We have employees, but, sometimes we also contracted vendors.

How have you been able to ensure they uphold your quality and care standards at each job site?

All my employees are highly trained and closely supervised. Our subcontractors are referred, but we also asked them for more references.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What habits do you have that contribute to being a successful business owner?

One habit that helped me a lot is to be organized with everything such as paperwork and appointments. I am always on time for my meetings, which shows respect to the other person’s time and business. I pay my credit cards on time, then, I have credit for the next project.  Spending wisely is another habit that helps me a lot with my business.

#31DaysofBiz | The Snuggling Doodle Bakery

About the Biz

Get to know The Snuggling Doodle Bakery

After staying home for a couple of years, I knew there was something missing. I loved my days full of cuddles, cul-de-sac play, swim lessons, and meeting the school bus every afternoon, but I also knew there was potential for more.

I had no intention of going back to the workplace – my kids and I had found our groove. I tossed around ideas in my head for months but nothing seemed to make sense until I woke up one night after dreaming that I was in the kitchen baking treats for our dog, Archie. I laid in bed for hours but couldn’t sleep. I finally got up and sat at our computer until the sun came up – researching recipes, feed regulations and more.

I have always loved baking for my children – making fun, extravagant treats & cupcakes for their birthdays and school bake sales. After that night, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to combine that passion with my lifetime love for animals. The Snuggling Doodle Bakery has allowed me to do that, all while still being there for my family.

What was the inspiration behind creating The Snuggling Doodle Bakery?
After deciding that I wanted to start a dog bakery, it was obvious that it should be centered around our dog, Archie. Archie is an Aussiedoodle (Australian Shepard/Poodle) who loves to snuggle – like, REALLY snuggle. He is the sweetest, most loving dog I have ever encountered and we feel so blessed to have him as a part of our family. He is the inspiration for our bakery’s name and also excels at his role of resident taste tester.

What are some of the biggest obstacles you have faced while becoming a small business owner?
The most complicated part of starting this business has been the research involved with the legal guidelines for producing/selling animal feed products. There were many rules and regulations that I was not aware of before starting this journey. After wading through all the necessary paperwork, I feel like I have a good grasp on everything and now I’m just enjoying serving our customers and coming up with new recipes for the shop.

Shipping items, especially perishable ones, seems like it may be challenging. What advice do you have for someone who’s trying to ship a product like yours?

All of our bagged treats are dehydrated, so they have a pretty long shelf life. For our more perishable items, such as our doughnuts and brownies – we always use priority mail to ensure that those items are delivered as quickly as possible.

I do think it’s important to protect the quality of your products, even if it limits your sales. For example, I do not ship any of our cakes. I know that if someone orders a cake from us, it’s for a special occasion and I want it to be perfect for them. Since I cannot be 100% positive that their cake will arrive as I hope it would, I only offer local pick-up and delivery for that type of product.

How has social media played a role in growing your business?
Social media, specifically Facebook, has been the main marketing tool for our business so far. It has allowed us to reach so many dog owners within our community. After creating a few recipes, I first reached out to the members of Charlotte Doodle Romp (a private Facebook group for local Doodle owners) to gauge interest. They have been a great community to be a part of and many of them were willing to give our brand new business a chance – and ending up loving our treats! I’m also a part of the “Mom 2 Mom” Facebook group which includes a specific sub-group solely meant for supporting local moms who provide goods and services to our community. I am able to advertise my products to thousands of local ladies that way.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring entrepreneur, what would you say?
Do your research. Everything is easier when you have all of your ducks in a row.

#31DaysofBiz | Custom Clothier

About the Biz

Get to know Custom Clothier

My name is William Wilson. I am a private custom clothier that specializes in business apparel for both men and women. I am based out of Charlotte, NC but I have clients in 14 countries on 3 different continents. Though my clients consist of celebrities, politicians and professional athletes, my target market has always been local businesspeople. I am the official clothier for the Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway and designed the jackets for the winners of the Coca-Cola 600, The All-Star Race, and the Bank of America 500.

My average suit prices range from $685 to $2500, and I have an ultra-exclusive collection that is priced in the mid five-figure range. All of my garments are handmade, with each suit taking over 70 man hours to make and each shirt taking 15.

I operate by appointment only, to provide the kind of personal service and respect our clients deserve when purchasing such a high-quality garment. I would love the opportunity to serve your custom clothing needs.

As a business owner, what resource organizations have helped you along the way, and how?

I have used a number of resources over the course of the years; including fellow business owners, friends, clients. I have also found CharlotteBusinessResources.com to be a helpful resource for networking and branding ideas and opportunities.

How did you go from Navy veteran to clothing designer? Have you always had a passion for design?

I NEVER had a passion for design. In fact, I have never taken a design course. I owned a construction company and used to wear a lot of suits. One day one of the homeowners asked me to help him with his wardrobe. I did, and he started referring me to his friends. I eventually started charging them. Then I thought to myself, “I’m telling these guys what to buy. If I can provide them for them, there may be a business in this.” So, I did some research, put a plan together, and took a chance. Fortunately, it worked!

You have some very high-profile clients including celebrities and the Charlotte Motor Speedway. How were you able to make such amazing connections?

Hard work, long hours, little rest, and a LOT of events. Basically, sweat equity. Once I started the business, I knew I needed two things: credibility and a client list. And, I needed both to have either. So I used the resources of people I already knew like AL Wallace, Mike Minter, and Mike Rucker (former Panther players) as a foundation. Then began to add to my network, one piece at a time. As I grew more as a brand, I gained more credibility. And earning the trust of high profile people and organizations became easier. Eventually, they began seeking me out. But it’s important to continue following the process. Even after you start gaining traction.

What is the best business advice you’ve ever received, and who did it come from?

The best advice I ever received came from Mike Rucker. We were having lunch at Panera Bread in Concord when I was still in the planning stage of WWC. I had, what seemed like a MILLION ideas and things I wanted to do.

He told me to slow down and focus on one thing. Get known for doing that one thing really well, and the other opportunities would present themselves at the right time and place. I now find myself giving that same advice to others. It’s definitely the best advice I’ve received and given. Because entrepreneurs tend to be creatives and creatives are ALWAYS trying to figure out a new way to do something. We are often impatient. That advice helped teach me to trust the process.

Learn more about the Custom Clothier Experience!

#31DaysofBiz | RA Signs

About the Biz

  • Company Name: RA Signs
  • Who we talked with: Roz-kareem Jackson, President
  • Year established: 2008
  • How to Find Them: rasigns.com
  • Socialize: Facebook

Get to know RA Signs

The best sign is a sign that works instantly, effortlessly, and always. Understanding, customers needs and wants while providing education and solutions. We learn about our customers by asking important questions. We provide our customers with signage that fits their budgets and brings in business. Ultimately, giving them what they want. That’s a SIGN that we are in the right business!

As a business owner, what resource organizations have helped you along the way, and how?

We got an enormous boost from Charlotte Business Inclusion and becoming a certified Small Business Enterprise really changed things for us.

You help businesses with signage at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Tell us about your experience becoming a vendor with CDIA?

It’s always good to see the work you have done around the city. Working at Charlotte Douglas Airport has given our company more to look forward to. When you are doing work amongst strong companies you are actually looked at from a different angle. We are very proud that the City of Charlotte elected us to do signage at the airport. Our work will be around for years to come.

A business is opening a brick-and-mortar location and needs signage. What are some things they should consider when deciding what type of signage will work for their business?

The visual impact, the image, and how to connect with potential customers. Most start-up businesses are not aware what it takes to draw in customers. They don’t really understand that the sign is more important than what they are selling. Very few new business owners set aside budgets for signage and advertising. We are there to educate our customers and help them to understand what to look for.


What has been the biggest lesson learned during your entrepreneurial journey, and how have you used that to grow your business?

Understanding that it’s all about the service you provide. Learning to value your clients time before their money. Knowing that it’s a choice to use me versus anyone else. Learning to give your best and treat all your clients better than the last one. Learning every day about your craft and staying innovative. That’s why attending every networking event possible is important to me. We are constantly growing.

#31DaysofBiz | 21Five Creative

About the Biz

Get to know 21Five Creative

21five Creative is a brand strategy and digital marketing agency that helps brands develop their identity and competitively market their vision to the world.

As a business owner, what resource organizations have helped you along the way, and how?

SCORE Charlotte has been one of the greatest influencers and “guiding lights” for 21five. Julie, my SCORE Mentor, has been a resource of knowledge and wisdom for me. I attribute much of our success to her help. I believe that through SCORE, I’ve been able to shift from simply being successful, to being of value, which was a personal goal of mine.

The marketing world can be pretty competitive. What made you want to start your own agency?

Initially, it was the competitiveness. I personally found it difficult to move up in a world seemingly saturated with other multi-talented, multi-skilled creatives. I wondered if there were others who faced the same issue. It was at this moment, driving to Savannah, GA with my wife for our wedding anniversary trip, that I felt compelled to start something that gave other creatives an opportunity to exercise their skills and talents in a professional environment. I believe that sometimes, the opportunities we look for are already in our own possession.

What does 21Five stand for?

“21five” (or 21:5) came from one of my favorite Bible verses: Revelation 21:5. The premise is that everything is made new. Our goal at 21five Creative is to help our clients better connect with their customers through fresh branding and digital marketing initiatives.

What habits do you have that contribute to being a successful business owner?

There are three things I do that I believe has to lead to our success:

  1. I habitually challenge ideas to bring out the greatness of each client’s vision.
  2. I continually learn new things daily (not just in marketing or design) to broaden my mental scope. I think this makes for a better dynamic when developing a marketing strategy for our clients.
  3. I keep things personable with our clients (because we have enough Google/Alexa/Siri-like businesses in the world already).

#31DaysofBiz | Nexxa Transportation

About the Biz

Get to know Nexxa Transportation

Nexxa is where expectation meets exhilaration. We don’t rent you a vehicle, we provide an experience. We do this by ensuring every aspect of your interaction with us is efficient, thoughtful, professional, and unique. Our fleet is curated to provide thrills, fun, and above all memories.

As a business owner, what resource organizations have helped you along the way, and how?

My family and friends have been a tremendous help to me, their support and belief keep me going.

My first investor who helped with the acquisition of the last two vehicles in our fleet was a blessing. Without her, I do not think we would have been able to open the doors.

I was also able to get funding from Carolinas Small Business Development Fund, which was also critical. Business loans at this stage of a company can be risky and often larger lending institutions are hesitant. So the capital was well timed and needed.

My team. From PR to marketing, to operations, to business development. These are folks are tremendous at their jobs, and deliver at every step of the way.

How did Nexxa Transportation get started?

We originally started doing chauffeured services, with the growth of Uber and Lyft, we recognized that we could not be sustainable as the only means of doing business. So we shifted to the rental market as we saw there were no real options for individuals to rent the type of vehicles we offer in the Charlotte market. I was inspired by what the companies in Miami, Vegas, and New York were doing. But, I knew Charlotte is Charlotte, and you have to understand what works here. And for Charlotte, we are just a great city that is focused on relationships, having a great time and creating memories.

So, I wanted to have a company that put the customer’s experience first. This is important to us. Secondly, we want to ensure our customers see the value in their time spent with NEXXA.


Do you own all of the vehicles, or do you work with local owners and dealers to broker the cars for rental?

We own our vehicles. We do occasionally talk to local individuals who have a unique vehicle that we think fits the NEXXA brand, and we discuss ways in which we can put their vehicle in our fleet, we continue to explore those options.

But, our current strategy is to continue to grow the fleet and own every vehicle we put in our fleet. This helps keep our rental rates affordable to our clients and ensure client’s safety.

Tell us about the experiences vs. a standard vehicle rental.

First, you would have to start with our vehicle offerings. We are the only company, to my knowledge, that you can rent a sports car, an auto cycle, and a motorcycle. So we are really unique and as we expand our fleet the offerings will always stay unique.

Second, you have to look at our online reservation system. The vehicle you reserve is the vehicles you get. We make it super easy to make your bookings. Not a lot of pages to go through and not a lot of unnecessary steps.

Third, is our internal process. We are appointment based. We truly value your time and privacy. So we do not have an open door policy when you book a reservation, you are contacted directly by us, asking very specific questions to ensure we are all on one accord. We meet you at the agreed upon time with 95% of your documents filled out, and ready to go. We love to spend time with our clients, and will if they choose to, but we think that you would rather spend time with the vehicles than us.

Fourth, is going above and beyond. As an example, our vehicles are kept in our highly secure indoor, this allows us to maintain a high level of cleanliness, but also affords us the opportunity to allow our customer’s indoor storage of their vehicles during their rental period.

Fifth is our full-service concierge team. We work with individuals to plan the perfect day or weekend. As well we work with other businesses in and around Charlotte, to help them plan employee and client engagement activities around the vehicles.

We are a full-service company, we do not like to just give you a set of keys and send you on the way, we want to make sure you have a NEXXA Experience.

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received, and who was it from?
The best advice came from my friend John. He basically told me to be fluid, and not so tied to my business plan that I do not change. We started this business with an idea, and have probably changed from the original concept 100 times. But, every change has proven to be the right change and continues to position us for great growth.

Checkout more of NEXXA’s Luxury Vehicles!

#31DaysofBiz | El Taller Smartphone Repair Shop

About the Biz

Get to know El Taller Smartphone Repair Shop

El Taller provides Level 3 iPhone repairs and specializes in microsoldering. Does your iPhone have no power, backlight, or will not charge? We can fix it! We also provide water damage treatment for data recovery using the latest microscope technique and fix the so-called “touch IC disease” on the iPhone 6+.


As a business owner, what resource organizations have helped you along the way, and how?
The Latin American Chamber of Commerce has helped by teaching me about tools for small businesses. And, other repair shops.

How did you learn to fix smartphones and electronics?
I’ve worked on electronics and computers for 20 years. Phones are computers. After soldering on big devices for 20 years, I started micro soldering two years ago.

What advice would you offer someone who wants to open a brick-and-mortar, walk-in store?
Research the field, train yourself to become the best and make sure you like what you do!

What is the best business advice you’ve ever received, and who did it come from?
Learn one new thing every day. Never stop learning. This advice came from my last boss.

#31DaysofBiz | Courageous Life Academy

About the Biz

Get to know Courageous Life Academy

Courageous Life Academy is a leadership and business development consulting firm. We prepare, position, and push leaders and organizations to create a culture and legacy of courageous leadership. We offer training, coaching, and development programs to grow individuals and their companies.

As a business owner, what resource organizations have helped you along the way, and how?
I am a firm believer and proponent of personal development and investing in the growth of myself and my company. Two such examples are the investment I made in becoming a certified, professional speaker, and coach or becoming a professional member of the National Speakers Association.

 

What was it that made you want to start a business like Courageous Life Academy?
After years of successfully climbing the corporate ladder and smashing ceilings, my 12th-grade dream kept calling. I knew I was created to do more and be a greater impact on the lives of women in corporate spaces and organizations poised and positioned for growth. From this, the Courageous Life Academy was born.

It seems like your business reputation relies a lot on your personal brand. What does it take to build a really good personal brand?
SHOW UP and BEING CONSISTENT! Building a personal brand requires being visible where your potential clients are; sharing relevant content, and identifying future trends and needs they may not be thinking about. People do business with those they know, like, and trust. Be that trusted, consistent partner who shows up!


What is the best business advice you ever received, and who did it come from?
Over the years, I have received so much great business advice, but one that rises to the top is a quote from John Maxwell:

“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.”

#31DaysofBiz | Ecomdash

About the Biz

Get to know ecomdash

ecomdash serves e-commerce entrepreneurs selling on multiple channels, such as Amazon and eBay, who seek a solution for managing their inventory. We give them the confidence to expertly operate and expand their e-commerce business.

As a business owner, what resource organizations have helped you along the way, and how?
Ventureprise was a key player in Ecomdash’s success. In addition, to the great office space and advisory services, they provided valuable connections and an innovative environment needed to grow our business.

Would you consider ecomdash a high-growth company? How do you manage swift increases in business volume and customer need?
Yes, Ecomdash is definitely a high-growth company. Our customer base has almost doubled each year since we launched in 2014. We’ve effectively navigated this swift increase by having an “all hands on deck” approach. Everyone owns their responsibilities and gives 110% every day. We are also always growing our customer support team. Hiring great people and promoting from within has helped us maintain a happy customer base the past few years.

If you could tell e-commerce entrepreneurs one thing, what would it be?
I would tell them to not stretch themselves too thin. Many new online retailers try to sell anything they can get their hands on. This makes it difficult to stay organized and have an effective marketing campaign. The best thing they can do is find a niche, become an expert, provide great content and advice about the specific niche market, and build a brand.

What is the best business advice you ever received, and who did it come from?
Some of the best advice I ever received was from one of my mentors, he said, “Don’t let success go to your head and failure go to your heart.”