Retail Veteran Launches Successful Boutique With Help From the SBDC

Guidance from the SBDC helped this startup retailer quintuple sales projections and launch an e-commerce site.

Prism 13After 10 years in the corporate sector managing stores for eclectic retail chains Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, Dayna Mance knew she wanted to start her own boutique catering to upscale women seeking unique apparel and accessories.

Challenges
While Mance had run stores, she had never owned a business and had no business background. She needed help with legal issues, licensing and permits, marketing, cash flow and accounting. Friends who owned a local business raved about the assistance they’d received from the Small Business Development Center hosted by Long Beach City College, so in December 2012, Mance began working with SBDC Business Advisor Bruce Sparks.

Best Advice
Sparks helped Mance define her goals and plan for her business and marketing, obtain the necessary licenses and permits to open for business, and negotiate all the legalities involved in hiring employees. He also taught her to use QuickBooks for accounting and showed her how to use financial statements to analyze her business’ progress.

Client Impact
Since opening for business in April 2013, Prism Boutique has more than exceeded Mance’s expectations. By December, sales had surpassed her initial projections fivefold. Mance now has one full-time and one part-time employee. Immediate goals include getting all of the store’s inventory online (currently about 35 percent is sold online), continuing to attract customers and celebrating her business’s first anniversary in April—the same month Mance is expecting a baby.
“A lot has happened really fast,” she says. “Bruce helped me get over that jumping-off point of leaving a good corporate job with great benefits to start a business. It was scary, but he helped me with so much.”

Prism 1