Monthly Archives: October 2012

One year later……

Ahhh….it is that time again!

ARCH GRANTS COMPETITION 2013!

For my readers who are unfamiliar with the Arch Grants…here is a really quick run down: (20) $50K grant awards for businesses and start-ups either currently located, or willing to relocate their business to the downtown St. Louis area. It is a tough, tough competition with hundreds and hundreds of entries last year….and the AG committee is expecting the number of entries this year to grow into the thousands now that the competition is being offered worldwide. This will be Cargo Train’s 2nd year in the competition.

Last year, unfortunately, CTA did not progress far enough to win one of the grants, and that was OK. I had high hopes on winning of course, but I knew more importantly that I needed to pay close attention to the competition process that first year, and take the opportunity to strengthen Cargo Train’s foundation.

I can smile today being a last-year-loser simply because Round 1 was ultimately the event that launched the public awareness campaign for CTA, and it was the first time I had ever introduced this company to the public. This time…last year…. CTA was nothing more than all of my ideas and storefront doodles on cheap spiral-bound notebooks, and worlds away from what it is today.

Taking you back a bit….Here is the story on how I got involved with the Arch Grants.

…it was completely on accident/luck/chance/fate…..

in January 2012, I was contacted by Chris Lim, an entrepreneur based out of Los Angeles, CA, and his message to me was along the lines of, “Why are you special?” This obviously got my attention, and the first response I gave back was…. “nothing.”

Chris took my comment in stride and we began to play 20 questions after I saw that Chris was a former officer with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department; a department that my uncle had retired from as Lieutenant some years ago after 35+ years of service (Yes, I did call my uncle to make sure that Chris was who he said he was…not that I didn’t believe him, I just didn’t know him….Sorry Chris) And yes, everything checked out just fine ūüôā

Our Twitter conversation continued on. Then Chris had asked me, “What do you do for a living?” and I told him that I was currently a police dispatcher in St. Louis….,” then I paused briefly,….and for some reason I added, “…but it [dispatching] wasn’t my life’s ambition.” Chris proceeded to ask the million-dollar question of “why?”, and that opened the door for me to confess about my secret entrepreneur life that I had been hiding since high school.

Chris was intrigued and we agreed on a phone meeting, and this is when I took the opportunity of asking Chris why he thought I was “special”, and he told me that he was just curious since he saw that Tony Robbins was one of my followers on Twitter, and that is what lead him to initially contact me.

As our phone conversation continued, we went through my background and what lead me to…. just start designing this company back in high school. After hearing my story, Chris said that he wanted to help me pursue my life’s “true purpose” of pushing myself into the fashion industry somehow. I had the passion but no plan what so ever.

Chris heard information about the Arch Grants competition, and I love what he told me that day, which was in such a confident tone of voice: “We are going to get you one of those grants” It was one of the best feelings ever…..and at that moment, Cargo Train had began to SLOWLY take shape into what it where it is today.

Before the Arch Grants, I only knew that I wanted to be involved in fashion, and that I didn’t want to pursue apparel design or manufacturing (I suck at drawing & sewing) as much as I wanted to find an area where I could exploit my obsession for shopping and extreme bargain-hunting………and then..

LIGHTBULB!

Consignment Retail…BINGO!

My knowledge was vast among brand labels and designers after chasing them damn near my entire life, as well as, several more fun facts, and an OPEN MARKET OPPORTUNITY that show me this venture is more than possible to obtain with a true potential of ranking within the top 3 consignment/resale apparel companies within the Greater St. Louis area, and eventually paving the way to expand nationally

Round 1 did a lot in the initial development of this company, I can hardly begin to imagine what Round 2 will bring! If interested in learning more about the competition, here is the official Arch Grant website

():-)

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Election Debate 2012: POV from a fresh entrepreneur

OK…. so my head has been running non-stop since first setting eyes on the debate tonight. ¬†One topic that obviously affects me most is when small business is brought to the table, and more specifically, tax increases for Americans making over $250K a year. ¬†Now, I am not one to normally bring my political opinions into play (this is a rare occasion), but this election and specific topic is¬†pivotal¬†to my company’s future, as it is for many small businesses or aspiring entrepreneurs.

CURRENTLY: I am an extremely frugal mom, working in the non-profit sector making under $27K/year, no insurance, no benefits, living just above paycheck to paycheck, and always having to come up with cost-conscious and clever ways of making a dollar stretch. Some might think this calls for a pity party, but due to these types of financial hardships, I was able to successfully design this company, therefore, I don’t see myself as “unfortunate” or a “VICTIM” at all. I am an opportunist. (Turning negatives into positives)

Within the next 4 years, I DO NOT see myself still in the same financial situation that I am in today. I am building this company, making responsible consumer choices, paying off the little bit of debt remaining from college (under $3K left!  Yay!), and most importantly, investing money that I am saving into something a hell of a lot more substantial than fancy hair extensions and spray tans.    

I want to invest in more lives than just my own! Nothing would make me happier than to look someone in the eyes, and be in the position to offer them a job, and in time, turn that “job” into a career. ¬†

One other reason why I don’t fully agree on the tax increase is because I think of my friends! ¬†I have a few friends that make more than $250K, and that have worked their asses off for the majority of their lives, non-stop, to get there. No vacations, no fun time, missed family events… just to pursue their dreams and goals. ¬†These are people who came from nothing, made wise choices, followed through with them, and now, are able to build a comfortable life for themselves and their families, as well as, create jobs for others and their families.¬†

Now if you want to raise taxes on that top 1% most wealthiest list, ESPECIALLY the companies apart of that 1% that continue to outsource jobs, then by all means…..GO FOR IT!

Two sides of every story

Image

I see over Twitter a majority of the time quotes that encourage us to be ourselves, regardless of what others think, and in a perfect world, this would happen all the time and we wouldn’t need quotes telling us to do so.

This is one aspect of becoming an entrepreneur that I find to be one of the most attractive benefits: the opportunity to TRULY be yourself!  There is never just one side to a story, so when I would interview potential employees for past companies, I would get a list of all their attractive qualities and I would often ask them what they thought their areas of improvement, and most would give me a weakness tied into their work performance versus a weakness about their character/personality.

So putting¬†myself in an investor’s shoes or those of a potential financial partner, I would DEFINITELY want to know EXACTLY¬†who I am doing business with, good and bad aspects, I would want the whole story, not just the good and¬†impressive¬†parts. ¬†

So I thought I would use this opportunity to do just that…..the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly aspects of my personality, but…..at least it’s honest

¬†“Good”

  • Headstrong nature – Persistent
  • Courage to face fears and overcome them
  • Reliable and strong intuition
  • Enthusiastic
  • Energetic
  • Impeccable sense of style (big smile)
  • Creative
  • Inherently assertive
  • Good at making money (Past employer’s favorite trait)
  • Social butterfly

“Bad”

  • Stubborn
  • Impatient — This is my most¬†predominant¬†“negative” quality
  • Impulsive shopper (hence, exactly why I designed this company)
  • Spontaneous
  • Sensitive emotions, doesn’t matter which ones….they are all a bit on the sensitive side.
  • High importance on physical appearances – Some will see me as superficial
  • Strongly competitiveness that can become single-minded at times
  • Pushy (the negative side to “assertive”)
  • Gets bored easily
  • Difficult to give up and let go…this ties into the sensitive emotions and stubborn traits
  • Sarcastic sense of humor…..never malicious

OK!….so there you have it! ¬† A lot of these traits can be taken “both ways” and that all depends on each of the personal perceptions of whom ever is reading this post. ¬†Everyone will draw their own conclusions. ¬†I just remind myself that I can’t be 100% me with only 50% of the puzzle. ¬†It comes down to the simple choice of which traits we wish to represent ourselves as a whole, and those are the traits that will be put on display for others to judge, so choose wisely!

 

():-)

To Whom It May Concern:

Image

You have to take negative situations and find a way to turn them into positive solutions, and I feel that this has been accomplished by dedicating many years into designing a company that has a simple, yet powerful, mission statement — Unite first class with secondhand.

This letter is to provide you with an insight of what we do, what we plan to accomplish, our current projects and efforts, and most importantly, how we plan to become an established brand and a recognized leader within this booming industry.

We have all felt the financial crisis affect each of our lives in one way or another, including myself, regardless of: social status, financial situation, or educational background. Everyone from the struggling college student to leaders of local Fortune 500 companies; we’ve all had to take a step back to reevaluate our own unique challenges, and begin to utilize more cost-conscious decisions as consumers, as well as, business owners. This company is designed to do just that without the need to sacrifice quality, service or value to our customers, and doing so, in a cost-conscious and sustainable manner.

Cargo Train is an apparel exchange company, privately owned, that offers clients and guests to: buy, sell, trade, and consign a wide-range of new and pre-owned, designer and name-brand merchandise, such as: clothing, fashion accessories, jewelry and select interior decor items at industry competitive prices. What we do is nothing new, but HOW we plan to utilize our resources and network, will clearly set Cargo Train apart from local competitors.

If you are unfamiliar to the resale industry, these types of businesses are commonly known as “thrift” or “secondhand” stores; however, Cargo Train is designed to be much more than this common ideology, and even more, we strive to be the first resale provider of its kind offered to the residents and visitors of our target location. It would not only be a great addition to the resale industry, but more importantly, a great addition to the City of St. Louis due to its focus on community engagement, That will benefit, not only our clients and customers, but several local charities and non-profit organizations. We are a company that continues to create innovative ideas that give back to our communities and actively pursues a ‘pay it forward’ attitude.

As I continue to publicly promote this company through the means of several social media platforms, local news publications, word-of-mouth advertising, and launching an informational website, my biggest challenge is locating a strong financial partner and/or investor(s) to secure start-up capitol, and take this company to the next level in its physical and social developments.

My strategies are primarily based on direct observations and market research from a vast background working for top private retail labels, including global retail giant, Hennes and Mauritz (H&M); where I focused my time in the areas of: visual merchandising, loss prevention, customer relations, and employee growth.

The location I have chosen is based upon on-site, real-time area analysis collected over a time span of three (3) years; with a heavy focus on high volume pedestrian traffic. All aspects of the primary location offer the most idealistic conditions that will make Cargo Train a successful venture, and offer the future opportunity to aggressively expand through out the Midwest region.

I have further discovered through my research, the primary location I have selected is found to be an open market opportunity. There are currently no known competitors that specialize in apparel exchange within a 5 mile radius of where Cargo Train will be located.

Again, this venture is time sensitive, and taking advantage of the open market availability will quickly set Cargo Train’s foundation within the City of St. Louis and officially become part of a 13 billion dollar industry. I strongly urge interested persons to contact me for further information about how I plan to make this company an innovative success.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: