The Iowa Small Business Development Center at Southeastern Community College helped Stacey Rickard with start-up advice, financial projections and market research so she could start her bridal boutique.
Stacey Rickard was inspired to open a wedding dress boutique after experiencing difficulty finding a dress she liked for her own wedding. A native of Illinois, Stacey and her new husband, Aaron, loved coming to Burlington “to do stuff” when they were dating. Naturally, Stacey chose Burlington as the location for her new boutique, and the couple spent eight months renovating the building they bought on North 7th Street in Burlington.
Stacey came to the Southeastern Small Business Development Center (SBDC) during the midst of the building renovation to find out what she needed to do to start her new business. Janine Clover, regional director of the SBDC, walked Stacey though the process of setting up her business as a sole proprietorship, registering her name with the county courthouse, obtaining a sign permit for the business through the City of Burlington, setting up her federal ID, setting up sales tax with the Iowa Department of Revenue, and suggesting accounting and payroll services locally that could assist her with payroll. The SBDC also did market research for Stacey for her business plan. “The market research information helped a lot!” said Stacey.
The SBDC then worked with Stacey on financial projections for a loan for start-up inventory that Stacey was seeking from her bank. The projections gave Stacey a good idea of what her sales and operating expenses needed to be in order to take on a loan. Up to this point, only Stacey and her husband had financially invested in her business. Although the bank loan was not approved, Stacey was not discouraged and was able to borrow the remaining start-up funds from relatives.
“Business has been really good,” says Stacey after opening November 1, 2012. Princess Boutique sells wedding, prom, and bridesmaid dresses, accessories and shoes, and recently added tuxedoes from Skeffingtons. Stacey has a positive, can-do attitude, and her smile is contagious. Customers have been very pleased with their shopping experience at Princess Boutique.
Stacey hopes to grow out of their current building someday, and loves the idea of a new project. Princess Boutique employs one full-time staff and three part-time staff and the company’s sales have exceeded original sales projections. “We sold 100 prom dresses last season”, states Stacey. In addition, she is adding new vendors and dress designers that work best in her market.
Stacey praises the assistance she received, “The SBDC is a great resource, and is free! When you are starting a business, all the advice you can get at no cost is invaluable. This is a resource I will continue to use as my business grows.”
Be sure to check out all the beautiful dresses, tuxedoes, shoes and accessories that Princess Boutique offers at www.princessboutique.us.