How SCORE Helped: 

Five years ago, as a single mom with preteens, Laurie Alyanakian set out to start a business that had low overhead and flexible hours to allow her to spend time with her family.  With limited resources, her business had to combine her interests and hobbies with low start-up costs.  With a strong interest in fashion, Alyanakian used her limited financial resources to acquire, over time, clothing such as scarves and jewelry, which she could resell at local holiday parties.  This venture proved to be very successful.   Alyanakian then set out to explore how to expand this into a permanent venture.  She started marketing her idea of curating accessories in a thoughtful and attractive manner to salons and spas.  She found that it was a naturally great fit in targeting women looking to improve their appearance.  Alyanakian attended national fashion trade shows in order to educate herself on emerging market trends and to connect with wholesalers.

About a year into the business, Alyanakian’s bank manager recommended that she contact SCORE for help to grow and develop her business.  In 2012, she met with SCORE mentor Charles Espenlaub who encouraged her to attend some SCORE business workshops and also to think about writing a business plan.  She attended workshops in the proper use of social media marketing, brand building, business plan development as well as harnessing her community contacts.  Her SCORE mentor also recommended hiring administrative help to allow her to focus on her core business of adding more salons to her roster and to stay current with fashion trends.  With SCORE’s help, she looked at Quick Books and Xero to compare inventory management features.

Alyanakian’s products are prominently displayed at area salons and gift shops.  By rotating her products regularly and seasonally, she gives her customers an exciting change of merchandise.  She has also teamed up with some area businesses to help them promote their products.  One such collaboration involved borrowing a wedding gown from a local bridal shop and using it as part of her display.  “The best part of my business is seeing people happily wearing my merchandise,” says Alyanakian.  You can examples of her dis[plays at her web site www.squareup.com/store/embellishyourlife.

SCORE is a non-profit national organization of business volunteers dedicated to providing free counseling and educational service to small businesses. SCORE volunteers are business experts who apply their life experience and business knowledge to mentor entrepreneurs planning to start a small business, or small business owners who seek assistance in solving business issues.  To schedule a personal session with a counselor or learn about small business education programs, call Chester and Delaware County SCORE at 610-344-6910 or click here to visit us online https://chescodelcoscore.org/

 

April 7, 2017