Careers

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Full Circle Wellness

Posted by on June 20, 2017 | 0 comments

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Full Circle Wellness

What is the one commonality we have in our daily lives? Stress. In 2007, Vicki Eber began her career in massage therapy; thus creating Full Circle Wellness. As a certified yoga instructor and receiving a Wellness Coach certification from Mayo Clinic, Eber works with individuals and corporations to build personal and professional stress-free lives. Creating specific wellness plans for her clients, Eber is helping people make small lifestyle changes to manage their stress and incorporate in any of the seven aspects of wellness they may be missing because stress has taken over. Though her journey has been long, she is now looking to digitize her business into podcasts and webinars to better reach a national audience. Eber spoke a little bit about entrepreneurship in Fort Wayne, here’s what she had to say.   What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana? I opened Full Circle Wellness in 2007 after getting tired of making notes of what I would do to improve the places I worked for. I knew I was going to be staying here, and it wasn’t going to be easy, but I took the opportunity to make a leap when my place of work was closing. I know I’m meant to be an entrepreneur now that I’ve been doing it for a little over a decade!   What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? Always being a few years ahead of what my clientele may be prepared for, and trusting it will be a success. Fear and doubt is always a struggle of an entrepreneur and I’ve been putting faith in myself as a standard practice since the beginning, even when fear and doubt start creeping in.   What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community? I am connected to a women’s entrepreneur group, Own Your Success. They are such a wonderful support system, give great advice, and inspire me every day with what all they do. Also, my clients and students. They inspire me each time I connect with them. They are why I do what I do, which helps me to continue thriving. I am constantly reminded why I do what I do. If I lost that, I wouldn’t be thriving.   What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs? Scrape your knees, fall down, but get back up! Those are the best moments to learn and grow from. Never cave under doubt and fear! The scariest moments are going to be the best decisions you’ve ever made because you took a chance. Lastly, ask for help! Invest in a coach, hire someone to do your web design or social media, or ask a friend for a hand in painting your space. Help doesn’t make you weak, it helps you gain strength and energy to give everything you’ve got towards your passion.   What person has helped you the most in your journey? My Executive Coach, Michelle Gladieux. She is my cheerleader and my person I can go to when I need to be held accountable for getting the major stuff done for business growth. I couldn’t be more appreciative of the positive role she has played in my journey, all the way to today.   What would be...

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Entrepreneurship Spotlight: 3B Apps

Posted by on June 13, 2017 | 0 comments

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: 3B Apps

If you are looking for motivation this week, look no further than Mitchell Skees and his two brothers, Nathan and Connor Skees. Founding 3B Apps in 2015, their first job was creating a mobile app for Fortune 500 company, Aramark – oh and did we mention the three boys were just 15 and 13 years old at the time? Fast forward two years. In between juggling high school homework, the team has produced a SaaS business model by building and maintaining customized mobile ordering applications for restaurants. With a client list that boasts many of the region’s top restaurants, 3B’s goal is to give small to medium sized restaurants the technology that matches their large chain competitors, without the large price tag.   What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana? We grew up in an entrepreneurial household and had that business spirit so to speak, plus we loved the flexibility that it offers. Ever since the introduction of the App Store we’ve been fascinated with programming. A couple of years ago while working on some smaller projects, we asked ourselves if we could turn this hobby into a business. Looking at a number of restaurants Fort Wayne has, we decided to launch our apps to help local restaurants because they were so underserved in the technology sector.   What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? Just getting the app built and making sure it was ready to be in the real world took a lot of work. My brother Connor, who heads up technology for 3B Apps, is entirely self-taught in his programming skills, so there was definitely a learning curve. Something that we’re still working to overcome is balancing school and work. The fact that we’re homeschooled gives a lot of flexibility, but it’s still a challenge nonetheless.   What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community? We’re currently involved in the Student Venture Lab program at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (NIIC). They’ve been able to help connect us to who we need to talk to, give us coaching, as well as provide office space for 3B Apps. There’s more of a support network here (in Fort Wayne) than people realize.   What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs? Finding a strong set of mentors and people who are ahead of you in their careers is crucial, as well as focusing on the one thing that is the most important to your business. For us right now, that’s sales. Focusing on that drives all other areas of our business, whether that be adding new features to the app or highlighting things we need to change.   What person has helped you the most in your journey? I would say my father. He has been a business owner here in Fort Wayne for the majority of my life, so growing up, we would not only constantly talk about business (and do now more than ever) but also get firsthand experience. We’re really grateful for that.   What would be the best thing Fort Wayne could do for entrepreneurs in your opinion? Co-working spaces are something I really enjoy because they provide opportunities for us to meet fellow entrepreneurs, discuss new ideas, and...

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Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Danielle Stoller

Posted by on May 30, 2017 | Comments Off on Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Danielle Stoller

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Danielle Stoller

For this week’s entrepreneurship spotlight, we caught up with recent 1 Million Cups’ presenter Danielle Stoller, the owner of Emerald Crane, to chat about her new business. After graduating from college in 2014, Stoller moved to Chicago and started sending out hundreds of copies of her resume. After testing out dozens of versions, she was left with no call backs for even the most basic of jobs. This moment led Stoller to a career in the world of recruiting and hiring. After moving to Fort Wayne to be closer to family, Stoller launched her online-based resume and career consulting company, Emerald Crane, earlier this year. The online business allows her to connect with clients of every stature across the nation as they begin their steps towards their career goals. What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana? I decided to open a business in Fort Wayne because, essentially, it’s home. Stepping into entrepreneurship is in some ways bold and scary, and doing it where I have a lot of social support has been instrumental to staying positive as well as foundational to achieving visibility. You may have a great idea or great product. You may be a great person with a lot to offer. But I’ve found that in so many ways, people are the gatekeepers of where and how far you’ll go. For me, Fort Wayne has proven to be a place where people are more willing to lend an ear and give a supporting hand up where they can. What resource in the community has helped you thrive in it? I honestly feel that the interconnectedness and small-city feel has been so key in Fort Wayne. Yet at the same time, it seems the time is ripe for building and investing in entrepreneurs. Something is happening here. Between the development of the downtown area over the last few years, newer real estate development, implementation of things like co-working spaces, and an intentional push for entrepreneurial growth coming from multiple sources, Fort Wayne is embracing a larger city mindset. What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? I think my biggest challenge so far has been to get out of ‘fear’ or security mindset–and stay out. It’s so easy to give up on myself before I ever even really attempt anything in the morning. I’m continually plagued by the fear that it would be better for me to go back to work full-time. The belief part people talk about is no easy thing for me. What person has helped you the most in your journey? It’s so impossible to identify a single person who has helped me the most, and I consider myself to be so fortunate to say that. Along the way, there have been many, many, many helping hands and listening ears. What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs? The advice I would have for new entrepreneurs would be, you might feel very alone and in some ways you are, but no matter how alone you feel you’re never as alone as you think you are. Don’t let yourself get out of the daily habit of asking, “What’s the next step?” and if you don’t know, don’t let yourself go too long before you...

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Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Caty Holm

Posted by on April 18, 2017 | Comments Off on Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Caty Holm

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Caty Holm

This entrepreneur spotlight highlights Caty Holm and The Brandon Foundation, an organization that provides support for youth. Students are paired with mentors who help them academically and emotionally, meeting twice a week throughout the school year. The Brandon Foundation’s mission and vision is incredible, and the way that Caty and the mentors believe in the kiddos and help them overcome life’s hardships in order to reach their full potential is inspiring. I believe that investing in our youth is the best thing we can do to continue to make Fort Wayne a great place to live. Caty had a wonderful perspective on startups, collaboration, and following your passion. Take a look at her story, and take some of her sound advice while you pursue your dreams. What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana?  After teaching in the school system for 10 years I noticed that students would come into my classroom at 8 years of age, full of hope that they would become doctors, teachers, etc. I would follow up with those same students years later to find that their dreams were watered down versions of what they used to be. Why was that?  We started to examine the gaps and disparities that were present that kept students from achieving their goals and came up with a program to fill those gaps.  We believe that all students have a gift and destiny to fulfill. At the Brandon Foundation, we strive to help students realize their full potential while providing the academic and social support that they need throughout the years to see their dreams come to pass. What resource in the community has helped you thrive? Indiana Youth Institute was a crucial piece of our growth and development as a nonprofit.  They linked us up with a consultant group, Michael Burns, who has been instrumental in helping our organization with strategic planning and mentor and board training. This resource has been invaluable as they have helped us to be intentional about our goals and metrics and still remain true to our vision and mission. What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? Our biggest challenge has been applying for grants and receiving the money that could allow us to pay employees such as an Executive Director, Staff Therapists and other mentor support staff that could help us develop our program into something that could impact a greater number of children. What person has helped you the most in your journey? My dad, also known at The Brandon Foundation as “Mr. Chuck.” Five years ago when this program was just a vision on my heart I told him, “Dad, I’m going to do this thing and I know it sounds crazy, but I think it’s possible.”  Instead of telling me all of the reasons why it wasn’t fathomable or list the obstacles, he said, “Let’s do it!”  Ever since that day, he has been my greatest supporter. He is a mentor to one of our students, has served on the board of directors, and shows up to every service event. He believed in me and so I believed in me, too.  What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs? Surround yourself with a core group of people who believe in your mission. These people will...

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Entrepreneurship Spotlight — Mike Rowland

Posted by on April 4, 2017 | Comments Off on Entrepreneurship Spotlight — Mike Rowland

Entrepreneurship Spotlight — Mike Rowland

We’re back with another Entrepreneurship Spotlight, this time featuring Mike Rowland of Animal Training and Development. Mike has been training dogs in Fort Wayne for over 25 years, and it’s been so fun getting some insight into being an entrepreneur from someone who’s been doing it for years! He definitely has some great perspective for all you future Fort Wayne business owners. His business has evolved from focusing on puppy classes and simple behavior issues, to training service dogs for veterans with PTSD (although he still does puppy classes and potty training). He also now holds seminars and trains future dog trainers. Mike helped my golden retriever and I accomplish our goal of being a therapy team — my dog passed his therapy certification with flying colors! Animal Training and Development is a wonderful asset in our community, check it out! What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana? I recognized the need for professional dog trainers in the Fort Wayne area.  There were only a few options back in 1986 and many people were turning their dogs into Animal Care & Control due to relatively common and simple behavior issues like housetraining, jumping, barking, digging and chewing.  I took part in a “Animal Hotline” offered through Animal Care & Control once a week and fielded over twenty calls each day from people that were desperate for help.  It was very rewarding for me as an entrepreneur to take those calls and meet the needs of the callers.  Even though I was doing it for free, I knew the word would spread that people were getting help and that if it worked for them, more people would call.  Within a few weeks, there were more calls to the hotline than I could manage and my business phone began to ring.  It’s been ringing ever since. What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community? Animal Care & Control, Allen County SPCA, local dog rescue groups and local Veterinarians.  All of these safe havens for animals were great places for me to grow as a professional and give back to those that give so much. What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? It takes time and effort to be successful and even more so if you have no money for marketing.  I started with zero investment capital and only passion and dogged determination kept me going through the lean years.  Looking back, those were some of the best days.  Living simply and enjoying what I was doing, knowing I could help people train and enjoy their dogs; it didn’t seem like work at all.  The sense of accomplishment and freedom to do things the way I wanted were reward enough to keep me going. What person has helped you the most in your journey? Every client that found help and told one or two friends.  To this day “word of mouth” proves to be good advertising. What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs? First, determine what it is you are passionate about, then figure out how to make a living doing it.  If you can make a living doing what you are passionate about, you will never have to work a day in your...

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The HEDGE: Julie Wall Interview

Posted by on March 15, 2017 | Comments Off on The HEDGE: Julie Wall Interview

The HEDGE: Julie Wall Interview

I have been a fan of Julie Wall, 31, for years now. She was born and raised in Fort Wayne and is the embodiment of a strong individual that is kind, direct, and a true believer in the entrepreneurial spirit. She started her own business, The HEDGE, in 2013. This place is where she has created a solid reputation with locals while feeding her creative spirit. I stopped by her new location at 1016 Broadway in downtown Fort Wayne (open from 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Tuesday – Saturday) to chat and see how the new location is treating her. She spent a great deal of time rehabbing the building, and I was eager to see the new space.   I asked her why she selected downtown, and she told me that “If I was ever going to do it, the time was now.” She went on to talk about the new energy happening in our urban core. “The timing is right. It’s so great being downtown. I love seeing people out and about for leisurely purposes. Being open on Saturdays for the hustle and bustle is fun. People are on the streets with their Shop Small bags as compared to five years ago when it was a ghost town down here.”   She offers a wide range of services including custom printing, design, foiling, letterpress, debossing, edge painting, invitations, calligraphy, event signage, engraving, sublimation, fine art, murals, curation, workshops, printing demos, creative consulting, and more. She is heavily involved in the process from beginning to end with her clients and customers. She has been active in everything from weddings and parties to funerals and fundraisers. “People come in with an idea and we figure it out together,” Julie told me with enthusiasm.   When I asked her why she does this, she didn’t hesitate with her answer. “I’ve grown up in a small family business, so I knew I would own my own business someday, too. It’s in my blood. It allows me to be creative every single day. It gives me the chance to disconnect from my own art in a good way, too. Owning your own business is empowering, but being self-employed really never ends. There is only so much time in a day.”   Check out the spring workshops at The HEDGE on the website. Join them on March 25 from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. for an open house printing workshop, and an art opening with new work by Daniel Dienelt and Julie. There will be PBR on the house, and delicious cupcakes from Zinnia’s Bakehouse. Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter so you don’t miss any updates!...

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Northeast Indiana ties to Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery

Posted by on November 11, 2016 | Comments Off on Northeast Indiana ties to Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery

Northeast Indiana ties to Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery

Nick Ladig, a Northeast Indiana native, is the Vice President of Sales for Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery out of Indianapolis.  Using his B.S. in Entrepreneurial Management from Ball State, he got his start in craft beer and now sells artisan spirits.  He answered some questions about Hotel Tango, its connection to Northeast Indiana, and Fletcher the Cat.  Full disclosure: Nick is the author’s (less cool, but way more interesting) brother.   So, what’s the story behind Hotel Tango? Hotel Tango (military call letters for “H” and “T”) started with Travis (“T”) Barnes, who grew up in Noble County, north of Fort Wayne.  After 9/11, he enlisted in the Marines and served 3 tours as a special forces Recon Marine in Iraq.  Upon returning to civilian life, he met his wife Hillary (“H”), graduated from law school, and started distilling as a hobby.  Fast forward to September 2014, and Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery opened in Indianapolis.  The distillery products are named and branded with a military theme to pay homage to the founder’s military roots.   I hear a tasting room might be opening in Ft. Wayne – confirm or deny? I can neither confirm nor deny.  I will say that our Indy location has been wildly successful and we would love the opportunity to recreate this in new locations.  Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana will always hold a special place in the hearts of Hotel Tango, since that’s where Travis spent his formative years.  BUT, you can find our products now at assorted local restaurants and bars and most of the local liquor stores in and around the area.   Ft. Wayne now has a distillery  – Three Rivers Distillery.  Are you guys competitors or friends? I would definitely say we are and will remain friends in the industry.  The guys from TRD came down to Hotel Tango a while back to meet the founders.  For craft spirits right now, it is very much a “rising tide lifts all ships” mentality.   Why do you think that small batch distilleries are growing in popularity? I think it is because many Americans are trending towards local and authentic products.  I equate it with when you get tomatoes from a neighbor’s garden – they just taste better because they’re as fresh as can be and you know where they came from.   The story is cool, but how’s the product? It’s really [expletive] delicious.  All kidding aside, it has been well received by bars, restaurants, and retailers in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois.  Our gin has become the top seller, creating the most buzz, but the vodka and ‘cellos are really unique and also selling well.  It seems that once we get someone to try the lineup, they find one they are really excited about.   You’re a Certified Cicerone (one of only 26 in the state and the only on in Northeast Indiana) which is to beer what a sommelier is to wine.  How does tasting beer compare to tasting cocktails and spirits? Thanks for noticing.  I think the main difference is in the layers of flavors.  When tasting beer, it is often much more complex due to the array of ingredients that go into it.  Spirits, on the other hand, are so delicate and precise.  Many are made with...

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The Yummi Bunni Is Hopping Onto Fort Wayne’s Food Scene

Posted by on November 1, 2016 | Comments Off on The Yummi Bunni Is Hopping Onto Fort Wayne’s Food Scene

The Yummi Bunni Is Hopping Onto Fort Wayne’s Food Scene

A few months ago The Yummi Bunni posted its very first Instagram post – a logo with a hashtag #dtfw (downtown Fort Wayne) and started tantalizing us with pictures of delectable doughnuts, colorful ice cream, and reminders to “Follow the Bunni”. Well follow “the Bunni” I did, to get the inside scoop with owner Makenna Click. Makenna and her husband Nate love traveling and eating food, which is how the initial idea came for The Yummi Bunni. Nate is a tattoo artist and owns his own shop and Makenna went to school for interior design. “I always took jobs to pay the bills or get good insurance since Nate had his own business, but I wanted the freedom to be able to do something I was passionate about,” She explains earnestly. “We love Southern California and go at least two times a year. They have so many creative food options with dessert shops every square mile.” It was here while on a traveling excursion last November where they came up with the name and concept by brainstorming with local Southern Californians in the food business. “Imagine a freshly made, chunky, deep-fried doughnut. This is the quintessential all-American doughnut. Slice it in half. Put ice cream, not just any ice cream – the best frickin’ Moose Tracks you’ve had in your life, in between the slices and add your toppings,” Makenna said. This, my friends, is the Yummi Bun, which is the signature dessert served at The Yummi Bunni. Served in a handheld wrapper so you can walk around devouring your ultimate Oreo ice cream served between glazed doughnut halves with Rice Krispies on top. This is truly the ultimate ice cream sandwich. Makenna knew that having an ice cream-based business in the Midwest meant that it had to be absolutely phenomenal to get people to come year-round and the location was key. “I worked at an ice cream place in high school, and I want this place to be known for the quality of its ice cream,” Makenna said. “I wanted that farm to table concept. I also like weird flavors!” Upon undertaking some extensive research, involving many taste tests (it was torture, I’m sure), Makenna found a mom and pop ice cream distributor in Wisconsin that has been family owned and operated since the ’60s and checked all the boxes. They had weird flavors (beet, green tea, lavender, black licorice, and bourbon-infused coffee to name a few of their 100 choices) and their quality was considered “super-premium” in the world of ice cream. This means the ice cream is made in a ratio of one part air to three parts cream and contains at least 14% butter fat. The result is a creamy texture with full-bodied flavors. “I looked at making the ice cream in-house, but I prefer to get the best quality, and I mean, where else makes the best ice cream than the dairy capital of the world?” Makenna said. ” The ingredients are 80% natural. I [took a road trip] to meet the cows and they aren’t just happy, they are very happy. They are grass-fed, have no hormones injected into them… these are happy, quality cows.” The doughnut part of the equation will be sourced by Fort Wayne’s very own Tom’s Donuts, which has been locally owned and operated...

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Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Start Fort Wayne opens Atrium

Posted by on October 20, 2016 | Comments Off on Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Start Fort Wayne opens Atrium

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Start Fort Wayne opens Atrium

In January 2016 we profiled Start Fort Wayne in a feature piece after they announced the construction of the new Atrium coworking space for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and other workers. This week the doors finally opened at 111 W. Berry Street in downtown Fort Wayne. Check out our photo gallery below for a look at the space before and during their open house event on Thursday night. This slideshow requires JavaScript. For more information on Atrium, please visit the Start Fort Wayne website at startfortwayne.com/atrium or call the front desk at (260) 969-9393. Related post: Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Start Fort Wayne introduces...

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Entrepreneurship Spotlight: RESPECT360

Posted by on October 7, 2016 | Comments Off on Entrepreneurship Spotlight: RESPECT360

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: RESPECT360

I’m not that far away from my teenage years. I remember what it was like. I remember trying to navigate the changing world, sometimes feeling lonely, unsure of myself, and always feeling bombarded with pressure to fit in with my peers. Let’s be honest, once we are out of that phase of our lives, very few of us would jump at the chance to go back. Those years were hard. When I learned about RESPECT360 and the powerful things they are doing to help teens navigate those hard-but-important-years, I thought it was incredible. I think you’ll agree. That’s why today we are speaking with Amy Hanna, co-founder of RESPECT360, a local organization that exists to encourage teens to have a healthy respect for the self and a healthy respect for others. They do this by going into area middle and high schools and educating students on things like healthy self-image, what it means to know who they are, and cultivating healthy relationships. I think the value in their presentations is that they are real with their students. They are open and honest, and (of course) respectful. Students respond to that, and often open up to the presenters in a way they haven’t opened up to anyone else. RESPECT360 also offers Parent Empowerment sessions, teaching parents how to understand different things their teenagers are dealing with, and giving them tools to help them deal with hard things in their teens’ lives. RESPECT360 is an awesome organization doing wonderful things. The impact they are having on the youth in Fort Wayne isn’t something to shrug off. Amy Hanna has spent her life working with youth, but founding and expanding a non-profit organization isn’t any easier than founding and expanding a small, for-profit organization. What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana? One of the most common complaints that we hear parents and teachers say about teens is that they lack respect. But somehow, the idea of respect seems to have been completely forgotten in today’s entire culture. We at RESPECT360 seek to change the perspective of respect from being something that is set aside to something that is applied.  We do this by first helping students to understand that they are extremely valuable and need to respect themselves and their bodies.  Then we teach them how to respect others, and finally we teach them the importance of being respected by others.  Ultimately our goal is that students will learn that respect has the power to change their lives for the better. Respectful teens make respectful adults, and in turn create a respectful community.  It’s the RESPECT360 way: Respect yourself. Respect others. Respect all.  What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community? Because we are a non-profit, we rely upon grants, fundraisers, corporate sponsors, and personal donations.  We could not do what we do without the support of people in the community who believe in what we do and desire to make a positive difference in the lives of thousands of area teens. What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? As with starting any business, especially a non-profit, there are learning curves. We came into this business with high expectations and a blinded view that it would be easy. We have since learned...

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