YLNI Farmers Market – M Bar M Leather Design

#sundayshoutout To whomever owns this door… it ends up in a lot of our photo shoots. #mybag #mbarm #leather #handmade #bag #downtown #fortwayne #dtfw #atelier #details #oneofakind #dtfw #atelier #custom #street #photography #picoftheday #capture #alley #moments #models #midwest #fashion #accessories #edc A post shared by M Bar M Leather Design (@mbarmleatherdesign) on Jul 9, 2017 at 4:55am PDT Emily Brown’s passion for leather craftsmanship has led her to create quality leather bags that much of the community now owns and recognizes. Emily’s journey to success started at just ten years old, when she first started working with leather. As she continued to perfect her craft, M Bar M Leather Design was born while Emily was working at a ranch in Colorado. She was building saddles and taking on projects for the staff. It has been six years since Emily initially launched M Bar M Leather Design, and she has received support and inspiration from people at every step of the journey. This inspiration embodies her goal to create bags that the strength and style of the people who carry them. When Emily started M Bar M Leather Design, she was working another job, while pursuing her leather designing passion in her basement. However, the success of M Bar M Leather Design has allowed Emily to pursue her business full-time for the past three years. Today, she will see her customers sporting her bags out in public. Emily loves when customers get excited to see her, because they are carrying something she created, though she doesn’t “know who gets more excited – them or me.” When Emily is not with her customers or making the next bag, she spends a great deal of time with her 28 nieces and nephews and being an avid Crossfitter. Adventure is out there. The Duffel #mybag #mbarm #leather #handmade #bag #downtown #fortwayne #dtfw #details #fashion #business #edc #atelier #lifestyle #style #duffel #mensfashion #photography #picoftheday #classic #craftsmanship A post shared by M Bar M Leather Design (@mbarmleatherdesign) on Aug 10, 2017 at 5:47am PDT Over the years of being a small business owner, Emily has learned not to try to appeal to everyone, and to just be herself, doing what she does to the best of her ability. This focus has helped her value her time. While a small business owner never runs out of things to do, she has learned that some things can wait. Emily feels that she has accomplished what she set out to do, and her adventurous spirit always is looking for the next challenge to pursue. Come out to the YLNI Farmers Market this summer to check out M Bar...

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YLNI Farmers Market: The Neon Cauldron
Aug11

YLNI Farmers Market: The Neon Cauldron

Kayla Gervais has always been crafty and found enjoyment in recreating her favorite bath and body products at home. Today, The Neon Cauldron sells an entire range of imaginative products from bath bombs, bubble cookies, soap cupcakes, and much more. Kayla’s products are made with a combination of oils and butters, so your skin gets a healthy pampering when using them. The goal is to provide an enjoyable and luxurious bath experience for kids and adults alike with simple ingredients that can work with many skin types. The kids get some fizzy fun and the adults get those few precious moments of self-care. After sharing some of her homemade bath bombs with family and friends who fell in love with them, The Neon Cauldron was born. When Kayla launched in 2015, her first group of loyal supporters was her fellow babywearers called the Cupcakes. Through her involvement with this group, she tested out the products, got an endless source of new ideas, and found her most loyal customers. Another important source of support is her husband. Despite working his own full-time job, he dedicates his evenings to assisting Kayla however possible and always gives her some encouraging words. Much of her success can be attributed to word of mouth advertising from customers that spread the joy of her products to others. When Kayla is not busy with her boy or The Neon Cauldron, she is getting her geek on with books, movies, and video games, cooking, or working with her crochet hook. As a small business owner and a mother of a three year-old boy, Kayla appreciates the need to take time for yourself and refresh yourself before and after a hard day’s work. You are the most important part of a business when you are the whole business, so taking care of the other facets of your life are just as important as the business itself. Come down to the YLNI Farmers Market this summer to check out The Neon Cauldron and their fun and creative bathing products. You can visit The Neon Cauldron’s website and follow them on Facebook and...

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Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Fort Wayne Comedy Club
Aug08

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Fort Wayne Comedy Club

After performing at his first open mic night years ago, Micheal Moses fell in love with comedy. For the past 12 years, he has performed at comedy clubs throughout the U.S. and Canada. Now Moses is back in Fort Wayne with the mission to make the city laugh.   Wanting to challenge the naysayers who constantly say there is nothing to do in Fort Wayne, Moses officially opened the Fort Wayne Comedy Club in June 2017. Located at 2104 South Calhoun Street, shows play every Saturday night. Tickets for the events can be bought in advance for $15 on their website, or $20 at the door. And in case you work up an appetite while laughing, the comedy club also provides southern style dinner options.   Looking down the road, Moses’ goal is to continue to make his business a world class comedy club that brings in headline performers that compete with larger markets.   Moses spoke a little bit about entrepreneurship in Fort Wayne, here’s what he had to say.   What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana? For several years I have utilized several venues around town to promote the brand Mike Moses Presents under labels like Art & Soul of the City, Notes & Words, Link Up!, & Pro Amateur Comedy Showcase.  An opportunity opened up where I could add professional stand-up comedy to this repertoire.   What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community?  The people! Like Randi Lincoln with her networking groups, Allen Helms, Jomare and Elizabeth Mizzell, as well as the folks at Anthony Wayne Medical Associates and Summit pharmacy, just to name a few. They have, and continue to lend their time, talent and knowledge not to mention access to their resources.   What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? In a word, the naysayers. What person has helped you the most in your journey?  The owners of 2104 better known as @2104 Fort Wayne   What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs? Before Columbus discovered the New World, Leonardo Da Vinci drew up the concept of a flying machine that could carry a person, his contemporaries labeled the idea as crazy. Some 500 years later people are actually flying. My point is this, never let a naysayer tell you it can’t be done, or that’s a crazy idea.   What would be the best thing Fort Wayne could do for entrepreneurs in your opinion? As we as a city move forward with the redevelopment of the downtown area, there needs to be a better...

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Good Neighbors – Steve Franks in Fort Wayne
Aug08

Good Neighbors – Steve Franks in Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne area community good neighbor Steve Franks “Fort Wayne, a league of its own.” For over a decade, Steve Franks has been helping small businesses take their first step. He works with Start Fort Wayne coaching entrepreneurs through their LevelUP program and serves on the board for the nonprofit Believe in a Dream, working with their Believe in Your Business program that focuses on high school age entrepreneurs. He sees youth-centered entrepreneurship as vibrant and world changers. When encouraged, they will find the way. I asked how one would encourage these young entrepreneurs. “Not every venture needs to be a home run, but a lot of singles will get a lot of runs,“ Steve replied. He went on to explain that not every first venture will be your best.   I find myself continually amazed and inspired by people living in the Fort Wayne area, Steve Franks being one of them. We had an opportunity to ask Steve about who he is and what he does. How long have you been helping small businesses? I left the world of innovation consulting 13 years ago and started coaching entrepreneurs at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center. NIIC was fairly new at the time. I sought it out since it had the word “innovation” in its name – it turned out to be more about entrepreneurship than what I had come to know as innovation. Fortunately, discovering I loved working with startup entrepreneur, I started helping them think through their new ventures. Most everything I’ve done for the past three decades or so has been with smaller entrepreneurial companies.  I’ve co-founded two ventures and have been working around and developing new things.   What was the first job or one of the first jobs you had? The job that made the biggest difference in the trajectory of my life was when I resigned from the cushy office job at North American Van Lines (where I worked since high school) to go sell microcomputers on commission. Not the most fiscally prudent move, perhaps, but it worked out and gave me a foothold into something I love–which was why I took the plunge. It started me down the path of working with things I was passionate about, rather than just some financially comfortable salary job. It allowed me to hone skills that help me be a good entrepreneur coach today.   You are helping with things all over. How do you keep your energy up and prioritize to prevent burn out? What is this “prioritize” thing you speak of?  One way to not burn out is to be busy. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but you only really burn...

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YLNI Farmers Market: Knotoday
Jul28

YLNI Farmers Market: Knotoday

Cheyenne Gonzales loves to create, and she’s sharing this passion with the community. She started Knotoday earlier this year as her first business, along with the local creative group, Photanical. Cheyenne sells fiber art pieces: macrame wall hangings, plant holders, keychains, garlands, and select knitted pieces that garnish your home in style. All of her macrame pieces are 100% cotton and hand dyed. Not only can you buy her works of art, but also you can make your own! Knotoday shares the creative knowledge of fiber art making in local workshops.   Cheyenne got started selling pieces to friends and family. The inspiration for Cheyenne is her grandmother Vicki, the “Queen Crafter,” who is always willing to show Cheyenne new ideas and techniques.Word spread of her business with the help of social media, which has been a great communication tool for introducing Knotoday. While the goal is to continually grow Knotoday, she maintains a full-time job as an Insurance Specialist for Specialist Transportation. Outside of her passion of Knotoday, Cheyenne is a yogi at Pranayoga, a mom to her cat Johanna, and the biggest Jim Carrey fan you will ever meet.     The most important lesson Cheyenne has learned through starting Knotoday is to show appreciation to the people and opportunities that come your way. She is extremely grateful for to the small team who has been supporting her through this journey. After months of working on her craft, and a lifetime of developing her creativity, Cheyenne has learned that whatever you do, do it every day – be involved in your craft every single day.     Come down to the YLNI Farmers Market this summer to check out Knotoday and the unique products Cheyenne has to offer. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates and upcoming...

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Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Narwhal and the Manatee  
Jul25

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Narwhal and the Manatee  

It all started with a baby’s rash.   Megan Elizabeth Sutton was worried when her infant daughter broke out in red patches, soon realizing it was a bad case of eczema. When she began researching natural ways to make her own lotion to treat this skin condition, she didn’t realize that in a couple of years it would become a business.   Celebrating a year of business this past spring, the Narwhal and the Manatee has lined their shelves with handmade bath fizzies, soothing lotions and natural skincare products. Taking inspiration from her favorite hobby, baking, Sutton’s cupcake bath fizzies have become famous for looking so good, some have mistakenly tried to eat them!   Her team hasn’t gotten this far on their own. From the lard she sources out of Chesterton, to the beeswax and honey from New Haven, Sutton depends on regionally-sourced ingredients. Her goal this year is to focus and expand the number of small businesses that can produce the ingredients she needs.   Looking to grow her business, Sutton has also branched off into the world of private labeling. Working with many regional businesses, Sutton’s team works with a range of companies to create unique and custom skincare products that fit their customers’ needs.   Interested in visiting the Narwhal and the Manatee? Check out their shop located in the City Exchange.   Sutton 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 have lived in Northeast Indiana for 13 years and I’ve watched this community truly believe in its potential. After going to school and participating in several volunteer organizations, I realized this is my opportunity to add to the culture of this area.   What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? My biggest challenge is in recognizing my own value. It’s easy to put a price tag on a product, but I have a hard time remembering that my time, talents and efforts are also valuable.   What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community? I got my start with the NIIC (Northeast Indiana Innovation Center). Greater Fort Wayne and the Fort Wayne Enterprise Association have both been very supportive and helpful. And the City Exchange made what I do a possibility by providing space for new businesses downtown.   What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs? Go for it. I found starting a business similar to having a baby: you’re never ready. But once you get going, you figure...

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