Good Neighbors – Andie Hines
Jan16

Good Neighbors – Andie Hines

Andie Hines – Supporting Women Entrepreneurs, Supporting Fort Wayne “The number one thing that makes businesses thrive is a strong peer community.” In Fort Wayne, there is an entire network of women entrepreneurs who are killin’ it in their field and making invaluable contributions to our community. Andie Hines is one of those people—she started Red Tree Pro in 2014 as a print brokerage, but soon realized that she had much more to offer her clients. Now, Red Tree Pro provides services in event planning, brand development, and marketing consulting. Her client list includes a wide range of organizations and businesses, including Tolon, University of Saint Francis, and Berne Apparel, to name a few. On top of this, Andie is the founder of Own Your Success, a non-profit dedicated to empowering and supporting female entrepreneurs in the area. Recently, I had an opportunity to sit down with Andie to talk about her journey through entrepreneurship in Fort Wayne, and her contributions to the community through both her business and non-profit. What were some of the first jobs you had that led you to start Red Tree? I sold paper for the first 10 years of my career, very much like in “The Office.” My job was to work with graphic designers in the community to help them find the best paper for their project, more of the fine art aspect of paper. That was a sales and marketing role—I did that for ten years and I loved it. Part of the sales aspect was that I would do ‘Paper’ lunches and invite graphic designers in the community to come learn about new products or new print techniques. That was really the launch into all of this. I was on the board for the Advertising Federation for around eight years and did programming most of that time. I planned the ADDY awards two years in a row and was president for two terms in a row. So, I was really active in that and that was all sales, marketing, and events. I worked for a couple ad agencies, but in early 2014 I found out I had cervical cancer. That was a big wake-up call that I didn’t want to keep doing what I was doing. As soon as I was well I wanted to start my own company. When I started, I was just a print broker, but I quickly found that my clients wanted more from me and just continued to shift from that. Now, Red Tree is essentially a full-service marketing firm, plus events. Tell me about your non-profit—how did it come to fruition? About six months...

Read More
Pasjion Daniels, Force Community – Entrepreneurship Spotlight
Aug03

Pasjion Daniels, Force Community – Entrepreneurship Spotlight

The “Living Fort Wayne Entrepreneurship Spotlight” series returns today with a spotlight on a unique boutique public relations agency. Pasjion Daniels, owner of Force Community, answered our small business questionnaire recently. Ms. Daniels operates her business from the Atrium co-working space in downtown Fort Wayne where she also serves as supervisor Here’s what she had to say about her journey as an entrepreneur in northeast Indiana. What is Force Community? Force Community is a boutique PR agency that focuses’ on community engagement, and event planning and designing. Force is owned by Pasjion Daniels, who desires to host and bring “un ordinary” events to Fort Wayne through Force Community. It all started with the “When Life Hands You Lemons Brunch” event dedicated to creatives and bloggers. The brunch gave them skills to get over sore spots in business, and provided a safe place to network. From there, Daniels took her desire for planning, designing, and career in PR to the next level. Force Community was birthed. Feel free to follow them on Instagram & Facebook at : @forcecommunity What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne? The vision that I had for my business was something that Fort Wayne lacked. I was tired of having to go to Indianapolis, Chicago, or Ohio to attend trendy and amazing events. Fort Wayne is growing, and there was no greater place to launch. What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community? The Atrium! The Atrium is a coworking space downtown which has offered me the greatest connections and a greater network. It’s truly all about your network and the Atrium is the best place to grow in that area. Not to mention, I get to work a cool 9-5 there as well. 🙂 What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? Being a one-woman-show has so far been the biggest challenge. I am the content creator, creative director, accountant, social media manager, etc. It takes time, but it all gets done. What person has helped you the most in your journey? I would hands down have to say that Jesus himself has helped me the most on this journey. This journey of being an entrepreneur is no easy thing at all and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. When I’m overwhelmed or don’t have the knowledge in an area, I’m always free to go to him. What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs? The advice I would give new entrepreneurs is to take the vision and run with it. Everyone doesn’t have to believe in it, but if...

Read More
Madison Conn, Conntempo Boutique – Entrepreneurship Spotlight
Apr02

Madison Conn, Conntempo Boutique – Entrepreneurship Spotlight

Madison Conn is this week’s featured entrepreneur in our spotlight series. Conn is the owner of Conntempo Boutique, an online women’s boutique clothing store based right here in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Conn launched Conntempo Boutique in 2016 and the business has become a family activity with her husband Brian and young son Morgan helping her along on her entrepreneurship journey. What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne? Fort Wayne is an amazing community. Supporting local businesses is important to me as a resident and something I strive to do no matter if I’m buying carpet, a gift for a friend or a new outfit. I have many friends in the community that are like me – busy career women that need the convenience of online shopping but absolutely love the boutique experience. Having both of these options in a boutique that is local to Fort Wayne and that offers free shipping – that was on my wish list and that is what we offer at Conntempo Boutique. What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community? I have found that other local entrepreneurs here in Fort Wayne have been incredibly helpful. I’ve walked in to many locally-owned stores and have found the owners and managers always willing to talk, share their experiences, etc. The Fort Wayne community really wants others to succeed and that has been instrumental in helping me grow and learn as an entrepreneur. I also think the power of Facebook is helpful! When local residents find something that is based in Fort Wayne, they are always so willing to try something new or to lend their support. I love how local residents support local businesses! What person has helped you the most in your journey? My husband and my son have helped me the most. When I decided to begin this adventure, it was with their backing 100%. I already had a demanding full-time job, so to add opening and running a business was just taking a little more time away from the family. They have been so understanding of this dream of mine and lend their support with many tasks – it truly is a family business! What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs? Research, research, research! Starting your own business is daunting, but you can limit how overwhelmed you feel by researching other successful businesses first – get a feel for why they are successful and then apply what makes sense to your business. I spent six months doing significant research before we officially opened and launched and I never regretted one single second...

Read More
Envirose LLC – Entrepreneurship Spotlight
Mar26

Envirose LLC – Entrepreneurship Spotlight

In this week’s “Entrepreneurship Spotlight,” we spotlight Jenna Biggins and Envirose LLC. Environmental health and safety is an important aspect for preparing your business for long-term success. Envirose LLC is a new local environmental health and safety consulting firm focusing on that. Envirose partners with clients to prevent occupational accidents, illnesses and harmful environmental releases while avoiding costly citations and unnecessary exposure. What made you decide to open a business in Northeast Indiana? My business partner Stephanie Phillips and I have lived and worked in Northeast Indiana our whole lives and saw an amazing opportunity to take our skills and training and apply it to not just one company but to many. We can see Fort Wayne beginning to grow and we want to be sure that the new company’s that establishing themselves here are keeping their employees and the environment safe. What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community? The best resource that has helped us thrive is the local entrepreneurial community and the different organizations that help small businesses get on their feet. 1 Million Cups Fort Wayne, Start Fort Wayne to name a couple. It opened our eyes to see that there are people who support us and want to see us succeed. What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? I think one of the biggest challenges for any small business is getting your name out there. If people hear about you, talk about you, eventually the right person will take notice and contact you. We had to make sure that right person was taking notice. From cold calls to social media posts, we are trying to stay on top of getting our name out there. What people have helped you the most in your journey? Honestly, my business partner, Stephanie has helped me the most in our journey together. It was months and months of preparation, attorney and tax meetings, website development, everything you need to have established before you are “open for business”. On the long days where it seemed like there was too much to do with no end in sight, she was there to get me motivated again and reminded me why we’re doing this! What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs? Don’t think you can’t be the one to do it. If you have an idea for a business and really see that as your passion, research it, study it, and then go for it! It does take a lot of work to get a business set up but remember that drive and that passion for what you...

Read More
Proper Pastry – Entrepreneurship Spotlight
Feb05

Proper Pastry – Entrepreneurship Spotlight

In this week’s “Entrepreneurship Spotlight,” we are serving up something sweet as we catch up with Anna Roudebush of Proper Pastry. This gourmet bakery is located in Roanoke – just a short drive from southwest Fort Wayne. Roudebush (or “Chef Anna”) is a classically-trained chef who specializes in all-natural wedding cakes, all occasion cakes, macarons, artisan breads and other handcrafted pastries. After receiving a degree in culinary arts and food service management in 2004, Chef Anna worked as a pastry chef at a variety of locations before returning to Fort Wayne in 2014 to begin her journey as a culinary entrepreneur. What made you decide to open a business in Northeast Indiana? I started my business in Northeast Indiana because this is my home and where my family is. I wanted to be close and still pursue my dream. A post shared by Proper Pastry (@properpastry) on Jan 8, 2018 at 6:45am PST What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community? Media – getting a press release by the [Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center] from IPFW. I also had a small segment on [WANE NewsChannel 15] last year. That brought me a considerable amount of business. A post shared by Proper Pastry (@properpastry) on Feb 24, 2017 at 5:50am PST What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? It has been challenging to run my shop and still have time to network with other businesses and marketing. Also, buying large equipment and figuring out how to just get it into my pastry shop. No one teaches you that at culinary school. A post shared by Proper Pastry (@properpastry) on Jul 9, 2016 at 2:37pm PDT What people have helped you the most in your journey? Mike and Maureen Catalogna from Catablu restaurant. I started my business in 2014 and did not have a kitchen to work in yet. I approached them to sell them pastries and they were generous enough to let me borrow their kitchen during off hours at a very low cost until I could find my own space to work out of. We still continue to do business together. A post shared by Proper Pastry (@properpastry) on Jun 13, 2016 at 8:07am PDT What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs? Get out there and tell everyone you meet about your dream. Find other entrepreneurs who have been successful and try to get some advice. You also have to ask yourself what you are willing to sacrifice because it will take up your whole life until you can make it. You really have...

Read More
Bravas – Entrepreneurship Spotlight
Nov29

Bravas – Entrepreneurship Spotlight

From a food cart to a food truck to a brick and mortar location serving up hot dogs, burgers and more, Bo Gonzalez and Bravas has experienced impressive growth in the Fort Wayne community since 2011. We caught up with one of the city’s most successful young restaurateurs in today’s entrepreneurship spotlight. What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne? I think being born and raised here has a lot to do with it. When I started Bravas back in 2011 there was a lack of local food trucks/restaurants ran by local entrepreneurs so that was also a big part of the motivation to open in Fort Wayne – tons of opportunity. What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community? I would have to say the other small business owners in the city. There’s a great community of local entrepreneurs that have been super helpful. Getting to talk to another person about real life business challenges/successes has been huge for my own success. What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? Growth. We have grown pretty quickly over the last five-six years and that brings about so many challenges like staffing, sourcing more ingredients, investing company capital, training, etc. What person has helped you the most in your journey? This is hard because so many people have helped myself and Bravas get to where we are. If I have to pick it’s gotta be Mom and Dad. They were on board from the beginning and have continued to support us in so many ways. My mom even named the company. What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs? Do work that makes you feel good everyday. You’re going to work insane hours so love what you do. Take breaks when needed and take care of yourself mentally and physically. Great work demands a lot. What would be the best thing Fort Wayne could do for entrepreneurs in your opinion? This is hard because I feel Fort Wayne is actually pretty great for entrepreneurs. Maybe some sort of incentive for local options as opposed to chain, out of state options. For example if a grocery store wanted to open downtown, open it up to a local entrepreneur first before getting bids from larger chains.   For more information on Bravas, go to their website. Browse our website for a complete listing of past “Entrepreneurship Spotlights.” If you are an entrepreneur in the area who would like to share your story like today’s spotlight did, connect with us...

Read More