Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Olivia Fabian of OFabz Swimwear
Apr13

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Olivia Fabian of OFabz Swimwear

This Entrepreneur Spotlight, we are talking to Olivia Fabian, of OFabz Swimwear. Let me just warn you, before you check out the site, OFabz has the most adorable retro-style swimwear you will ever see. I immediately wanted everything. All of it. With a beautiful website offering buyers a chance to shop online, and then by participating in pop-up shops around the city (we love those), OFabz is definitely making its mark. Summer is coming, and this swimwear is something you want to check out.  What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana? OFabz won a business plan competition through Ivy Tech and the NIIC (Northeast Indiana Innovation Center) back in 2011 that kicked things off for the business. Once we got started and realized how supportive and enthusiastic the northeast Indiana community was, we knew it was the right place for us.  What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community? The community has really supported us in ways we could have never imagined. We had no expectation of the level of coverage in the media we would get and are blown away that people in our community recognize the business name. We sort of thought we would just sell swimsuits to boutiques in warmer climates and no one in Fort Wayne would know about us… but we were totally wrong. Support from local businesses like One Lucky Guitar for branding; COYA for web development; and fabric, notions, and sewing experts at Avant Guard really gave us a huge step up. Places like the NIIC and Score were immensely helpful too but the game-changing advice often came from people who were also entrepreneurs and were willing to share their scrappy secrets that taught us some not-so-standard SOPs.  What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? The biggest challenge for us has been manufacturing. We have struggled to find quality swimwear manufacturing facilities domestically. Swimsuits are sort of a feat of engineering and art so finding the right person to make it is key, and finding someone you can count on is the challenge.  What person has helped you the most in your journey?  My mom Cheryl and I run the company together – 50/50. We’re in it together. She says we’ve been in business together since I was a toddler and I think there is probably a lot of truth to that. She is the creative mastermind behind everything. The business (or I) wouldn’t be anywhere without her.  What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs? You need to be willing to just jump in and try things. I...

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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Taber Olinger of Fancy and Staple
Feb09

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Taber Olinger of Fancy and Staple

This week’s Entrepreneur Spotlight features Taber Olinger of Fancy & Staple, located on Broadway in Downtown Fort Wayne. Here at Living Fort Wayne, we LOVE Fancy & Staple. The boutique-style shop is unique, and browsing around is almost as fun as purchasing the amazing, individualistic products they have to offer. Seriously, I get lost in there for hours. Fancy & Staple’s mission is “to bring smaller independent lines to Fort Wayne, support local artisans, promote shop small/shop local, and to make downtown Fort Wayne a better place to live, work, and play.” Sounds great to us. What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana? I’m from Fort Wayne and have always loved it here. For me, whenever something new comes this city, it’s REALLY exciting! Instead of taking it for granted because there’s already a bazillion other cool things, I feel more appreciative and connected to the progress. For the past 10 years (at least), I’ve wanted desperately to be part of that growth and offer something unique to Fort Wayne. Now that I’m finally there, I couldn’t be more thrilled!  What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community? Definitely the Downtown Improvement District. They put on awesome events, with downtown’s best interest at heart, and have graciously included me since I opened last October. I’d also like to give a shout out to Fort Wayne Living, Fort Wayne Magazine, WANE Channel 15, and WBOI. Their interest in Fancy & Staple has provided me an abundant amount of exposure which I’m incredibly grateful for. What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? I believe the biggest challenge I overcame happened in the very beginning. It was taking the initial leap, from idea to reality. Getting started can seem over whelming, scary, and impossible. For me, I needed a little push. Even though I had been preparing for years and I was as ready as I was ever going to be. Once I started the process, nothing could stand in my way. It was an amazing experience that I would do over and over again. What person has helped you the most in your journey? The process of opening my own business was tedious and time consuming, but not difficult. Since I did it all on my own, I felt it a good idea to reach out to certain professionals throughout the process. First, I sought guidance from SCORE and then the ISBDC. They were both great! Then I connected with an attorney and accountant, which should be a must for every entrepreneur. If I had to choose one person that...

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