The Secret Garden is a photography studio and venue in Sulfur, Louisiana—a plantation-style home built in the early 1900s with a lush garden that offers unending whimsical charm. The interest in the property ranges from inspired photographers to couples who want to capture the romantic backdrop for small events, weddings, and all other kinds of happy events. Initially, McKinney needed help with all startup entrepreneurs' general business questions.
"Many who have come to The Secret Garden have stated that they have never heard of us. We quickly replied that it is because our place is a 'secret' — the best kept secret in town! I hope this testimonial spreads the 'secret' of the LSBDC. Thanks to the LSBDC and people like Susan, it was an asset in transforming our place from a secret to a well-known and well-loved venue."
McKinney was referred to the LSBDC at MSU, where her business consultant, Center Director Susan Thibodeaux, could answer all of the start-up questions that had come to mind as she worked to bring her vision to reality. She was walked through business startup steps, legal structure, and securing her EIN, and was guided through many other questions that popped up as her business gained traction.
Roslyn Alexander, a devoted stay-at-home mom with a passion for colors and a flair for creativity, aspired to establish a business that aligned with her interests and provided a source of income. Crucially, she sought the flexibility to nurture and grow it alongside caring for her daughter, Raven, who has special needs. In the face of formidable challenges, including the near-complete loss of her home-based business in 2016 and the additional hurdles brought on by the COVID pandemic, Roslyn Alexander courageously undertook the steps to rejuvenate her enterprise. Undeterred by adversity, she not only managed to overcome the personal challenges she faced due to the disaster, but emerged as a stronger person and business owner. As of 2023, her business thrives with increasing sales, boasting a growing and successful venture. It has garnered a dedicated following and earned high ratings, a testament to Ms. Roslyn's resilience and entrepreneurial prowess.
"We have had a great experience with Ms. Womack [Center Director of LSBDC at Southern University], she had informed us at every stage. I would recommend LSBDC services and personnel to anyone."
Ms. Alexander was helped throughout this tumultuous journey with the LSBDC. They helped her secure disaster funds, improve and elevate her marketing efforts, and assisted with her patent application, which was accepted.
Fig & Dove is a line of artisan-crafted home décor and thoughtful gifts for all occasions founded by Interior Designer Colleen Waguespack in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Since its launch in 2015, Colleen has created a niche of curated, high-end home décor and gifting that reflects the lifestyle of today's sophisticated shoppers. Through her creative touch, Colleen's vision of refinement allows Fig & Dove to provide shoppers with elegant pieces that create meaningful memories for years to come.
The Fig & Dove team approached the SBDC to assist with financial analysis and pricing. They worked to navigate issues surrounding Fig & Dove's growing e-commerce platform and issues relating to product margins and inventory controls.
"Jason and his team have been responsive to all of our needs. They have offered solutions to problems we were not able to solve due to knowledge or time."
The LSBDC at LSU team identified areas to improve pricing and track inventory.
The many hours of working together paid off. Sales increased year-over-year by 32%, and Fig & Dove were able to hire two new employees. Fig & Dove's growth resulted in the company graduating from the LSU Innovation Park business incubator and moving into their new headquarters on Essen Lane in Baton Rouge in the Spring of 2022.