“Movers and Shakers”…the story behind the label

 There was a young  woman who lived in her shoes.  She had so many pairs, she didn’t know what to do.   That is the story of many of our closets.  Shoes have gone from being a necessity to a statement.  They depict our personality.  Maybe you’re outgoing and spontaneous so your shoes are yellow, orange or bright red.  Perhaps you’re more reserved and your shoes are black and navy blue.  Either way, our clothes and shoes tell others a little about who we are. They also tell you about the people who made them.  Designers put their heart and souls into their designs.  The pieces they create tell stories about who they are and where they’re going.  There are two stories in a shoe, shirt, hat or any other article of clothing we wear.  The story of those who choose to wear them and the story of the people who created them.
 My story starts on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  As a kid, I loved shoes.  They are my accessory of choice.  I never thought I had one shoe too many.  However, shoes designed for children just weren’t as exciting as shoes designed for adults.  I wanted to wear shoes like my mom.  Shoes that were stylish not strapped with velcro. That is why it is my mission to create shoes for children that make them feel stylish.  Shoes that bring out their personality. My portfolio ranges from the sporty kid to the trendy one. Kids should feel confident from head to toe and my focus is the toes. You can find samples from my portfolio at Designs By Alexandria Corneiroslideshow
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A friend of mine recently launched his own line. I had the privilege of speaking to him about what his journey has been like.  MAS (Movers and Shakers) Apparel was founded and created by A. R. Paterson. Like me, he is from St. Thomas the United States Virgin Island. He was raised in a single parent home and at an early age he learned the value of independence and hard work.  He worked all through high school.  After graduating high school, A.R. Paterson joined the military.  He allister clothesserved 7 years to include an 18 month tour in Korea and a deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom.   After the military, he was invited by a friend to travel to Las Vegas, Nevada and Hollywood, California where several friends were showcasing their own clothing lines.  Paterson spent the week indulging in the world of fashion.  He was inspired by their business prowess and style.  Then and there he conceptualized the name for his brand.  He called it “Movers and Shakers”.
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    Being a business owner is adventurous, scary and exciting all at the same time. It is definitely not for everyone. The time I decided to start this clothing line and the time I actually started it was less than a month. Once I made my mind to do it, I just mustered up the courage to do just that. Before I knew it, I was drawing up designs on sketch pads and creating ideas for t-shirts. The most difficult part of starting an apparel company was learning the jargon and keeping up with the new trends as well as learning the old ones. Another obstacle I had to quickly overcome was …myself. By nature I am usually not one to go out of my way and strike up conversations with strangers. As a business owner, networking is God. The people you know, meet, and affiliate with can either make or break your business. My advice to anyone thinking about starting a business is to keep in mind that when the business is yours, it’s always personal. Passion is great to have but do not let emotions force you to make bad business decisions. Also expect setbacks to happen but take the lesson and not the lost. In other words, learn from your good and bad mistakes. It will only better your business knowledge. Finally, learn your field. Become a sponge of knowledge and research research research.

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“Always Settle For More”- A.R. Paterson

allister musicA.R. also loves writing and creating music in his spare time.  He invested in building a studio in his home.  A place he refers to as his sanctuary.  There he records and produces music.  His driven personality has been an inspiration to me and other up and coming designers.  He is a creator with many layers all of which he expresses in the stitch of every hem or the fold in every pocket.  He notes Marc Ecko “Ecoko UNLTD“, Thomas R. Gillett-Spio “Ugly Duklyn” and Shanticleer Graham “Gaudy Apparel” as his inspiration. I look forward to hearing where A.R.’s journey takes him.  “Movers and Shakers” is currently working on creating a website so stay tuned for information on it.

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The Tunnels of Information

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I went on a tour of the NY Times last week. During our walk through, our guide mentioned that annually he unsubscribes to everything he’s subscribed to and starts fresh. I thought this was a truly interesting concept. It’s a great way to empty your brain, dust off the cob webs and start new. Typically, we tend to get stuck in our routines. We gather information from the same sources which can act as a creative roadblock. This is something that happens in the business world as well. Maybe we’ve been advertising the same way for years or trying to establish our business through the same avenues. Perhaps we can flush out our business routine and try something we’ve never tried before. Social media is a great way to get your product out there. The web is always changing and people flock to new sites regularly. I found a great site DAILYTEKK that has a post on the top 100 websites and blogs of 2014. The idea is that of a billboard top 100. The site creator never puts a website on the list twice. Sites like DAILYTEKK show you what’s new in the web world. Trying new methods can help you extend your clientele. If you search through the tunnels of information on the web you’ll discover fresh and creative ways to promote your business.

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Bibbidi-Bobbidi… Investor?

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Wouldn’t it be grand if we all had fairy godmothers?  All our worries would be wiped away with a flick of her wrist.  Cinderella was a girl down on her luck.  She ‘d lost everything.  She had no income to invest in the business of “herself”.  She worked odd jobs scrubbing floors here and there but found herself in a one bedroom apartment with a view of everything she wished she had. Then one day an opportunity presented itself and she thought, “If I could just get there, I could network with the right people.” Unfortunately, things didn’t work out as planned and she found herself back on the inside looking out of her rodent (albeit helpful as they were) infested abode. Not everyone has the means to invest in their own business or wants to risk taking out a business loan. Sometimes it seems that we continue to meet dead ends. However, like Cinderella there’s hope for those who continue to dream on a tin can budget. Angel investors are individuals who have the start up capital to help new businesses. They do so typically in exchange for some level of ownership or convertible debt. There are several sites on the internet that cater to these types of investors. You can upload your business plan and hopefully link up with an investor. Uploading your plan to multiple sites will help increase your chances and you may instead have a few offers to choose from. Below is a link for a sample angel investor site located in New York. Cinderella found luck with a fairy godmother. Angel investor sites are worth looking into because you may just find yourself cashing in at the bibbidi-bobbidi-bank.

Link: http://newyorkangels.com/index.html

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Rumpelstiltskin Needed a Trademark

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Rumpelstiltskin was a man who knew the importance of a name.  He had many talents.  He could spin straw into gold and one day he offered to help a poor millers daughter being held in captivity.  However, he had a few strings attached.   She could use his services just not his name.  As long as he controlled the use of his name he retained his power.  You should always protect your identity in your personal and business life.  In business, you do so by having a trademark.  You can get a trademark for around $300.  Trademarks protect names, symbols, words and logos that distinguish your business from other businesses.  You’ll have to first do your research to make sure that the name isn’t already taken.  I’m in the process of applying for a trademark.  Once I finish the application process,  I will blog about the wait time and response I receive.  There are several sites on-line that offer you trademarks but in my opinion it is safer to go to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  As for Rumpelstiltskin, his empire crumbled with one word from the millers daughter, “Rumpelstiltskin!” I guess he should have had a trademark.

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Goldilocks and the Legal System

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Goldilocks was a girl who decided to venture into new territory.  Along the way, she found herself tired and hungry.  Luckily, she had options.  After trying them all out, she discovered not all the options were the right fit.   If there is anything we learned from good old Goldilocks is that to feel comfortable you have to find an area that’s “just right” for you.  This past week, I have done research on types of business entities.  There are several different business types for you to choose from.  They all have their benefits and drawbacks.  Originally, I thought I wanted  a sole proprietorship.  A sole proprietorship is the easiest business entity to get up and running. You are only taxed once because there is no separation between you and your business.  However, you are liable.  Your personal assets are at risk if you are sued.  I wasn’t sure if this was a risk I was willing to take.  My other options were a partnership, limited liability company or a corporation.  I instantly crossed out a partnership because I am the sole creator of my business.  A limited liability company offered a lot of benefits with few drawbacks.  It offered protection from liability, as well as, only being taxed once.  However, I decided to go with a corporation because my hope is to continue to grow my business and most investors want to deal with corporations.  Corporations are more work to start.  They must also follow specific regulations.  However, it’s worth it for me  because I want a large company that expands into other areas down the line (i.e. clothing and accessories).  For me, a corporation is “just right”.  When you start your own business this is one of the first things you will need to decide.  It effects where you need to move forward legally.  Below are some links with information on the different types of business entities.

Video: Choosing Your Legal Business Type- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7PulXuCI4w

IRS Website: http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Business-Structures

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The Table of Contents

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Good Morning! I call this blog entry ” The Table of Contents” because it just lists some of the components you need to start a business.  These are things I’ll be working on and sharing throughout my blog.  I’ll add links to the sites you would need for these items as well.  I hope you find this list of components useful and have a great day! :O)

1) Create Your Business Idea

a)  Decide what type of business best suits you.

b)  Use analysis to determine if your idea will create profit.

c)  Write a business plan.

d)  Research sources for start-up financing.

e)  Develop a marketing plan.

2) Create Your Business Structure

a)  Who owns this business?

b) What kind of business are you in terms of structure?

c)  Would your business benefit from selling stock?

d) What type and level of legal protection do you need?

e)  How will your business be taxed?

f)  Don’t be afraid to go out there and speak to people in each business structure for advice.

3) Develop A Name

a)  Create a name for your business.

b)  Research the availability of that name to include its availability as a domain name online.

c)  Check with your county clerk if you’re creating a local store.

d)  Do a federal and state trademark search if you want to have your business operate regionally or nationally.

e)  Depending on which level you choose you’ll need to register your business name to protect it.

4) Determine Your Business Location

a)  Annotate the type of features your business would need at its location.

b)  Determine what you can afford in rent and then analyze various neighborhoods for rent cost.

c)  Check the zoning restrictions.

5) Permits and Licenses

a)  Obtain a federal employment identification number.

b)  Obtain a sellers permit to sell legally in your state.

c)  Obtain a state license.

d)  Obtain a local tax registration certificate and any local permits.

6) Insurance

a)  Look at the property you will be working from and what it requires in insurance.

b)  Obtain insurance for any vehicles used for your business.

c)   Obtain insurance for the location your costumers/clients will be coming.

d)   Obtain insurance for your product.

7) The Books

a)   Set up an accounting system.

b)  Decide what your fiscal year looks like.

8) Taxes

a)  Learn the tax system for your business.

b)  Learn what deductions you can use.

c)  Look at the IRS’s tax guide for small businesses,  starting a business and their tax calendar for small businesses.

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(I derived this list from: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/start-own-business-50-things-30077.html.  If you have more to add to this list please share.)