This past Tuesday was a pretty exciting day for Love Jac. We fixed our printer, upgraded to Verizon Fios, and....oh yeah...placed 2nd in Brooklyn Public Library’s PowerUp! Competition. Out of 109 business plans submitted, ours was chosen as one of the top 13. We were then asked to give a powerpoint presentation to further explain our company. The judges must have liked what we are all about because they awarded Love Jac $5,000 to build our brand.
We are still completely pumped and extremely thankful for this honor. Since PowerUp! is the reason lovejac.com is finally up and running and you have this blog to read, we figured this week’s post would be a good place to let you know what PowerUp! has to offer. If you live in Brooklyn and are starting your own business, we highly recommend it. Heck, if you don’t live in Brooklyn we suggest you move here just to benefit from PowerUp!
Last March what we thought was just one of our typical trips to the library turned out to be the first of many life changing boosts of motivation that has brought us to where we are today. When we were leaving the library I saw a poster promoting a competition for start-up companies. Love Jac has been a dream of mine for the past 6 years. Slowly we have been creating cards, designing a logo, and talking about what this company would be. The problem was it felt like we only had time to talk about what we dreamed, instead of doing it. Somehow life just always seemed to get in the way. Then we enrolled in PowerUp!
At the first orientation they described classes on finance, marketing, utilizing the library, and writing a business plan. They said there would also be many seminars conducted by past winners and other experts on various topics. I remember thinking to myself “I have to win this competition. I need to learn all those things.” Turns out, you didn’t have to win in order to benefit from Powerup! And thus, it began.
We were inspired by last year’s winners Camille Newman (Pop Up Plus), Michael Zawacki (DailyPress-Bedstuy), and Brandon Graham (wouldyourockthis.com). We received some great advice from Monique Greenwood, founder of the Akwaaba Bed & Breakfast. We took notes in all the classes, traveled to CAMBA for Finance 101, took the subway to Harlem for free legal advice from NELP, and drove out to East Brooklyn, where we carried a stroller up 4 flights of stairs to have a meeting at the Women’s Brooklyn Enterprise Center. Equipped with all this information, we then had to write a business plan. At first this didn’t seem like it would be hard, but in reality it was the equivalent of writing a thesis for a college course. And in retrospect we should have started it much earlier than we did. Regardless, it forced us to think about many aspects we hadn’t previously when it comes to running a business. It gave us a plan to expand and grow Love Jac.
Last Tuesday was such an exciting night. I was surrounded by the people who mean the most to me. My parents, brother, husband, and daughter were all there with me at the Central Library’s Dweck Auditorium, Grand Army Plaza. We heard from Robert Walsh, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services and the one and only Marty Markowitz, our Brooklyn Borough President.
As Linda Johnson and Edward Odom described the companies in the order the finalists placed starting from the bottom, I waited and waited. Finally there were only two of us left. When I heard Mr. Odom begin with “a home based company that offers creative greeting cards” I might have stopped breathing. I pulled it together and accepted my extra large check and had a chance to thank the PowerUp! judges and everyone at the library. After that it was a whirlwind of mingling, press, and delicious food.
And be sure that we won’t be taking this honor for granted. We will use it to help us continue to grow and make it easier for you to stay connected to your friends and family. At the end of the day, that’s what this is all about isn’t it?