Score St. Louis - April 2020

St. Louis Bi-State Region

April 2020

Angie Mangan had always dreamt of owning her own business.A trained interior designer, she loves helping people create the perfect look and feel to transform their houses into a homes. As her kids got older,Angie began to pursue her dream more seriously. She looked at the technical aspects of running a business and researched what she would need to know to do it.“That’s when I ran across SCORE,” Angie explains. SCORE St. Louis had a seminar on how to write a business plan — exactly the information Angie was looking for.Angie brought her husband along with her, and “That’s where it started,” she says. She went to another seminar focused on business finances soon after. Still, it wasn’t until Angie’s daughter Alyssa graduated from college with a degree in interior design that it was time to take the concept to the next level. Knowing about her mother’s dream, Alyssa was ready to help.“She said,‘Mom, I’d like to do business with you.’ That’s when I became serious about it,” Angie says.Then, they got to work on the business plan, but when it came to the finances,Angie and Alyssa felt stuck.“We’re interior designers, not accountants.We both felt so lost,” says Angie.“We ended up reaching out to SCORE for a mentor, and luckily, we got Stuart.” An experienced CFO, Stuart brought the financial know-how to the team. He brought the duo expertise beyond just numbers, though. “He not only helped us through the financial components, but he also looked through our business plan and gave me suggestions. He shared it with people he knew for further feedback,” Angie says.“That was a huge help when we felt lost.”

services.“It’s going well,” Angie says of the business.“The community support has been great, and we have repeat customers as well as new people coming in every day.” The store’s space is divided into stylized vignettes “so that each vignette takes on a different part of a home,” Alyssa describes. “Whether it’s the dining room or kitchen, there are different styles within the store.” The styles combine Alyssa’s and Angie’s aesthetics, bringing together contemporary and eclectic designs for a “welcoming, cozy environment.” For Alyssa and Angie, the highlight of each day is connecting with customers and hearing about their lives.“It feels more like friends coming in,” Alyssa says.“We want it to be a fun, inviting place to be — a home away from home.” That feeling is exemplified by the fact that most of the people helping out at Blue Dahlia Designs are family members. Even now that the business is up and running, Stuart still checks in to see how things are going. “He came to our open house, and he reaches out to see how we’re doing and if there’s anything he can help with. He’s been amazing,” Angie says.

Alyssa adds,“Stuart’s guidance was like that last puzzle piece falling in place. Stuart was phenomenal. He not only helped us work through accounting multiple times, but he also gave us tips on the rest of our business plan. He truly helped us so much more than we could have imagined.” Early on,Angie and Alyssa faced rejection from a few banks.“Being in the retail business, we got knocked down a few times and were told no one would run with our idea.We expected a long haul,” Angie says. Here again, Stuart helped them overcome another hurdle.“Stuart connected us with a bank, and with our well-written business plan, thanks to him, we got approved by the first bank we went to.” Today,Angie and Alyssa’s dream has come to life with Blue Dahlia Designs, a home decor boutique that offers personalized interior design

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