SCORE St. Louis July 2019

St. Louis Bi-State Region

July 2019

TURNINGA LIGHTBULB MOMENT INTO A BUSINESS LISA’S STORY A mentor at SCORE, Dana joined our organization about six years ago, hoping to share the business insight she’s amassed over the years as a corporate executive. “I wanted to work with entrepreneurs in a small-business environment,” she says.With a background in manufacturing and experience with direct sourcing out of China, she was the perfect match for a burgeoning entrepreneur looking for direction in those industries: SCORE mentee Lisa. Lisa was hard at work in the finance world until a couple years ago, when a lightbulb moment sparked a career change and a foray into fashion design. Getting her business up and running wasn’t easy. Lisa explains,“I had an idea, and I couldn’t take it from idea to reality. Entrepreneurship isn’t in our family, and I didn’t know where to go.” As many can relate, turning an idea into something tangible and profitable is more than half the battle. But Lisa was committed to seeing out her idea for functional, chic bags, and after some searching, she found SCORE.When she saw Dana’s mentor profile, she knew she’d found the right person.“She had manufacturing experience. She had exactly what I didn’t,” Lisa says.

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was so kind and generous with her knowledge,” Lisa says.“It’s one thing to learn from her, but she learned it all herself. I admire that about her. She figured it out on her own.” As an executive, Dana led her company’s division until a design idea of her own launched a new product. She began working directly with manufacturers in Asia to make the design a reality. Hearing her story, it makes sense that she and Lisa have found kinship working together. Coming from the male-dominated industry, Lisa also points out how refreshing it was to connect with another businesswoman.“One thing that’s really cool about SCORE is the diversity of mentors,” she says.“For anyone starting a business, SCORE is incredible. I’m so grateful for Dana! I don’t know where I would be otherwise.” As Lisa sums up,“It’s so important to have a good sounding board. Issues will always come up.That’s part of having a business.” She’s grateful to have a kick-ass former corporate executive like Dana to turn to in these times. Clearly, the two — and Lux & Nyx — have just begun their journey. With SCORE, you’re never alone! Schedule an appointment to meet with a mentor today. Call 1-866-726-7340 or visit www.STLScore.org right now! 1 1-866-726-7340

her design using simple materials. From there, she could work with a local seamstress and turn the prototype into a working model.“It seems so simple, but when you don’t know where to start, the advice makes all the difference,” Lisa says. Once she had a prototype, Lisa’s next hurdle was finding a manufacturer. She struggled to find the right company locally. Here again, Dana’s experience in the industry was crucial.“Dana explained that I should meet with manufacturers directly and talk to them, learn what they do, and build that relationship.” Lisa went straight to the source, connecting with manufacturers in Hong Kong and getting to know each one.“I left with one manufacturer, whom I’ve worked with ever since.They’re a small, family operation who cares so much about the products. I communicate with them every day.” Recalling Dana’s advice, Lisa confirms,“It’s really relationship-based.” In their two-plus years working together through SCORE, Dana has helped Lisa turn her idea for fashionable, functional backpacks and handbags into Lux & Nyx, a growing business featured on NPR Marketplace and in the Washington Post. Lux & Nyx’s luxury backpacks and handbags are built with form and function in mind, are travel-ready, and are “meant for women on the go,” Lisa says.

Without Dana’s experience, though, it’s possible Lux & Nyx would have remained an idea.“Dana

To get her idea up and running, Dana explained that Lisa would want to create a prototype of

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