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Success Stories

Beau & Belle Littles

The true measure of a successful product is: Does it solve a customer problem? As new, active parents, Paul and Rachelle Baron faced a common problem when trying to take their little one swimming. They wanted a high quality, reusable swim diaper that handled solid waste well, but there was nothing on the market that met their standards. “The problems we saw were that disposables were not good quality, didn’t contain solid waste well, and were sold in size specific packs that we wouldn’t get through by the time he outgrew them. The reusables that were on the market were also size specific and had complicated sizing information,” said Paul. Out of this need, they began developing the Nageuret (Nah-jour-ay; French for small swimmer) one size reusable swim diaper with their own son Beau acting as a built-in product tester. The resulting reusable swim diaper grows with the child, from 3 months old to 3 years old.

In July 2015, they officially launched Beau & Belle Littles online and learned there was a market demand for the product. After attending Loveland Startup Week in 2016, they met with representatives from the Loveland Business Development Center and began a mentorship relationship. The husband and wife team harnessed the great combination of Paul being a risk taker while Rachelle prefers calculated moves, allowing them to be open to opportunities without rushing in. They began meeting with LBDC consultants on a regular basis, who helped them dig into their financials, accounting and taxes. “If you can’t see how much is coming in and going out, it gets much more complicated,” said Rachelle. In the first year of their business, they faced issues with manufacturing and keeping proper inventory levels, in fact, they went out stock 2 times in 2015 because of this. In January of 2016, sales of the Nageuret were between double and quadruple what they were in December 2015, which caused them to go out of stock for nearly 3 weeks. Paul recalls, “There were a lot of learning curves since there is not a lot of textile or apparel manufacturing companies for hire in the US.” They have continued to meet with their LBDC consultants to establish a predictive model for how much inventory they will need for different times of the year in the future.

Despite challenges, their reusable swim diapers continue to generate attention, proving the need for the product. They have been featured on the Rachel Ray Show, in November 2016 they won a competition for a $10,000 grand prize from OnDeck, had mentorship meetings with Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank, and have plans to continue to enter entrepreneur competitions to grow their product. These successes have allowed them to donate to Compassion International, along with their local volunteer support of the House of Neighborly Service and the Loveland Big Thompson School District’s entrepreneurship program.

Paul’s advice for entrepreneurs is, “Don’t get discouraged, and understand that it’s a lot of hard work. Look for mentorship and people who are smarter than you.” Rachelle encourages others to stand your ground when it comes to your vision for your business, even while taking advice. While they are excited to continue exploring products that help families enjoy time with their children, their focus will always be family first, business second.

Teaching Tree Early Childhood LC

Northern Colorado businesses are working hard to fill workforce needs. One of the main barriers is the availability and cost of child care, which can run as high as $16,000 annually for infant care. Teaching Tree, a nonprofit with facilities in Fort Collins and Loveland, has provided quality child care since 1970, with much of this care supporting low-moderate income families. Teaching Tree is undertaking an ambitious expansion that will double its child care capacity

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The Cooking Studio

Fifteen years ago, Trish O’Neill took her first cooking class and she was hooked! She began cooking inspired meals from scratch and it soon became her passion. Over the next 15 years she traveled for her career, all the while taking cooking classes as a hobby while on her travels. This cultivated the idea that would eventually bring Trish and her talent to Fort Collins to open The Cooking Studio, a place for amateur cooks,

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Spidertrax Off-Road

Thom Kingston helped start Loveland-based Spidertrax Off-Road not in a garage like some startups but in a fully equipped shop at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. In 1999, Kingston and his former partner and co-founder, Eddie Casanueva, initially snuck into the school after-hours to develop and manufacture parts for the off-road industry until they got official approval and could work during the daytime. “We were manufacturing all of our parts, using the tools of

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The Magic Bus Tours

Fort Collins has an amazing amount of things to see and do. No business, however, had offered a service as fun and forward thinking as Magic Bus Tours to create a unique and educational experience around the local activities. “When I first started visiting Fort Collins, I loved learning about the local history, lifestyles and culture, but I couldn’t find another bus-tour service in town,” said Michael Murphy, founder and visionary behind Magic Bus Tours.

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Green Ride

Ray Schofield and Bob Flynn created Green Ride in 2009 to bring an easy, local transportation option to the Fort Collins community. After leaving Shamrock in October 2008, where the two worked together, they began looking for a way to get involved in the community and deciding from a regulatory standpoint whether to be a taxi service, shuttle service, or something else. “We were looking to see where the gaps in transportation were.” In just

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Branch Out Cider

The idea for Branch Out Cider, a community orchard that produces apple wine from neighborhood trees, began with one special apple tree. When Aaron Fodge and Matt Fater sat down to discuss their business and share their story, they were quick to point out the lush, flowering apple tree in their neighborhood that started it all. “The tree was loaded, so we made cider with it!” That was the first year. The next year they

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