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August Ink


Andrea Daniel in the August Ink Studio
SBDC Success Story Client
 “I love the problem solving that comes with owning a business!”

Taking the leap into entrepreneurialism happens for many reasons and takes you down many roads, as Andrea Daniel has learned. After leaving a full-time job, Andrea decided to begin selling pillow covers on the handmade goods site Etsy, while searching for a job in an unstable economy. Despite a bachelor’s degree in math and a master’s in public administration, she had trouble finding employment. At the same time, what began as a creative outlet to fill the gap turned in to a business that she could do for a living. Her first business saw early success, but it wasn’t established correctly, which led her to the Larimer Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for direction. 
In February of 2014, she hit the reset button and took another running start at business ownership by registering August Ink, selling custom screen printed t-shirts online. Her reasoning for the product shift was, “Pillow covers are fun, but everyone loves t-shirts.” The SBDC was helpful for her to have accountability and a consultant to bounce ideas off of. “The SBDC helps put my business into a framework. I understand why I should make the decisions I do for my business, and working with my consultant helps me set goals.”

To start over as a business owner is difficult, but Andrea sees that as part of the challenge of business ownership that she enjoys. Day-to-day tests like having enough time and doing it all on your own are always there, but “I love the problem solving that comes with owning a business,” she says. Knowing other business owners has been a huge asset as well, not only for partnerships and collaborations, but because starting a business can be lonely.

Since opening August Ink, she has expanded beyond t-shirts to begin offering tote bags, printed artwork and drink koozies, one of which was featured on BuzzFeed that gave her a great confidence boost. Her products feature inspirational messages and are her creative outlet that communicates her optimistic view on life. “I struggle… It’s a good struggle and it’s so worth it. At the end of the day, you’re putting yourself out there.” When you look through her store, you can see little bits of her personality, from a love of the Fort Collins community, to quotes from the show “Parks and Rec” and author J.R.R. Tolkien.
For now, her business is based out of her home studio, where she handles everything from design to printing to shipping, but Andrea is excited for what the future will bring for her business. She is especially excited about the possibility of opening a retail store front to contribute to the vibrant Fort Collins business community, as well as hiring her first employees. “It’s an exciting time for women and entrepreneurs. You’ve got to make your own way, and when you do, you can do awesome things!”
Story written by: Kat Rico
Photo credits: Andrea Daniel and Becky Young Photography

Military Veteran Entrepreneurs Mean Big Business for Colorado

In honor of those who have served our country, the Larimer SBDC has researched some powerful statistics about veterans who have come home to start businesses within our state and nationally. 

Who are veteran entrepreneurs?
  • – 9.1% of all business owners in the United States are veterans as of 2012
  • – 7.1% of these veterans are under the age of 35
  • – 4.4% of veteran business owners are women
  • – Veteran business owners are more likely to produce goods as opposed to services
  • – 10.3% of veterans own more than one business, compared with only 7.4% of non-veterans
  • – According to 2007 U.S. Census data, veteran owned businesses are responsible for contributing 1.2 trillion dollars to the United States economy
What impact do veteran business owners have in Colorado?
  • – Colorado has 48,803 small businesses owned exclusively by veterans as of 2007 U.S. Census data
    • — These business contribute an estimated $23 billion to the Colorado economy
    • — They also employ 96,373 people, with an annual payroll of $3.6B 
    • — Approximately 38,000 Colorado veteran owned businesses are owned and operated as sole proprietors, and these businesses generate $2 billion dollars in sales annually
These are not small contributions on top of the service they have already given to their country! Small businesses help stabilize local economies and employ large numbers of citizens. The Small Business Administration and the Larimer SBDC are here to support our veteran entrepreneurs with consulting, training and resources as they look to start and grow their businesses when they return home. Contact us to discover the resources we have available for you!
Whether you are an active duty, reservist or retired service member, thank you for your continued contributions!
Sources
Lichtenstein, Jules. “Profile of Veteran Business Owners.” Issue Briefs 1 (2013).
United States Census Bureau. Survey of Business Owners – Veterans. Washinton DC: United States Census Bureau, 2007.