Sometimes a business opportunity presents itself when you realize that your hobby is something people will pay you for. This was the case for Mike Bloom, whose witty personality and graphic design skills led him to start a T-shirt business. For years, Mike had been creating hundreds of T-shirt designs when all of the sudden he stumbled upon a market need and was inundated with orders. Years later, by selling at markets, seasonal events and the Alaska State Fair, Mike has had great success turning his hobby into a profitable business, Embloom Designs.
“My shirts proved to be unbelievably popular – selling very well. I didn’t know what to do, how to handle it or where to go for help. Someone told me about the Small Business Development Center and suggested they might be a good place to start” said Mike.
Mike began working with the SBDC in 2002 and has had a long term relationship with our Anchorage center. Most recently, Mike returned to the SBDC to work with Kimberlee Hayward on transitioning from selling at events to selling online. Hayward’s extensive experience with website design and marketing was a perfect match for Bloom’s needs. Together they worked on a new website with an online store feature that would keep overhead low and minimize the amount of maintenance needed to make sure the website was running smoothly. Additionally, Mike worked with Lauren Riley to create a Facebook and Google+ page to bolster his online presence.
“I had all kinds of questions on a variety of topics” said Bloom, “I told [the SBDC] what I needed help with. I made an appointment and was overwhelmed with the quality and amount of help they gave me from the start. They continue to assist me with my online business giving me more assistance than I ever could have imagined”!