Stacey Shiring was a free lance graphic designer and had been asked to work on a design for wedding invitations. And just like that, a new company was born.
From those beginnings, Bridal Divas Ink has become a retail and e-commerce company specializing in custom designs for wedding announcements, invitations, and receptions. Starting online and working with area stationers, Shiring felt there was a hole in the market. She created a kit of various design elements. If brides stay within those elements, Bridal Divas Ink is able to keep costs down while providing high-end, custom designs at lower costs than found elsewhere.
Shiring also determined that a retail location complementing her online efforts might help to better serve her company’s clients. She sought out advice from the Hamilton County Business Center. Soon thereafter, she opened a location at HCBC, an entrepreneurial incubator located in Norwood.
“I feel like I’m in college for entrepreneurs,” Shiring said of her time at HCBC. “I got exposure to different ways to grow a company. I also learned that I’m not crazy for starting my own business.”
Shiring’s experience at HCBC has been positive. She worked closely with HCBC to expand her e-commerce business into a bricks and mortar store. She was introduced to potential investors. Bridal Divas Ink worked with HCBC to apply for a $25,000 loan from Bad Girl Ventures, which the company eventually received.
Shiring is using part of the loan to move from the business incubator to a new location in the Reading Bridal District. The Reading Bridal District is very familiar with the Hamilton County Development Company, the umbrella group that started HCBC. HCDC worked with the Reading Bridal District in 2006 to help the district create better marketing and to better position itself to potential stores and customers.
In this instance, HCDC worked with both the business and the community. While occurring several years apart, both the work of the incubator and HCDC have helped to bring a positive impact to the community.
“A nice win for the company, a nice win for our community, and a good story for us,” said Pat Longo of HCBC.
Bridal Divas Ink – bridaldivasink.com