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Submitted by: Ashley Morken
Business Website:
State: North Dakota
City: Fargo

Business Description

Unglued is a modern handmade gift shop in Sioux Falls, SD and Fargo, ND that features over 300 local and regional makers. We also host creative workshops, an adult summer camp, and annual craft fest.

How does your business make a positive impact on the community?

Unglued is a "social business" in our 2 communities we serve in that we exist to promote local and regional makers and connect our community with over 300 of them in a gift shop setting year round. We also work to encourage creativity in our community which grows both culture and connections through workshops for kids and adults, a kids downtown summer camp, an adult sleepaway summer camp, an annual craft fest (which has won a ND Event of the Year for encouraging tourism into our community), a maker "Etsy" user support group, and many collaborations with other businesses and non-profits. While our total business revenue may appear high (over $250k) we operate on a small margin in order to return a maximum benefit to the makers we serve.

What would you do with a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, training, and help from a SCORE mentor to grow your business?

As a small business focused on social impact we would use these amazing benefits for community engagement through special events. We frequently are looking to purchase bulk supplies to help keep our costs down, our events super affordable for anyone in our community, and remain sustainable to bring these back each year. We are also in a spot right now where we grew into a location in Sioux Falls, SD 1.5 years ago as a maker-focused gift shop and would like to expand events in this area, but haven't been able to quite afford to yet. We would also absolutely thrive on training and a SCORE mentor this year to know if we are growing in a sustainable way through our 2nd location and the events we are expanding with.

The following responses will be considered in judging for a SCORE Award.

How has working with a SCORE mentor helped your business?

We worked with SCORE in 2011 before our first pop up shop and then this past year once in April 2016. This past year we reached out to help evaluating if we should keep our Sioux Falls new location open, sell it to our manager so it could be owner-operated (and maybe more sustainable), or close it due to financial constraints with our tight margin working with makers. Having the insight for a business professional helped us determine to continue to proceed as scary as it was.

Have you had to overcome any obstacles along the way to build your business?

Yes absolutely and we still are working through some with our second location we opened in Sioux Falls, SD in 2015. It was "easier" to open our first location in Fargo, ND as it is owner-operated (by myself) and so when our tighter margins with our maker set-up didn't allow enough income to initially pay a wage I was able to make up the difference by personally just working more. However, with a full (and awesome) staff needed for this 2nd location we have been challenged to figure out covering all of the expenses with fully staffing this - and having the time for someone to have a role in planning and developing creative events as well that are an important part of our mission.

How will you utilize the marketing video and national recognition of winning a SCORE Award to help take your business to the next level?

We would use a marketing video and recognition to build deeper community connections especially in our Sioux Falls, SD location where we are trying to reach a larger audience as a newer business. We can see these being instrumental in further collaborations with local businesses for the events we build and reaching more makers in the midwest as well. The marketing video would be largely used in our social media and on our website to help people SEE and HEAR our story in a more impactful way to connect them with our mission and to get involved!
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