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Emmeline Textiles, LLC

Submitted by: Alexandria Frantz
State: Florida
City: Fort Myers

Business Description

Emmeline Textiles creates heirloom quality baby wraps, woven, dyed and finished in the USA.

What one unique aspect of your business will make you succeed over the next year?

One of the most unique aspects which will make Emmeline Textiles succeed over the next year is our concierge service. More than other baby wearing companies, my sister and I (co-owners of Emmeline Textiles) are personally accessible to our clients. This creates the feeling that each wrap purchase is personally tailored and has resulted in brand loyalty that often leads to repeat sales. We personally meet with customers at expos, attend local meetups, answer questions or concerns directly via social media or on the phone, and never let a customer pay for a product that doesn’t meet their approval. Fostering such personal relationships and attention to the customer’s needs as an individual has contributed to approx. 25% of our 2015 sales coming from repeat customers. Not only does our service result in additional sales, it also ensures that future product design meets actual clients' needs. One thing the prize money would allow us to do is hire additional help that will free us from some manufacturing responsibility and give us even more time to personally interact with our customers. Another aspect that sets us apart is our commitment to sourcing our yarn from local businesses using ethical practices whenever possible, as well as being able to offer our customers special and unique yarn fibers that are unavailable from other USA woven wrap companies. Many special yarns haven't been used in baby wraps before and the prize money would allow us to test these fibers on our warps.

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

More than the typical benefits that baby wraps provide to families, the genesis of Emmeline Textiles was to create a business successful enough that we could ensure even those who are least fortunate have access to high-quality woven baby wraps. As a result, Emmeline Textiles has donated and provided wraps/carriers and services directly to organizations that support low-income mothers and those fleeing sex-trafficking and domestic abuse in a variety of ways. We are committed to continuing our relationships with them, and potentially other organizations, by maintaining or increasing our monetary/product donations and providing them with ongoing babywearing education and support.

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

Our SCORE mentors have provided timely and invaluable advice for managing employees and contractors in the past year. With continued SCORE support, we plan to make more confident business decisions and expand/increase the number of contractors we employ. One priority is to grow our community outreach and expand into new markets. While our donations and community support programs are central to our mission of giving back to the community, the traveler program also serves as a tool to expand our reach into new markets and increase brand recognition. A Sam's Club gift card will allow us to keep our internal business needs met and use more of our funds to support these outreach and community programs, as well as expand our traveler program.

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

How has working with a SCORE mentor helped your business?

SCORE has opened my eyes to aspects of my business that I didn’t know existed. David Hamblett (my SCORE Mentor) set up free consultations for me with local business leaders in our community. Master accountants, lawyers, web technicians, webinars, bookkeeping professionals and marketing specialists were all made available to me. He walked me through setting up my business to be successful, while simultaneously listening to my goals and aligning their advice to help me achieve profitability. When our initial timeframe ended, David continued to call me at least once a week, asking for updates and providing me with unwavering support. He has pushed me to reach farther and higher with my goals.

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

I was diagnosed with Lupus which weakens my immune system and makes me more susceptible to chronic illness and fatigue. Managing this disease while meeting the intense physical demands of personally sewing/dyeing our fabrics, combined with working long hours has been the largest obstacle to date. My SCORE mentor provided helpful advice to manage my time. He encouraged me to find ways to contract out work and has provided invaluable coaching when we had issues. While I remain personally responsible for many of our handmade products, I have created a more scalable production line that can respond to sudden business needs due to my illness. We are now able to maintain production while still sustaining strict quality standards of our brand.

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

Winning The SCORE Award and participating in the SCORE marketing video will provide excellent and wide reaching exposure. We directly benefited when I was awarded the Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award for our Local South West Florida SCORE Chapter. Emmeline Textile's local sales raised, but more importantly, recommendations through word of mouth and social media were increased. A national win would grow our customer base exponentially and take us to a wider reaching international level. The marketing video will provide us with more professional looking content to use on social media.
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