The inspiration to start a business came about during what I call “the perfect storm.”  In 2010, while I was getting my MBA from Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business was enrolled in an Entrepreneurship class. My professor suggested I read Tim Ferriss’s “The 4 Hour Workweek” I was carpooling 10 hours a week back with someone who was a business owner and started forming my ideas . I started networking and getting insight from many people, from local business owners to family members like my step mother.

I originally considered it as a "practice idea"; but while diligently researching the market I realized I had found a market niche that was about to experience increased demand.

I started out by building my own website, not using any money at all, and partnering with my uncle.  Since I was working full time as a corrosion scientist, I was doing all business activities at night and on the weekends. My business soon began to grow as customers began to become aware of the value my company offered. That value was all about  consumers being able to buy name-brand products at significantly reduced prices, saving them hundreds of dollars a year.

Ironically due to my business's initial success, my business started experencing what some would call growing pains. I then moved on to the next stage of my business's development which was to figure how to scale it. This was accomplished by moving to a larger lab and building more business partnerships.

My successes. 

My business is now successful enough where I can now take it to the next level by making some additional investments. This will take the form of enhancing my website, building additional partnerships and creating some branded videos. The ultimate objective is to better deliver the message of our unique value to prospective customers.  

I am also a big believer of giving back to the community. I find it very rewarding to speak at public events and support the local small business community.  I also promote financial literacy , as well as women in business and science at Miss Porter's School; where I serve as an executive member of the Alumnae Board.

What influenced you to seek help from SCORE? 

After the initial start-up assistance, I later had challenges with staffing.  Not only that, but my original business partner and I went our separate ways, and I wasn't sure how to keep the business operating. 

How SCORE helped. 

Score has helped me not only when I was in the early stages of my business but throughout my company's development. Specifically, they helped me to tackle some fundamental challenges with staffing when I had a small team. They also helped me to have my business formally valued by an outside firm; and helped me put together a business plan. After I had a major falling out with my original business partner Score coached me to keep the business progressing.

What's great about my mentor? 

My mentors are very experenced in many aspects of business. It was invaluable to collaborate with individuals who have not only experenced business challenges in their careers buy have coached and mentored many other small business owners.  

SCORE supported me, not only in the early days, but throughout the development of my company. I look forward to a continued partnership in the future.

Replacement Lens Express is Still Going Strong