A YEAR LATER: TOP GRANT WINNER, SAMANTHA BOSSU USES HER WINNINGS TO DRIVE BUSINESS TO NEW HEIGHTS AND DOUBLES REVENUE ALONG THE WAY
Like many young adults, the last thing she wanted to do was work in the family business. “I was raised in the plant industry, but I shunned it,” says Samantha Bossu, owner and founder of South Bay’s premiere indoor plantscaping company, Decora.
She recalls spending time in her family’s large greenhouse on sick days watching her parents work. When she was older, she took a semester off from college to help with installations, plant preparation, and heavy lifting, “I did a lot of grunt work then.” Eventually though, Ms. Bossu left the plant business choosing a career in education.
The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Family Tree
“Years later, when I was at a crossroads in my career, I fell back into [plant scaping], and fell in love with it,” said Ms. Bossu. During that time, she made the move to California from Connecticut and began working for a local plantscaping company. She was surprised however, by how much she enjoyed the business side of things, “During my time with the company, I took on a larger role helping with sales, marketing, and crunching numbers.” Said Ms. Bossu, “I liked the challenge of how to grow a company, the creative aspect, and as an entrepreneur, planning out your future and how you want your future to be.” Two years later, she decided to start her own plantscaping business.
Reviving a Family Legacy
Ms. Bossu proved that she wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, and had the ability to work all sides of the business including the creative side and the financial side. All that was left was finding the right name.
“Decora is the original name of the company that my parents founded 30 years ago in Connecticut,” said Ms. Bossu. Mom and dad have since changed the name of their business to Atria Inc. and were happy to support their daughter in her new business and gave her permission to use the name along with lots of advice, “They’re our go-to and on-call advisors,” says Ms. Bossu.
The Challenge of Running a Plantscaping Business from the Back of a Prius
Managing consumer perceptions is the cornerstone of good branding and effective PR, and when you’re forced to deliver product from the back of a Prius or rent a U-Hall, it can give your customers the wrong impression. “We applied for the Shoplocal.us grant because we were stepping into a new direction, rebranding, and growing quickly. The grant was the perfect opportunity to help us buy a vehicle,” said Ms. Bossu.
“We got our van!” said Ms. Bossu.
Since launching Decora, Samantha has managed to double company revenue year over year. Winning the $2000 ShopLocal.us grant award has helped them to purchase the van of their dreams, “It’s made our business systems so much easier,” said Ms. Bossu, “It has also helped to take us to the next level, with the logo design on the van it has been great for marketing.” According to Ms. Bossu, the van allows current and potential customers to know that Decora is both professional and creative.
Too Legit to Quit!
Winning the grant had an even deeper impact on the company’s self-image, says Ms. Bossu, “[Winning] let us know that what we are doing is legit, that our business plan was not crazy. It was gratifying to know that the people on the panel also saw our potential and that they were confident that the ShopLocal.us grant money was going to good use.”
When asked about the ShopLocal.us grant, Ms. Bossu said, “To anyone who is thinking about applying, I want them to know that the process is super easy, and you never know what you can win. Just showcase your true self and have fun. Let the panel see what you are about and who you really are.”
Watch Decora’s Grant Video submission from 2015
Why Apply for the ShopLocal.us Grant?
ShopLocal.us is part of a grassroots effort to inspire more people to buy from local businesses in neighborhoods across America to keep our communities healthy, wealthy, and vibrant. To help local businesses achieve greater visibility and profitability, ShopLocal.us certifies small locally-based and independent businesses.
ShopLocal.us is hosting its 4th Annual Small Indie Business Grant Awards program for businesses based in the South Bay. This year’s winners will be revealed at the South Bay Business Mavericks Gala & Grant Awards ceremony taking place on Wednesday, October 19th 2016 at the Toyota USA Automobile Museum. Based on last year’s success, they expect 150 attendees at the gala event, including local entrepreneurs, community leaders and small business owners.
When asked why do the grant awards? ShopLocal.us Founder, Heidi Butzine said, “The Grant Awards program is our way of giving back to the South Bay business community. We know it takes a lot to run your own business. It’s the courage, persistence and passion that drives the small business owners to get out there every day and serve our community. We’re proud to host the Small Indie Business Grant program to honor the tremendous contribution small businesses make to the national and local economy.”
To apply for the Shop Local Small Business Grant Awards please visit: http://www.shoplocal.us/grant/
For tickets or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities please visit: http://bizmavericks.wpengine.com
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