Spotlight: Missoula, Montana Business Owners
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Montana is home to 126,000 small businesses (businesses with less than 500 employees). While that may not sound like a lot of businesses, they make up 99.3% of all companies in Montana.
In 2019, reporting banks issued $474.7 million in loans to Montana businesses with revenues of $1 million or less. Let's assume that every one of the 126,000 small businesses in Montana generated less than $1 million and requested loan funding for that year - each business would have received roughly $3,700 in funding. For some, that would be plenty of funding to help grow their business, but other business owners may be looking for more capital for more significant growth initiatives.
At Fundid, we spend our time thinking about what the world would look like if the 80% of businesses with under ten employees and generating less than $1 million a year in revenue had access to the capital they needed to grow and thrive. Being headquartered in Missoula, Montana, we are surrounded by many amazing local business owners with their own growth goals. To further support the business owners we serve, we are starting our Local Business series to highlight the amazing things these businesses bring to our communities.
This article is the first in an ongoing series spotlighting business owners across the United States, starting with those local to our HQ in Missoula. You will see these eight business owners' pictures featured in pictures across our website. While stock images have their place, we aim to highlight the actual business owners we support. Meet the eight business owners in our first spotlight series.
Kathleen Dent & Alli DePuy, Inspired Classroom
Kathleen and Alli are educators turned entrepreneurs who believe in igniting curiosity and elevating teaching to bring learning to life. Over eight years ago, they started their company, Inspired Classroom/MentorIC, connecting classrooms with distance learning technology. It's a software program that enables organizations to connect with mentors and learners to develop authentic learning experiences. Their clients can use their consulting services and platform to build content for all learners, from teachers and students in K-12 classrooms to their own clients and even adult learners.
Dent and DePuy thrive off of the idea that their business is "perfectly imperfect," especially after realizing that the worlds of education and business aren't built to function well together but that each can learn a great deal from the other. Both women are strong educators and understand that world well, but they acknowledge that one of their biggest obstacles when starting was their lack of business knowledge. Thankfully, with the help of solid mentorship and some trial-and-error, they were able to find the skills they needed to succeed as a small business. Today, they are poised for significant growth across a number of viable pathways.
Erika Peterman & Jenn Ewan, Sova Law
Erika Peterman and Jenn Ewan are the two founding partners at their firm, Sova Law. Both experienced attorneys with a combined twenty-five years of legal experience, Peterman and Ewan, approached the challenging process of starting their firm with as much humor and grit as they could muster. And in March of 2018, their efforts came to fruition.
Their boutique law firm specializes in a wide range of legal services, including corporate, transactional, labor & employment, and trademark law. Additionally, it provides consulting, strategic planning, and creative services to best meet the needs of its many clients.
And because their business succeeded so amazingly in 2018, they had the opportunity to become part of a multi-million dollar acquisition in 2019. This was a unique experience because the acquisition was entirely women-led–a first for everyone in the acquisition process.
Glenda Bradshaw, Clyde Coffee
Glenda Bradshaw is the founder and owner of Clyde Coffee, a coffee shop, cafe, and roastery in Missoula, Montana. Originally, Bradshaw's business opened its doors as a coffee shop in 2015 but moved to a larger location in 2021 to meet the demands of her growing business and open her roastery.
Since that move, Bradshaw has experienced what she's deemed "overnight success" in her business. She stated that she's always enjoyed having Clyde but that her road to profitability has been a long and challenging one that became the success it is today, thanks in no small part to the people close to Clyde. From customers to staff members to lenders, Bradshaw firmly believes that Clyde's success wouldn't be possible without all those who believed in her and her business.
Jennifer Clouse, Skin Chic
Jennifer Clouse became the owning partner of Skin Chic in 2012 and founded the Montana Skin Academy later in 2018. Her business focuses on empowering women by transforming their skin into becoming the best possible version of itself. She does this by offering medical, esthetic, and makeup-related skincare services, including botox, laser, exfoliating and hydrating facials, and bridal makeup appointments.
She's described the experience of owning and operating her business as a true adventure that has become the success it is thanks to the people with whom she works. She believes that finding the right employees and business partners who are just as passionate about her business and esthetics is the main reason she's so successful today.
Paisley Taylor, CREATE Art Bar
Paisley Taylor is the owner of CREATE Art Bar in Downtown Missoula. CREATE is a combined DIY workshop, art studio, and bar. It offers a wide-ranging menu of crafting projects, cocktails, mocktails, wines, and local beers to appeal to artsy, craft-inclined individuals and those who simply want to enjoy a good drink and a good time in a welcoming environment.
Though her business opened its doors in October 2019, Taylor's business journey began long before that. As far back as 2015, she was working on writing business plans, looking for the right location, and figuring out ways to live out her long-time dream of sharing her love of creativity with others.
Unfortunately, right as her doors opened, COVID threatened to close them again, and it was only through the help of grants that CREATE was able to keep its doors open and remain the success it is today. Now, as the world returns to a version of "normal," Taylor is working to rebuild CREATE's lost momentum and develop a solid customer base that will see her business and life's dream of bringing creativity to everyone through.
Michelle Huie, Vim & Vigr
Michelle Huie is the owner of Vim & Vigr, a compression legwear company she founded in 2013 after realizing the style and quality options of existing products were subpar. And though she had no prior experience in retail or manufacturing, she passionately believed in her product and today has sold over one million pairs of compression socks. According to Huie, it was this passionate, optimistic belief in her product paired with her sheer determination and grit to see it through that propelled her business forward. Not to mention the community of mentors and fellow entrepreneurs that helped her through the most challenging parts of her business.
Huie has further pursued her entrepreneurial passion in her newest venture, ShopDot, a retail technology platform that enables retailers to scale their eCommerce business by directly partnering with their brand suppliers. Like Vim & Vigr, ShopDot began when Huie noticed another gap in the existing business market.
During the COVID pandemic, she took note of the many challenges her independent retailers had when transitioning to an eCommerce platform. And after a closer look, she noticed most of their limitations came from their operations and supply chains. Essentially, these businesses just wanted to curate brands and products for their communities, but they were also being forced to act as fulfillment warehouses which significantly slowed their progress. So Huie created ShopDot in 2021 to help bridge the gap between independent retailers and brand suppliers, allowing retailers to scale their businesses more quickly by working closely with suppliers.
Fund Your Business Today!
If, like these spotlight businesses, you're looking for funding to grow, look no further than Fundid Capital. We work closely with businesses to help get them the capital they need quickly to expand their business and succeed in the long term.