Dayton is a place where you can dream big and wrestle that dream to the ground and build something really amazing for yourself.
When I started Brim 11 years ago, about a million people helped make it happen. Neighbors, friends, and family helped us gut the space, pull up the many layers of floor, put out merchandise, hang shelving, wash floors, build a counter, build a bathroom, restore the big glass windows – really, you can come in here and point to just about anything and I can tell you, “yes, we did that” and tell you who helped. Business resources, however, were another matter.
Despite having what the loan agent referred to as “the best business plan I’ve ever seen,” we couldn’t get a loan. The agent actually told us that if we were looking to start a coffee shop she could give us money. We had two things working against us - we’re a small business and we’re part of a very small industry. Finding comparables is almost impossible for banks. So we did all the things you aren’t supposed to do – we maxed out a bunch of cash advances on credit cards all on the same day and pulled money from my retirement. Within six months (of living on peanut butter sandwiches and putting every bit of income back into the business) we were turning a profit and able to get a standard business mortgage and pay back all that dangerously gathered cash.
After having the store open and being part of the small business world of Dayton, I learned about all these resources for small businesses that would have been helpful in the early days. From programs like Site Seekers that connects prospective businesses with spaces for rent or buy to the Miami Valley Community Action Network’s Micro Enterprise Business Training and Development Program and the county’s MicroEnterprise Grant. In the years since we opened, The Entrepreneurs’ Center (https://ecinnovates.com/) has made tremendous strides in centralizing information and making it more easily accessible to people wanting to start businesses. I refer people to these resources regularly, knowing that small businesses are the life blood of our city.
At the end of the day though, what helped grow Brim the most was word of mouth – happy customers telling their friends and family about us (the first few years I going through business cards like water). Because exposure is an essential part of word of mouth and we see supporting other small businesses as a necessity, Brim is hosting weekly pop ups with local small businesses. We’re starting with black owned businesses for Black History Month and women owned businesses for Women’s History Month. As it happens, all of our pop up businesses between now and the end of March are owned by black women.
Without further ado, THE LINE UP:
|Jars by Jas
|cheesecakes in mason jars
|clothing line paying tribute to HBCUs
|hand-crafted herbal soap and body care
|The Heart Baker
|gourmet retro bakery with regular and vegan options
|Floss & Flourish
|custom artisan embroidery
|Gem City Laser
|laser-made gifts crafted from wood and acrylic
|Mint & Coco
|curated products for intentional living, manifesting + everyday rituals
POP UPS are from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm on Saturdays, right here in the store. We're excited to celebrating this eclectic assortment of businesses and the women who dreamed them into existence.
IF YOU HAVE A SMALL BUSINESS and are interested in doing a pop up with us, fill out our Google form.