Local entrepreneurs share their stories

The Hinson-Debose Family welcomes all breeds of animals to their family-oriented pet salon, Bloomingtails. The journey to get to this point was a long and, at times, difficult one. 
Photo Courtesy of Hinson – Debose family 

Childhood sweethearts Brandon Debose and Stephanie Hinson-Debose set out to start their own pet grooming salon with only $1,000 in their bank account and a newborn baby in their arms.

With hardly enough money to completely purchase the Bloomingtails Pet Salon from the owner, the two offered a deal. They vowed to pay the owner $1,000 each week in addition to the $1,500 monthly rent. If they missed just one payment, the owner could redeem the shop and keep all previous payments.

“We came from nothing,” Hinson-Debose said. “It was rough in the beginning.”

For 60 weeks they managed to make the weekly $1,000 payments, monthly rent and nurse their newborn daughter. They also managed to attract new clientele.

Finding a way to market and promote the new salon was a task at first. With social media expanding in the marketing industry, Hinson-Debose decided to use Facebook to promote their services.

Facebook would advertise the Bloomingtails Pet Salon for a dollar a day; but, promotion did not stop there. Attending grooming shows and participating in national competitions also helped generate business. Hinson-Debose proudly proclaimed the hardships were worth it.

“I don’t have a boss, and to have that strength and ability under 30 is amazing,” Hinson-Debose said.

The Branding Director of Tallahassee’s New Leaf Market Co-Op, Asari Fletcher, also emphasized that good marketing is the key to help a business grow. She offered advice for successfully promoting a business and attracting clientele.

“Connect with the community,” Fletcher said. “Ads and special events help attract new people.”

With strong competition from stores like Whole Foods Market and GreenWise Market, New Leaf’s marketing team also started using social media ads and special events to attract consumers to its thriving location.

New Leaf Market offers $5 dinner specials, wine tastings, and seminars to the public as a way to engage with the community.

Kalen Currie, the founder of C. Sauce Apparel, also used different social media platforms to promote his work. C. Sauce Apparel is a thriving clothing line in Tallahassee and South Florida. With the use of sites like Instagram and Twitter, Currie was able to expand his outreach. He has had orders come from New York, California and even Europe.

He has collaborated with aspiring models and photographers to help not only promote his brand but theirs as well. Currie admitted while the start was a little challenging, the end result of having his own business made it worth it.

“Stick around people with a common goal,” Currie said. “It’s important to invest in yourself.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only fifty percent of small business will succeed after the five-year mark of being founded. Currie is determined to fall into that small number of success.

Owning Bloomingtails for five years now, Hinson-Debose has managed to beat the odds of that statistic. Business is actually at the highest it’s ever been, and she and her husband have managed to grow their struggling pet salon into a business that generates six figures in annual income. These entrepreneurs remain hopeful of the future.