Weddings are magical events for many people, and Stacey Shiring is adding her own dash of magic to the proceedings of local brides. Shiring, the owner of Bridal Divas Ink, is the newest graduate and recipient of a business loan of $25,000 from Bad Girl Ventures, a local company focused on financially helping women business owners.
Shiring has created a business that offers an easy-to-use service, both online and in person, in which brides and grooms can design and purchase unique wedding invitations, stationery, announcements, thank you cards and more.
Local artists, designers and graphic artists submit all designs. Brides and grooms have the opportunity to combine stylistic features from various designs, add monograms and modify the designs reflecting the look, feel and personality of their wedding.
In the current economic climate, starting a new business can be trying. Shiring turned to Bad Girl Ventures for help and advice. Founded by Candace Klein, an entrepreneur and attorney with Ulmer & Berne LLP, BGV is a combined micro-lending and business training program for women.
Shiring was selected as one of 10 local female entrepreneurs to participate in BGV’s program. Businesses eligible for participation are any female-owned firm in the restaurant, retail or professional sectors that have been in operation for less than five years. Participants then must attend an orientation seminar, participate in eight classes and complete a business plan, loan application and a Women’s Business Enterprise application.
During the program, participants are trained on various topics including designing and implementing a business plan, online and traditional marketing, pricing products and accounting.
Also, participants have the opportunity to seek advice from local businesspeople and network with other start-up firms. At the end of the program, participants graduate and one person is chosen to receive a $25,000 business loan to reinvest in her company.
“It’s completely changed my business,” Shiring said. “It’s just an amazing source of industry professionals and mentors.”
According to BGV’s website, “women own 50 percent of all privately held companies but only have access to 5 percent of traditional capital.” Organizations like BGV are designed to close the gap and help ideas become reality for female business owners in the Cincinnati area.
“I think that, especially as women business owners, a lot of times we don’t ask for the things that we need,” Shiring says. “We’re used to taking care of everybody else. So, I think they really start to give you a voice and really show you how to use it.”
Shiring and Bridal Divas Ink are quickly making a name for themselves. Bridal Divas Ink recently earned “The Knot Wedding 2012 Pick” award for wedding stationery by The Knot, a magazine and online site focused on providing brides and grooms with tools, resources, wedding planning information and more. The company has also received rave reviews from customers.
Additionally, Shiring and Bridal Divas Ink strive to give back to the community. Every designer who contributes artwork to the design database must agree to volunteer in the community. Shiring is involved with Cincy Dream Days, a nonprofit organization focused on making wishes come true for children and families who are facing terminal illnesses. It is their goal to create happy experiences for families that are staying at Cincinnati’s Ronald McDonald House.
For Shiring, Bad Girl Ventures has become her second family, one made up of mentors and fellow businesswomen.
“It’s definitely a tight network of women who support each other, work hard for each other to make sure that we’re not just building our business but the other businesses around us,” she says.
For more information about Bridal Divas Ink or Bad Girl Ventures, visitwww.bridaldivasink.com and www.badgirlventures.com .