Through the support of people in the Chippewa Valley, we awarded four grants to women owned start-ups in 2017. Below they share the impact the grant had on their businesses.
Odd Brand Strategy
We were so fortunate to have received one of the first-ever Red Letter Grants, and so honored to have been in the running along with many other amazing women-owned businesses. The application process was a great exercise for us in how to analyze our business model and structure, and the interview process gave us an opportunity to talk about our business within a professional setting. After being awarded one of the grants, the judges offered very necessary feedback on what we could do to improve our business plan, reach out to new clients, etc. which we have taken to heart.
The Red Letter Grant is such an amazing program, and a great opportunity for female-identifying small businesses owners to get a jumpstart on bringing their visions to life. Not only is this grant financially helpful, but the feedback after the process was so important in guiding us in the right direction. They have continued to follow up periodically since our launch which is great to make sure we’re still on the right path. We really couldn’t be thankful enough for the support of the Red Letter Grant, and look forward to seeing it’s success! Learn more about Odd Brand Strategy.
As a recipient of the Red Letter Grant through Becca’s leadership, my business, Melnaturel, has seen tremendous growth and success. The grant submission, implementation and review process was inspiring and rewarding in so many ways - beyond just monetary reasons. Becca met with me individually after I received the grant to give me all of the feedback she and the judges gathered.
Since that day I have been able to hit the ground running and have been running ever since. Her candid conversations and advice have helped me grow professionally as a business owner in ways I never thought imaginable as a first-time business owner who hasn’t hit the one-year mark.
My sales have increased significantly, I’ve received lots of amazing recognition, and I’ve been able to expand into the wholesale market. Much of my success can be attributed to her counsel and the confidence she had in me and my business. Without her guiding push and inspiration, I’m not sure where’d I’d be. Learn more about Melnaturel.
Giizhig Design Company
The Red Letter Grant literally changed my life. When I heard about it, something sparked in me and I began to take steps to transform a daydream into reality. I spent the next several months researching and building my business plan, a process that forced me to consider all of the small details that seem mundane but are actually essential in starting a business. Eventually, months of tweaking my plan and deciding how to fulfill my overall goals brought me the night of presentations in front of the judging panel. Sure, there were nerves, but all of the work that I had done prepared me and I just explained why I was so passionate about what I wanted to do.
Being awarded the grant was a complete honor and it has helped in so many ways. The grant not only covered all of the start up costs for Giizhig Design Company, but it also gave me motivation to step out of my comfort zone, introduced me to a network of caring and empowering women, and gave my business exposure that most struggle greatly for in the beginning. Now, I can proudly say that I am an Indigenous business owner. One of the best parts is that I’m surrounded by supportive mentors willing to lend advice whenever it’s needed. The Red Letter Grant is truly shifting the environment for women entrepreneurs and it’s going to have a huge impact for many years to come. Learn more about Giizhig Design Company.
“Now, I can proudly say that I am an Indigenous business owner. One of the best parts is that I’m surrounded by supportive mentors willing to lend advice whenever it’s needed."
— Brittany Tainter
Opening Moonrise Aerials was a dream come true for Michelle and I. Aerial & circus arts is one of my passions that has brought me so much confidence and happiness; Michelle and I really wanted to share this art with other women in the Chippewa Valley by offering classes. We started out small and grew organically with the help of this grant. The Red Letter Grant application process was such a wonderful experience, helping us to get valuable feedback and support from fellow female business owners. Listening to the other business owners' presentations was so inspiring--there are so many creative, smart ladies in the Chippewa Valley! We were overjoyed when we found out that we won.
Michelle had applied for the Red Letter Grant previously and we found the judge's panel's feedback and advice incredibly useful. This grant also has created a sense of community among local female business owners--we've actually partnered with several of the other Red Letter Grant affiliated businesses to offer unique, collaborative promotions. Additionally, the financial support of the grant and the donations from Ambient Inks and Volume One allowed us to invest in additional equipment, merchandise, and advertising. The exposure is amazing too! Learn more about Moonrise Aerials.
-Rachel Duffenbach, co-owner of Moonrise Aerials