UNESCO Month of Design: Good Design is Good Business

Good design is good business. One could also say, good business is good design. Every touchpoint a customer has with a business — from the visual display on a website and store fixture to the way phones are answered and customer service issues are resolved — should be designed to attract revenue and invite loyalty. One touchpoint that many businesses use to engage with customers are pop-up events.

All Saints Literacy Center: A place to learn… A place to grow…

SWOT City alum All Saints Literacy Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit located in southwest Detroit that is committed to helping adults reach their educational, social and career goals by improving their literacy skills right in the heart of MexicanTown. The center is a welcoming place for learners to improve their reading, writing, math and English skills. The program serves adult learners ages 18 and older and welcomes all levels whether the person is a beginner, intermediate or advanced learner.

Shears & Shaves

Dawn Sanford always dreamt of opening her own salon. After a career spanning over 30 years, Dawn’s wish has finally come true with the grand opening of Shears & Shaves on Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion.
Shears & Shaves offers a full spectrum of luxury grooming and spa services for men and women, including haircuts and styling, coloring, beard and mustache shaves and trims, nail care, skincare, fusion massage and aromatherapy, as well as shoe shining.

Collaborations Matter

TechTown’s SWOT City team is a customized support program for brick-and-mortar small businesses in Detroit neighborhoods. As part of this support, SWOT City team members (Portfolio Managers) connect small businesses to a rich network of subject matter experts in support of their coaching efforts. This group of professionals cares about strengthening Detroit through a unique approach to commercial corridor revitalization, job creation and economic development.There are many important aspects to running a small business. In today’s competitive omnichannel sales environment, a website that connects you to customers, represents your brand, provides sales opportunities and enhances your online presence is vital.On July 3, TechTown partnered again with Rebrand Cities, a global civic design partnership with Wordpress.com, and Venture for America Fellows (VFA) to host a hackathon style event, in which 30 Detroit small businesses were assisted in developing their first websites. Two hundred VFA Fellows created new websites for businesses, led workshops and provided one-on-one sessions to help educate business owners on brand building, domain research and design.Six SWOT City businesses (including a Retail Boot Camp graduate) worked in partnership with VFA Fellows to produce new websites:Razzle Dazzle Nail Supply, Chasity Jones | razzledazzlesupply.com Triangulo Dorado, Adrian and Karina Torre | triangulo-dorado.comMangonadas del Barrio, Antonio and Maribel Hernandez | Mangonadas del BarrioLa Rosita, Angelica Saenz | larositarestaurant.comEl Caporal, Antonio and Aracely Canchola | elcaporaldetroit.comQuince Primaveras, Eulalia Piña | 15primaverasllc.com“For so many years I tried to have a website for my business,” said SWOT City client, Eulalia Piña, owner of Quince Primaveras.” This seemed almost impossible since they are very costly. Finally, I have a website where customers from Macomb, Oakland and Wayne County can see the variety and brands of gowns we carry. I am really loving my website.”SWOT City Portfolio Managers at TechTown are here to support, encourage and connect businesses with other professionals who will offer the specific expertise needed to grow your business.  TechTown has a broad network of tools and resources, including subject matter experts, workshops and the Accenture Skills to Succeed online learning platform. At TechTown we know, collaborations matter!

Next-Level Pop-up Merchandising

With a little planning and purposeful decision-making, you can create a visually stunning pop-up display that can be scaled for a variety of spaces, make a strong statement about your brand and gain the interest of new customers.Pop-ups are a great way to test products, broaden brand exposure and awareness and gain new customers. Unfortunately, many vendors underestimate the value that well-executed visual merchandising can have on gaining new customers and increasing sales. If your display is boring or unattractive, customers will keep walking by, but if you can gain their attention, you have an opportunity to convert them to a customer for life.The effort you put into your pop-up display can have a significant impact on your bottom line. Visual merchandising is an art. It doesn’t need to be complicated, simply make thoughtful and purposeful choices and create a set of tools to convey your brand story to potential customers.TechTown now offers a custom fixture library to vendors at our monthly pop-up, The SHOP, to help entrepreneurs learn and practice these three tips for next-level pop-up merchandising:

Featherstone Moments

For many minority entrepreneurs, it’s difficult to discover the proper support in communities that have not always been inclusive of everyone. Juan Carlos Dueweke-Perez created his marketing agency Featherstone Moments to address the challenges faced by businesses owners of color, women and the LGBTQ community. Find out more about how his company works with entrepreneurs and why he loves coworking at TechTown.

Flamingo Vintage

Hailing from Texas, Nikki Neuzil has always had a passion for vintage fashion. After opening and running a successful vintage store in Austin, Nikki and her husband relocated and opened a new store in Southwest Detroit. Flamingo Vintage offers men’s and women’s clothing and accessories from the 1920s through the ’80s as well as furniture and mid-century home decor. Learn more about Nikki’s time in TechTown’s Retail Boot Camp.

Steps to Launch and Grow Your Family Business

Rivers Realty, a family-owned full-service real estate brokerage company, has been a part of Detroit’s small business community for over 40 years. Founder Ron Rivers started his company after seeing a need in the black community for property managers and experts in the real estate industry. Ron’s daughter, Lauren Rivers, joined the business in 2014 as their managing broker. Today, Rivers Realty serves clients throughout Metro Detroit and has become a model for family business in the city.

Tech Startup Peerstachio Helps College Students Thrive

University of Michigan startup Peerstachio is changing the way college students find resources. Peerstachio is an online community connecting undergraduate students or high schoolers preparing to transition to college with upperclassmen for assistance with classwork or to talk about university life. During her first year as an international student in the Ross School of Business…

Kylee Guenther: Spectalite

Kylee Guenther is the CEO of Spectalite, a woman-owned company that manufactures lightweight, sustainable bamboo fiber composite materials suitable for making products such as automotive interiors, houseware, consumer products and more. Working with Gerry Roston, an entrepreneur-in-residence in TechTown’s Labs program, she has gained critical support in preparing for the growth of her company. A…