Sun Journal Editorial Piece
Small company off and running after big break
By Editorial Board Published on Wednesday, Sep 7, 2011 at 12:12 am | Last updated on Wednesday, Sep 7, 2011 at 12:12 am 4 Comments
Last week, we applauded several large companies that have recently helped brighten the job forecast for the Lewiston-Auburn region.
But the success of those companies shouldn't obscure the fact that most jobs in this economy are created by small businesses, some of them new and very small.
Like the EllieAnna Purse Co, owned and operated by Lewiston mom Sarah Dube Legare.
What has been a one-woman business has suddenly expanded to a work force of friends, parents, in-laws and husband after it was selected to produce 800 notepad holders for the 32nd annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards on Sept. 26.
Before Larry King gets his lifetime achievement award, invitees will be pawing through their gift bags and discovering their special notepad holders.
Even before getting the big contract, Legare was seeking final approval from the Lewiston Planning Board to turn her garage into a retail space for her hand-crafted purses.
Many a successful business has been launched from garage space, including at least two well-known computer giants, Apple and Hewlett-Packard.
While few new businesses will ever generate billions in revenue, part of the thrill of being an entrepreneur is that you just never know where the journey is going to lead.
While it's often said that starting a new venture is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration, there is also an undeniable element of luck.
And luck really struck Legare's little business last week.
"We try to find smaller companies that have been up and coming and have the potential to grow," said Off the Wall Gifts owner Val Wilson.
Wilson contacted Legare and was sold on her product and personality.
The mini list taker retails for $12.50, and has slots for a notepad, pen and extra paper - perfect for celebrity news and documentary makers who wouldn't be caught dead with a plain reporter's notebook.
Producing 800 of these beauties is no small feat. It will take 160 yards of fabric, cut into 2,400 pieces, then married to stiffer piece of material. Each item takes about 20 minutes to make.
It's a big job that will require lots of hands, including those of Legare's memere, a seamstress.
The Lewiston mom, ever the smart business person, will tuck some promotional literature into each mini list taker, including a bio and a business card.
She hopes good things will happen as her success story spreads beyond the Emmys. "I'll probably end up hiring and training somebody to help me," she said.
The start of a business empire? Or, perhaps, just a comfortable cottage industry?
Either way, it's an enterprise that wasn't here before, begun with the imagination, hard work and eager expectation that makes America great.