Emily Byrnes has always focused on opportunity. At the age of 8, she began her first small hobby-based business with the launch of Marley’s Munchies, selling homemade dog treats at farmers markets and craft shows. Even at such an early age, achieving efficiencies to maximize profits was a concept Emily understood when she streamlined her product to eliminate the baking process and instead offered for sale the packaged mix, instructions and a cookie cutter. Less time baking meant more time making…money that is.
Fast forward to the ripe old age of 20 and Emily realized she was missing her calling as an entrepreneur. “I grew up in Holland, where there are small, cute, boutiques on every corner,” says Emily. “As a newcomer to Battle Creek, I could envision that boutique feel in downtown Battle Creek and it became by mission to bring a unique and stylish line of clothing and accessories to the community”. With an upscale feel and affordability in mind, Embyr Boutique was born.
Emily shared that the beginning of Embyr was difficult: “I knew I had a good idea that could be successful, but I had very little idea how to start the process of building a real business beyond my childhood hobby models. The Small Business Development Fund helped me to understand the legal and financial structures to support the business and even helped to guide me in securing a DBA and understanding how to do financial projections to best manage cash flow.” The assistance with these matters freed up Emily’s time to focus on other critical aspects of her business plan, including finding the right space to launch in and sourcing stylish products at affordable prices. Finding a few local product sources proved to be a short-term solution to help vet the model. “Partnering to offer Out on a Whim’s product line within Embyr has allowed me to be creative with a broader product line at this early stage of business,” Emily added.
The opportunity to launch at BC Cargo allowed for a lower cost of entry to test product lines and the market before making a full-fledged commitment to a longer term lease. The community-based marketplace model provides customer flow to small businesses that may otherwise fly under the radar; neighboring businesses feed off one another to create a shopping destination.
Moving forward, Emily is looking forward to the opportunity to grow Embyr. “Now that I have seen my business model in action, I know there is so much more I can do. I am excited to find a more permanent location in the general area of downtown Battle Creek. Down the road I see great potential to grow my brand and fulfill my dream of designing my own line”.
"“Whether you think you can or think you can’t… You’re right.” "--Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company