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Local entrepreneur wins instant cash capital at ‘Thrive’

ThriveLogoThanks to the Charleston Area Alliance, one young entrepreneur now has cash capital for her startup business.

Katie Rugeley, owner of The Initialed Life LLC, defeated seven other businesses earlier this week at “Thrive,” the Alliance’s annual crowdfunding event.

Last month, a blind panel selected eight Kanawha Valley-based entrepreneurs, with five or fewer employees, out of a pool of applicants.

These entrepreneurs each worked with Robinson Creative to produce pitch videos to promote their business and need for crowd funds.

To attend and participate in “Thrive,” community members paid $20 a ticket. In return, they received beverages and food, but more importantly, they got to vote for the entrepreneur that they wanted to support.

The entrepreneur with the most votes received $20 times the number of attendees as cash capital to invest in their business.

Rugeley was the night’s top vote getter. She won $4,200 in cash capital for her business, which specializes in custom monogrammed and embroidered items.

Click HERE to view Rugeley’s pitch video.

With the money, Rugeley plans to buy a second commercial embroidery machine, which will help double her output.

The Alliance is proud to help entrepreneurs earn seed capital for their businesses.

“Thrive” is a program of the Charleston Area Alliance and part of the Innovation driver of its Vision 2030 initiative.

Project partners include Generation Charleston, the Alliance’s young professionals group, Blue Creek Gas Company, Terrell Ellis & Associates, WV Jobs Investment Trust Board, BB&T and Industrial Bolting.

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admin in Announcements,In the News,THRIVE on September 19 2014 » 0 comments

Local designer takes fashion world by storm

10347802_487687844700642_2347749083498344309_nEveryone has a story and Morgan Richards’ begins with “I Love Lucy.”

As a young girl, Richards, a Kanawha Valley native, loved the heart shaped, black and white silhouettes that were featured during the credits on the classic 1950’s television show.

It was the beginning of a love affair with fashion and design. What followed was a youth filled with designing clothes on sketch pads.

“I used to say that I wanted to design swimsuits, but not shoes and handbags,” Richards said. “That’s so funny, because that is my niche now.”

Richards has taken her talents to the big time with her company, Morgan Rhea. She hand assembles timeless pieces with personalized designs and superb craftsmanship.

The pieces are designed for the ”individual who wants to express their personal journey through an accessory that is a conversation in its self.”

Currently, Richards is working out of the Charleston Area Alliance’s small business incubator. Located at 1116 Smith Street, the incubator offers an affordable office and warehouse environment, along with the business coaching and consulting necessary to make sure startups or expanding businesses succeed.

“The Alliance and the West Virginia Small Business Development Center have been amazing,” Richards said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if (Alliance President/CEO) Matt Ballard did not push and guide me into the right direction. Morgan Rhea would not be where it is today if it wasn’t for the kindness that the Alliance and the Small Business Development Center has shown us.”

Richards graduated from South Charleston High School and attended the Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College, where she received an associate’s degree in fashion merchandising.

“It was an amazing school to go to,” Richards said. “I was able to see if fashion was what I really wanted to do and I had great professors.”

She then continued her education at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Georgia, where she focused on accessory design.  After graduating from the school in May, Richards was still undecided on her career.

That changed in June when she won the “Best Student Made Handbag” award at the International Handbag Designer Awards. She won the award for “The Ronald,” which was a buffalo leather briefcase that she designed.

The awards ceremony, which was held in New York City, was judged by industry professionals from fashion conglomerates, such as Kenneth Cole and Kate Spade.

“Winning the competition helped launch my business into the right direction because my briefcase is currently in the September issue of InStyle Magazine,” Richards said.

Richards netted an apprenticeship at handbag mecca, Coach, and was given the opportunity to design and present singer-songwriter John Legend with a pair of shoes that she made.

On Thursday from 5-8 p.m., Richards’ work will be featured at Tony the Tailor during Downtown ArtWalk. She will showcase her current collection, “Silently Speaking Gratitude.”

Richards’ said the collection is inspired by people in her life and their journeys in this world.

“Each of the stories is laser etched onto the accessory,” Richards said. “For example, I have a tote bag and duffle bag that I designed and it has my aunt’s story about her journey through breast cancer written on it.”

Richards will be selling leather phone cases, tassel key chains and small wallets. She will also be taking pre-orders for the “The Ronald” briefcase.

Charleston Area Alliance President/CEO Matt Ballard predicts Morgan Rhea will be a household name very soon.

“Morgan’s designs are amazing and her ability to make quality handmade accessories that anyone would want to have and to personalize them with your own story has tremendous value in the marketplace,” Ballard said. “The Alliance specializes in assistaning small start-up businesses and I am excited about the future success of Morgan Rhea.”

For more information on Morgan Rhea and to view Richards’ accessories, visit her website at www.morganrhea.com.

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admin in Announcements,Downtown ArtWalk,Events on September 17 2014 » 0 comments

Invest in Kanawha Valley’s next business star tonight at Power Park

ThriveLogo“Thrive”
Wednesday, Sept. 17
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Appalachian Power Park
601 Morris Street

Don’t miss the area’s premier crowdfunding event tonight at Appalachian Power Park.

At “Thrive,” startups have a chance to receive an infusion of cash capital through fresh and innovative means.

Last month, a blind panel selected eight Kanawha Valley-based entrepreneurs, with five or fewer employees, out of a pool of applicants.

These entrepreneurs each worked with Robinson Creative to produce pitch videos to promote their business and need for crowd funds.

You can view the pitch videos HERE.

To attend and participate in tonight’s event, community members will pay $20 a ticket. In return, they will get to partake in beverages and food, but more importantly, they get to vote for the entrepreneur that they want to support.

The businesses vying for crowdfunding include:

  • Smart Shared Services LLC
  • Hoopalytics, Inc
  • Wanda Petunia LLC
  • The Initialed Life LLC
  • PetRecon, LLC
  • Crayon Lacing
  • Uncork & Create
  • Wild On Fitness, LLC

At tonight’s event, each business owner will show a 60-second pitch video and answer questions from the audience. The entrepreneur with the most votes will receive $20 times the number of attendees as cash capital to invest in their business.

Click HERE to register for the event.

Online registration is $21.50 per person. From the fee, $20 will directly support the entrepreneur. The extra $1.50 covers online processing fees.

Tickets will also be sold at the door for $20. Cash is preferable.

“Thrive” is a program of the Charleston Area Alliance and part of its Vision 2030 initiative.

Project partners include Generation Charleston, the Alliance’s young professionals group, Blue Creek Gas Company, Terrell Ellis & Associates, WV Jobs Investment Trust Board, BB&T and Industrial Bolting.

This event is a featured attraction in the “Work” element of Generation Charleston’s Urban Living week.

For any questions on Thrive, contact Cullen Naumoff at CNaumoff@CharlestonAreaAlliance.org or by phone at 304-340-4253.

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admin in Announcements,Events,THRIVE on September 17 2014 » 0 comments

Join the Alliance for a special ribbon cutting event on Sept. 17

urlEdible Arrangements Grand Reopening and Ribbon Cutting
Wednesday, Sept. 17
12:30 p.m.- 1:30 p.m.
4 River Walk Plaza, South Charleston

Edible Arrangements will have a grand reopening and ribbon cutting celebration this Wednesday, Sept. 17 at its River Walk Plaza location in South Charleston   The business, which is specializes in gourmet fruit arrangements, is owned and operated by four former members of Generation Charleston and their spouses. The group acquired the business earlier this year.   Generation Charleston, sponsored by BrickStreet Insurance, is the voice of the Capital City’s emerging leaders.

The Charleston Area Alliance formed the group in 2006 to create opportunities for young professionals to get connected and engaged and make a difference in the Charleston area. More than 1,100 people are involved in the organization.

“We thrilled that our young professionals program, which was designed to keep and retain young people in the region, has brought this group together for this business investment,” said Matt Ballard, president and CEO of the Charleston Area Alliance. “It’s a great thing for this area.”

In addition to the ribbon cutting, samples of edible treats, including everything from chocolate-dipped strawberries to pineapple daisies, will also be available.

RSVPs are appreciated, but not required. Click HERE to RSVP

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admin in Announcements,Events on September 16 2014 » 0 comments

Fall into ArtWalk this Thursday

aw.logo.cmykDowntown ArtWalk
Thursday, Sept. 18
5-8 p.m.

Downtown ArtWalk continues its twelfth season with a special September edition this Thursday from 5-8 p.m.

ArtWalk, a Charleston Area Alliance program sponsored by Masters Law Firm, is a monthly event that draws hundreds of residents and visitors to downtown Charleston for a festive evening of culture and commerce.

The purpose of ArtWalk is to help revitalize downtown and to promote economic development through the arts.

This month’s ArtWalk is part of Generation Charleston’s Urban Living 2014 event. The event, a celebration of the “live, work and play” atmosphere of downtown Charleston, will be held from Sept. 15-20 at various location. Visit www.CharlestonAreaAlliance.org for more information.

Check out what’s also in store for the September ArtWalk:

Art Emporium
823 Quarrier Street

Art Emporium will feature recent works by Emily Roles and Traci Higginbotham.

Delfine’s Jewelry
245 Capitol Street

Delfine’s Jewelry will feature the artwork of Michelle Anderson for the September ArtWalk.

Charleston Ballet
100 Capitol Street

On Sept. 18, Art Walkers are invited to visit the Charleston Ballet studios from 5-8 p.m. for a drink and a snack. Participate in the creation of our Charleston Ballet rain barrel titled, “Bottoms Up.”. Also, view the artwork of Emily Griffith at the ballet studios, along with photos from our extensive library of ballets. Watch dancers from the Charleston Ballet in class and rehearsal for upcoming performances of “Romeo and Juliet.”

Gallery Eleven
1025 Quarrier Street

Pat Roberts is Gallery Eleven featured artist for ArtWalk. Roberts works in watercolors, acrylics, found items and multimedia.

Capitol Conference Center
815 Lee Street

The Capitol Conference Center will feature artist Travis Morton during the September ArtWalk. FOOTMAD will also be showcasing their talents along with the Open Street Jam.

Only One Look
110 Capitol Street

During ArtWalk, Only One Look will have coal sculptures made from coal mined in McDowell County.  Original art by West Virginia native Jamie Power titled, “It Came from McDowell County,” will also be featured. ArtWalkers will also be able to enjoy all of the store’s Halloween themed Fenton glass and “Cycle of Coal” coins.

The Art Store
233 Hale Street

The Art Store will feature the Nellie Rose Textiles trunk show of hand-dyed silk clothing and accessories during ArtWalk. Nellie Rose Davis is a native West Virginian and daughter of textile artists specializing in shibori, a Japanese method of resist dye. The textile collection will be on display during regular business hours from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday Sept. 19 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20.

Tony the Tailor
822 Virginia Street

Tony the Tailor is proud to have Morgan Richards, the designer of Morgan Rhea Bespoke Leather Goods, as its guest artist for September’s ArtWalk. Tony the Tailor believes Richards will put West Virginia on the fashion map, as one of the best leather goods makers in the world. Tony The Tailor is offering 20 percent off of Richard’s products during ArtWalk, in conjunction with the store’s Anniversary Sale.

Woomer Nistendirk & Associates
231 Capitol Street

Woomer, Nistendirk and Associates will be featuring artist Jean Pennington for this month’s Artwalk.

Romano & Associates
230 Capitol Street

Charleston Daily Mail photographer Bob Wojcieszak will display his collection of portraits from Harvest Time titled, “Faces of the Redeemed” at Romano and Associates. For more information, check out this Daily Mail article HERE.

Other participating venues include:

The Boutique by B.Belle Events
Chet Lowther Studio
Christina DiFillippo at Zando’s Catering Unlimited
Ivor’s Trunk
Mission Savvy
Modern by Design
The Purple Moon
Stray Dog Antiques
Taylor Books and Annex Gallery
Timothy’s/Quarrier Diner
Uncork & Create
West Virginia Executive

For more information, visit www.CharlestonArtWalk.org.

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admin in Announcements,Downtown ArtWalk,Events on September 16 2014 » 0 comments

Member Market: Rejoice in a kaleidoscope of sound this weekend

Member Market:
By Alliance Members for Alliance Members

This “Member Market” is a paid announcement sent by the Alliance on behalf of a member to business and community leaders and young professionals.

CAA Eblast Image 2

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admin in Announcements,Member Market on September 16 2014 » 0 comments

Brown Bag Concert this Friday at Davis Park

BrownBagConcert11x17revisedMTSeptbrownThis Friday, grab your lunch and head to Davis Park for free live music at the Brown Bag Concert.

A Charleston Area Alliance program, the concert will feature a football tailgate theme with music from the West Virginia State University Jazz Ensemble and the St. Albans High School Marching Dragons.

Wear your favorite high school, college or professional football team gear.

The concert is the one of many programs and projects to come out of the “Imagine Charleston” plan.

Several Charleston restaurants are offering lunch specials for guests to enjoy at the concert.

The restaurants offering brown bag specials include: Bridge Road Bistro Food Truck, Pies & Pints Pizzeria, Swiftwater Café and Swiftwater General Store.

For more information and full descriptions of the lunchtime food specials, click HERE.

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admin in Announcements,Events on September 15 2014 » 0 comments

Invest in Kanawha Valley’s next business star on Sept. 17

ThriveLogo“Thrive”
Wednesday, Sept. 17
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Appalachian Power Park
601 Morris Street

Don’t miss the area’s premier crowdfunding event on Sept. 17.

At “Thrive,” startups have a chance to receive an infusion of cash capital through fresh and innovative means.

Last month, a blind panel selected eight Kanawha Valley-based entrepreneurs, with five or fewer employees, out of a pool of applicants.

These entrepreneurs each worked with Robinson Creative to produce pitch videos to promote their business and need for crowd funds.

You can view the pitch videos HERE.

On Sept. 17, an event will be held starting at 5:30 p.m. To attend and participate in the event, community members will pay $20 a ticket. In return, they will get to partake in beverages and food, but more importantly, they get to vote for the entrepreneur that they want to support.

The businesses vying for crowdfunding include:

  • Smart Shared Services LLC
  • Hoopalytics, Inc
  • Wanda Petunia LLC
  • The Initialed Life LLC
  • PetRecon, LLC
  • Crayon Lacing
  • Uncork & Create
  • Wild On Fitness, LLC

At the end of the night, the entrepreneur with the most votes will receive $20 times the number of attendees as cash capital to invest in their business.

The entrepreneurs will attend the event on Sept. 17 where they will be available to answer questions to community attendees.

Click HERE to register for the event.

Online registration is $21.50 per person. From the fee, $20 will directly support the entrepreneur. The extra $1.50 covers online processing fees.

Tickets will also be sold at the door for $20. Cash is preferable.

“Thrive” is a program of the Charleston Area Alliance and part of its Vision 2030 initiative.

Project partners include Generation Charleston, the Alliance’s young professionals group, Blue Creek Gas Company, Terrell Ellis & Associates, WV Jobs Investment Trust Board, BB&T and Industrial Bolting.

The Sept. 17 event will be a featured attraction in the “Work ” element of Generation Charleston’s Urban Living Event.

For any questions on Thrive, contact Cullen Naumoff at CNaumoff@CharlestonAreaAlliance.org or by phone at 304-340-4253.

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admin in Announcements,Events,THRIVE on September 03 2014 » 0 comments

2014 ‘Thrive’ Videos Released

“Thrive” is a crowdfunding initiative to generate capital for Kanawha Valley-based  businesses with 30 employees or fewer. The event will occur on Sept. 17 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. A blind panel has selected eight entrepreneurs to be featured as part “Thrive.” In partnership with Robinson Creative, these entrepreneurs produced pitch videos to promote their business and need for crowd funds.

Watch the videos below and cast your vote for the winner on Sept. 17. For full event info and to register to attend, click HERE.

 

 

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admin in Announcements,Events,THRIVE on September 03 2014 » 0 comments

Don’t miss the next Business After Hours on Sept. 11

FergusonBiggerFerguson Enterprises
Business After Hours

Thursday, Sept. 11
5-7 p.m.
Ferguson Enterprises
160 Spring St.

Register now and take advantage of early bird registration rates for the next Business After Hours.

Ferguson Enterprises will be hosting the event in its colorful showroom. Relax with friends and enjoy food, beverages and live music.

The event is scheduled from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11. at 160 Spring St. The early bird rate is $15 for Alliance members and $25 for future members.

Register here

Online advance registration ends at 5 p.m. on Sept. 10. Prices at the door are $25 for Alliance members and $35 for future members.

Business After Hours offer fantastic opportunities to meet the region’s leaders in a relaxed setting, all while enjoying food, drinks and entertainment.

The Alliance will be able to invoice only for groups of 10 or more.

The Alliance cannot issue cancellation refunds within 48 hours of the event. Thank you!

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admin in Announcements,Events on September 03 2014 » 0 comments

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