A Look Back at Our 10 Questions Series in 2021

Written by: Brady Drake

For two years now, John Machacek, Chief Innovation Officer for the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, has been asking entrepreneurs the questions that matter. We caught up with a few of the companies he featured in the last calendar year to learn more about what they’ve had in the works.

Field of View, David Dvorak

One of the things about your story that we touched on is the fact that you started FOV while you were still in school. Do you have any advice for other young entrepreneurs out there?

If you are old enough to have observed a problem that can be solved profitably, then you are old enough to start a business. Life only gets more complicated the older you get, so consider taking a chance while you have less to lose if things don’t work out. With this being said, be sure to seek the guidance necessary to succeed (by enrolling in a program like Innovate ND, for example).

Bogo Brush, Heather McDougall

I hear that Bogo is now on Selfridges! I know that might not mean much to our readers, so could you explain to them what a big deal that is!? How did you make it happen?

Yes we are! Selfridges Department Store is based in London, UK and has been voted World’s Best Department Store by multiple publications in multiple years. It features the highest-end products alongside world-changing brands. Bogobrush is included in their Project Earth Edit. A collection of brands we’re so proud to be part of. Selfridges is known for amazing marketing campaigns, and we’re excited to see what may unfold!

We made this happen through our great sales team and strategy. Through attending and investing in trade shows like ECRM and FounderMade, our team cultivated a relationship with the Selfridges buyer. Supported by a strong presence on other channels like Amazon and retailer platforms like Faire and RangeMe, Selfridges could trust in us to deliver on our promises.

Good product, good team, and showing up. Cheers to international growth and impact!

Project Phoenix, Anthony Molzahn

What has changed for Project Phoenix over the course of 2021?

The biggest change over the course of 2021 is that we have converted our company from an LLC to a C-Corp, and we were accepted into a fast-growing accelerator, Newchip, to guide us in our pursuit towards global adoption of our core technology. Just a few weeks ago, we formally made the decision to open up a Seed Round for investment and it is going better than I ever could have hoped for! 2021 has been an absolutely huge year for Project Phoenix.

Joho, Jim Rohde

What is something valuable you have learned over the past year?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help… in our personal lives and professional careers, no one knows everything about anything, so be willing to seek advice, ask questions, and continuously reflect on what you learn.

Red E, Matthew Faul and Jesse Faul

Congratulations on making the Inc 5,000 list for the first time! What did that honor mean to you?

It’s a confirmation that we have favor from above, are doing the right things, going the right direction, and have the right talent. We are so blessed!

Heat Transfer Warehouse, Kirk Anton

I assume a consistent supply chain is very important in your industry. Have you encountered any challenges with that lately and if so, how did you address the challenges?

Supply is very tough and in our industry, it is very hard to get heat presses and sublimation blanks since they mostly come out of China, Heat Transfer Warehouse has had to source from more than one source to make sure we have plenty of options and stock.

We have overbought products just to have stock for the Christmas season. We have used Airfreight on some lightweight products to allow us the flexibility of having new products more quickly and on time for the season. Finally, we have new partnerships with even competitors to gain access to products.

Unglued, Ashley Morken

I have to assume this time of year is very busy for Unglued with the holidays coming up. Do you have any tips for other business owners out there on how to make sure a “busy season” goes as smoothly as possible?

During the crazy holiday season, my best advice is to still have fun, stay flexible and have an amazing crew to work with who love the holiday season. It can be easy for the days to get away from you as inventory piles up or you have to put out some unexpected “fire,” but keeping things just as merry behind the scenes as the front scenes makes it all so much more enjoyable and something to look forward to every year. While I do plan each day out to keep up with our shop, events and custom corporate orders, I don’t expect any day to fully go as planned during this season. I try to stay flexible with my time as much as I can. And having a crew who looks forward to this season continues to infuse joy and fun into it! And drink coffee.

Elinor Coatings, Holly Anderson and Dante Battocchi

How does Elinor Coatings plan to use the $750,000 in LIFT funding it just received?

We were approved for a $750,000 LIFT loan to use for working capital, inventory and product testing to launch new products.

Sign Badgers, Justin Nelson

What business trends do you see around the corner in 2022?

We started seeing an upward tick at the end of 2021 and we completely anticipate events and tradeshows making a full-swing comeback in 2022. It is an industry that directly affects us, so that’s probably why our heads went there.

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.