By Tracy Harmon The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Armed with a Power Point presentation, a business plan and a pitch to grow her business, seamstress LaDoris Burton walked away from a recent entrepreneur's competition with the funds she needs to purchase more equipment in order to expand.
The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo.
A Pueblo West seamstress who dove into Southern Colorado's version of "The Shark Tank" swam out victorious and hopes to soon expand her clothing line.
LaDoris Burton of Designs by LaDoris, 63 E. Spaulding, is grinning from ear to ear after winning the Southern Colorado Entrepreneur's Competition at CSU-Pueblo last month.
"It is just like the Shark Tank (television show) with venture capitalists you can pitch your business idea to and see if they want to invest," Burton said. "So I did pretty good and I was actually even able to choose who I wanted to work with I had that many offers."
Armed with a Power Point presentation, a business plan and a pitch to expand her business, Burton walked away with funds to purchase equipment so she can hire more workers to do alterations. Burton, who found herself, "swimming in prom dress" during the spring wants to be freed up to do her custom work.
She creates wedding dresses without patterns and is working on developing her own clothing line.
"I want to be able to produce my own clothing line called 'Comfortable Pockets' because all of the clothes in the line have pockets," she explained.
Her son Antwon Burton came up with the name and encourages his mom to pursue her dreams.
"In the future I hope to have a partnership with this investor. My dream would be to have a facility that has sewing space for workers, a store front, child care for the workers and a commercial kitchen all in one space so everyone's needs are being met," she said.
It all started in November 2017 when Burton, who has more than 45 years of sewing experience, decided to branch out on her own after working doing alterations for a dry cleaning business.
"I started out in a little 10 by 12 foot room here and by the end of March 2018 I moved into a bigger space that is three to four times bigger. What I realized when I came into the business is I know how to sew and I know people need alterations, but I did not have business sense," Burton said.
Enter the Small Business Development Center where Burton signed up for the Leading Edge Program's 10-week accelerator course.
"For five weeks my head was pounding there was so much information. I realized a lot of things I did not do right but then it all started clicking," she explained.
"I took whatever workshops they had and I did the boot camp and then I realized I did know more than I thought I did," she said with a laugh. "It's been a whirlwind."
As Burton wades through the prom dresses needing her attention, the motivational slogan she found to hang in her shop says it all, "Just a Girl Building an Empire."