What do you mean by “Feasibility Assessment?”

Now What?
Now What? How do I turn this in to a new store?

Contemplation – Imagine you are a retailer contemplating this tenant space. Clearly, you might be asking yourself; “now what?” Suppose a few of the questions below move from unconscious reflection to conscious contemplation without ensuing answers, then assessing a project to see what is actually required could facilitate the decision making process and provide many benefits.

Resources – Landlord provided documents, previous project cost summaries, consultations with building departments, contractors, engineers and sometimes professional construction estimators are all resources informing project feasibility. The intent is to simplify, consolidate and summarize the probable scope of work, professional fees, construction costs and time that might be anticipated for a project. It is the purpose of a feasibility assessment and a highly recommended means of beginning most retail projects.

  • Do I need to build the walls?
  • Do I need to build the bathroom(s)
  • Why do I need 2 bathrooms?
  • Why do I need 2 entries?
  • Do I need to install the storefront system?
  • Can I use my own storefront design?
  • Do I need to have my own electric meter installed?
  • Do I need to install my own Air Conditioning and heating system?
  • What is the best mechanical system to use?
  • Is there water in the space?
  • What about hot water?
  • What about gas?
  • Where is the sewer?
  • How do I connect to it?
  • Will my store fit in this space?
  • Must I supply my own storefront sign?
  • Who will design it?
  • Can I design the store myself?
  • Can I turn a logo into a store design?
  • Where do I get the store fixtures?
  • What if I can’t find the exact fixtures that I need to display my products?
  • Are custom store fixtures required, if so who will design them?
  • What about lighting?
  • Who sets up the Point of Sale (POS) system and how do I hide the wires?
  • How do I accommodate the cabling and hard wiring for my computers?
  • How much can I expect to spend for all this?
  • A contractor told me he could build my store for $45/sq. ft. Should I believe him?
  • Do I need a building permit?
  • What does an architect charge?
  • Can I get this done in time to open before I must begin paying rent?
  • How do a pick a contractor?
  • Is the construction allowance from the landlord enough to build the store?
  • Does the location have enough parking?
  • What is the visibility from walk and drive by traffic?
  • Is this space a good choice for my project?
  • If I don’t take this space do I need to start all over with a new feasibility for a different location?

Please feel free start a discussion here and maybe even see some answers.

Bridget Gaddis, is a Licensed Architect and LEED-accredited Professional practicing nationally, and locally in the Washington DC area. She holds professional degrees in both Architecture and Interior Design, and with a comprehensive background in commercial retail design, planning and construction has completed projects for such for such well known brands as Chloe, Zegna, and Bvlgari. Her career began in tenant coordination and site planning for two well-known Cleveland developers, followed by six years in store planning for a national retailer. After a move to New York City in 1997, she spent the next years working for architecture firms specializing in retail projects. In 2011 she started her own practice in Alexandria, VA. Ms. Gaddis is the author of two blogs dealing with architectural subjects.

Meet the Founder of Nautilus Aggregates: Andrew Castrodale

  Each month, Capitol Post interviews a veteran-owned business to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly on creating a sustainable and scalable business. This month, we spoke with Andrew Castrodale, BLDC Spring ’16 Cohort Member, and Founder of Nautilus Aggregates, a startup  focused on reinventing concrete to enable sustainable, affordable infrastructure.   Name: Andrew…

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Castrodale Head Shot

Each month, Capitol Post interviews a veteran-owned business to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly on creating a sustainable and scalable business. This month, we spoke with Andrew Castrodale, BLDC Spring ’16 Cohort Member, and Founder of Nautilus Aggregates, a startup  focused on reinventing concrete to enable sustainable, affordable infrastructure.

Name: Andrew Castrodale

Where did you grow up? Concord, NC

School(s): Concord High School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Military Branch & Specialty: US Navy Submarine Officer (LT/O3)

Favorite DC-Area Restaurant:  Il Porto in Old Town

Favorite Local Activity: Running the monuments on the National Mall

Go-To Pump Up Music: Dance the Night Away by Van Halen… Close second to the opening scene of the movie Patton with George C. Scott 

Strongest-Aligned Archetype: Explorer or Hero – tough call

Tell Us About Your Family: Wife Page and two boys, Jack (4) and Lincoln (2). Page owns a business in Old town called Curated and Jack and Lincoln like to chase things.

Little Known Fact About You: I’d like to run for office one day.

Brief Business Description: Nautilus Aggregates will manufacture lightweight aggregate for concrete using a new process that will be more energy efficient and versatile than the existing process. The new process will allow waste product from quarries and mines to be used as the raw material.

Briefly tell us how you decided to become an entrepreneur: I can’t get this idea out of my head. It will make the world a better place – why would I not?

What is something you learned during your service? How does it benefit your organization today? Knowledge. Know your men and know your equipment. If you don’t, you might be likable and well-intentioned, but society and your employees will not benefit from that alone.

Who has influenced you the most in your career or organization and why? The CO of my ship, USS Springfield, when I was on board. He taught me the value of knowledge, described above, but also that very often the answer to the question is “it depends.” Too often we, especially in the nuclear navy, believe that there is a right and wrong answer in every situation. He saw the gray between the black and white and taught me to do the same.

What have you accomplished that you’re most proud of? Success within the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program. I was a non-technical major with a 2.9 GPA who had been laid off a year prior to my interview with ADM Donald for admission into the program. I was a fool to think he would even consider me, but somehow I convinced him to take a chance on me.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to another startup or entrepreneur?  I’m not afraid to fail – I’m not afraid to try. Embrace failure as an indicator of your willingness take a risk and the increased likelihood that you’ll succeed next time.

Where would you like to see your organization in ten years?

Lightweight aggregate becomes nearly cost-competitive with normal weight aggregate changing the entire industry ($23B in 2015 in the US alone).

Housing worldwide, especially in poverty-stricken regions, is less expensive, safer, and more durable.

Greenhouse gas emissions reduced

Transportation infrastructure is improved and its cost reduced, reducing cost for government and the burden on the taxpayer

Every employee of the company understands the benefit to society that he provides through the company’s operations.

Meet the Founders of Vumble: Ryan Luu & Diego Quispe

  Each month, Capitol Post interviews a business operating out of  its coworking space or a member of the Bunker Labs DC Accelerator. This month, we spoke with Ryan Luu and Diego Quispe, BLDC Spring ’16 Cohort Members, and Co-Founders of Vumble, a startup  focused on allowing viewers to discover, discuss, and vote on video clips…

RyanHeadshotDiegoHeadshot (1)Each month, Capitol Post interviews a business operating out of  its coworking space or a member of the Bunker Labs DC Accelerator. This month, we spoke with Ryan Luu and Diego Quispe, BLDC Spring ’16 Cohort Members, and Co-Founders of Vumble, a startup  focused on allowing viewers to discover, discuss, and vote on video clips to collectively determine what’s worth watching.

Name: Ryan Luu

Where did you grow up?  Rockville, Maryland

School(s): Montgomery High School, University of Maryland School of Business.

Favorite DC-Area Restaurant:  Yo Yogi’s Sushi in Germantown

Favorite Local Activity: Pickup Basketball

Go-To Pump Up Music: Hip-hop

Tell Us About Your Family: My 19 year old brother is a co-founder and Vumble’s designer. My mom is a single mother who works as an architect, my dad lives in Vietnam, his home country.

Little Known Fact About You: I aspire to take a lap around the world every year.

Brief Business Description: Vumble is a place to explore awesome videos without interruptions. Every day, viewers discover, discuss, and cote on clips to collectively determine what’s worth watching.

Briefly tell us how you decided to become an entrepreneur. I quit my first job after two days to pursue an idea for 6 second preview before videos.

Who has influenced you the most in your career or organization and why? My brother Brendan because he and I started Vumble from nothing. Now Diego is my primary influence, pushing me to learn and grow.

What have you accomplished that you’re most proud of? I’m most proud of learning to code and building Vumble’s visual expeience from scratch.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to another startup or entrepreneur?  Get real feedback, learn the ins/outs of your business and focus on the things that matter.

Where would you like to see your organization in ten years? Home of what the world’s watching across all different devices.

Name: Diego Quispe

Where did you grow up?  Cajamarca, Peru

School(s): Clarksburg High School, University of Maryland College of Computer, Mathematical, and Physical Sciences.

Favorite DC-Area Restaurant:  China Chilcano in Chinatown

Favorite Local Activity: Pickup soccer

Go-To Pump Up Music: Rock

Tell Us About Your Family: I have two siblings – one is working on his Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and the other one is a senior in high school. My mom is a housekeeper, my dad is an electrician, and we all emigrated from Peru in 2007.

Little Known Fact About You: I used to be in a rock band in high school.

Brief Business Description: Vumble is a place to explore awesome videos without interruptions. Every day, viewers discover, discuss, and cote on clips to collectively dertermine what’s worth watching.

Briefly tell us how you decided to become an entrepreneur. I interned at a company that was part of Y Combinator and I fell in love with the experience.

Who has influenced you the most in your career or organization and why? My family. We left Peru in search of the American Dream.

What have you accomplished that you’re most proud of? Back in college I started a hacker group called Terrapin Hackers. We participated in hackathons in different colleges and we took home the first ever trophy for competitive hackathons between colleges.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to another startup or entrepreneur?  Don’t wait until you have the perfect solution because that might never come. Show people what you have and get feedback very early on.

Where would you like to see your organization in ten years? I would love to see Vumble replace TV.

Meet the Staff Q+A: Harry Alford III

  Here at Capitol Post and Bunker Labs DC, we love to highlight the amazing founders, entrepreneurs, startups, staff members and mentors working in our space and engaging with our community through a fun and informative Q&A. Get to know the newest addition to our Bunker Labs staff, Harry Alford III! Name: Harry Alford III…

 

Bunker Team

Here at Capitol Post and Bunker Labs DC, we love to highlight the amazing founders, entrepreneurs, startups, staff members and mentors working in our space and engaging with our community through a fun and informative Q&A. Get to know the newest addition to our Bunker Labs staff, Harry Alford III!

Name: Harry Alford IIIHarry Headshot

Where did you grow up? I grew up in NW Washington, DC attending an all-boys school fourth through 12th grade.

School(s): I received a BA from the University of Maryland, an MA from Georgetown University and a current MBA candidate at Babson.

Military Branch & Service/Specialty*: I have not served in the military although my father is a veteran, my uncle is an Officer in the Navy and I am the grandson of one of the original five Tuskegee Airmen.

Favorite DC-area Restaurant:

I have a few! Currently, a restaurant I’m really digging is called Alfies. It’s a Thai restaurant located in the Petworth neighborhood in DC.

Favorite Local Activity:

Yoga and strength training

Tell Us About Your Family:

I have a twin brother and my parents are entrepreneurs. All currently reside in the DC area.

Little Known Fact About You:

I played professional lacrosse for two years after college.

Brief Business or Personal Description:

I’m a passionate entrepreneur.

Briefly tell us how you’ve come into your current role.

I want to help create the next generation of amazing startups and valuable companies. Bunker Labs is the perfect platform for entrepreneurs to realize and accomplish their dreams. I also want to be a good team member. The Bunker staff is phenominal!

Who has influenced you the most in your career or organization and why?

My parents have definitely had the most profound impact on my life and business acumen. Seeing them run their business for two decades is an amazing education that I couldn’t acquire at any institution. I learned through a process of osmosis by immersion in entrepreneurship since an early age.

What have you accomplished that you’re most proud of?

Scaling and exiting my own company with my brother.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to another startup or entrepreneur?

In the beginning, focus on things that don’t scale. Get out of the building and talk to your customers.

For more information on Harry and his interest, visit his blog

Kristin Csehill: Criss Naturals

 

This post about Kristin Csehill first appeared on the Start DC blog on February 2, 2016.

I’ve shared the stories of entrepreneurs like Shizu Okusa (JRINK) and Warren Brown (CakeLove), who told me that they started their ventures on the side while working full-time, growing their businesses and testing the waters before making the leap to full-time entrepreneurship. Kristin Csehill, founder of Criss Naturals, is an entrepreneur at the very start of this journey.

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In 2014, Csehill started Criss Naturals, her line of lotions made with all-natural ingredients and crafted to evoke travels and memories—“from the cloves of Stone Town…to the lavender of Paris perfumeries”—as the website explains. I recently sat down with Csehill to learn more.

I know that you work full-time as a defense contractor—what made you decide to start making lotion?

Throughout my life, I’ve had skin issues like eczema, so I’ve had a really difficult time finding lotion that worked on my skin. In 2013, I was diagnosed with a lot of food and chemical allergies and I had to start paying attention not only to what I was eating but the products I was using. I tried using other all-natural products, but they were so oily and just didn’t absorb into my skin. Especially at work, it was a problem—I can’t have oily hands at work!

I started to experiment and found a blend that is moisturizing and that absorbs. I was making the lotion for myself, and taking it with me when I traveled for work. About a year later, a friend suggested that I sell the lotion—that there were probably other people who needed it too.

I still have my full-time job and I do Criss Naturals on the side at this point. It takes a lot of money to start your own business!

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That brings me to financing. Are you self-financed? Are there any finance tips that you can share?

Yes, I’m all self-financed right now. As the business grows, I may try to take out a small business loan, but I haven’t got that far yet.

Have you noticed anything unique about starting your own business in the DMV?

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Yes! I didn’t realize how many small businesses there are in this area! There are a lot of small business associations. I worked with the Alexandria Small Business Association and they’ve helped with free social media training and publicity.

Part of the hard part about small businesses in the DMV, though, is that a lot of their networking events happen during the day and I have a full-time job, so I can’t participate. I really wish that someone here started something that was more after-hours or that wasn’t geared toward just IT.

What are your plans for the future? Where do you hope Criss Naturals will be in a couple of years?

What I’d really love is to do some online sales and have it be self-sustaining. Also, I’d love to have a boutique, and then ship globally. I want to stay true to the brand and its origins of providing all-natural skincare without making the ingredients and process too complicated.

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What is your favorite scent?

My favorite is actually London. It’s not the most popular scent overall—Singapore and Paris are the top sellers—but London is my favorite. Scent and memory are very connected. So when I smell Criss Naturals products, the scent automatically transports me back to that time and place.

I made London using bergamot essential oil and orange extract because those are the bases for Earl Gray tea. When I think of London, I think about refinement and strolling through Hyde Park and then going to have tea afterwards. Each scent is a handmade representation of that city.

It is this experience I hope to give to others, via all natural skin care. That’s why Criss Naturals tagline is ‘define your skin’s journey’People should be able to take control of what they use and put on their skin, and the experience they want to have.

Find Criss Naturals in these local stores. | Photos by G. Byrd.


Genna Byrd is the founder of Start DC. Learn more about her here and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The post Kristin Csehill: Criss Naturals appeared first on Start DC.

Veteran Owned Business Q+A – Pair

Each month, Capitol Post interviews a veteran-owned business to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly on creating a sustainable and scalable business. This month, we spoke with Pair, a technology company that brings the showroom to your living room.  Business Name: Pair Year Founded: 2015 CEO Name: Andrew Kemendo Key Members: Taylor Clark…

Each month, Capitol Post interviews a veteran-owned business to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly on creating a sustainable and scalable business. This month, we spoke with Pair, a technology company that brings the showroom to your living room. 

Pair Logo

Business Name: Pair

Year Founded: 2015

CEO Name: Andrew Kemendo
Key Members: Taylor Clark (CTO), Mike Mills (Chief Scientist), Israel Medina (VP Business Development)
HQ: Cheverly, MD
Number of Full-Time Employees: 4

Brief Business Description: 
Pair brings the showroom to your living room by letting users see over 400 virutal products in their real environment using only their iPhone or iPad Camera view.

Little-Known Fact About Your Business:
Both Taylor and Andrew started flight school for their private pilot’s licenses a month apart in 2000 before having ever met!

What makes your business unique?
We have successfully commercialized the capability to convincingly see something virtual as though it is real.

You are a veteran-owned (or led) business. How has military service influenced your company?

In every facet of the company, the lessons I learned as a commander and leader in war and peace shape how we do business. We put people first, are laser focused on the mission and do so with the highest level of integrity and transparency.

Toot your business’ horn. What have you done that you’re most proud of to date?
By far it has been moving advanced technology from the “future technology” category to “available to everyone worldwide” category. That takes a special team and the right partners.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to a start-up?
Be exceedingly responsive to, and over communicate with your core user base.

Who (or what) has had the most positive influence on your company and why?
Our network, built from our team and including our investors and product partners have brought more value to the table than anything else.

VetCap Recap – The Ins-and-Outs of Seeking Capital

Bunker Labs DC teamed up with Vets in Tech to present the ins-and-outs of seeking capital and get inside the heads of those who lend and invest. One of the most common and frustrating challenges start-ups face is access to capital. And for veterans in particular, their military experiences do not often bring them into…

Bunker Labs DC teamed up with Vets in Tech to present the ins-and-outs of seeking capital and get inside the heads of those who lend and invest.

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One of the most common and frustrating challenges start-ups face is access to capital. And for veterans in particular, their military experiences do not often bring them into this area. While many veterans can relate to “end-of-year spending” in record time (legally, of course!), most have never asked others for money to build a scalable and sustainable business.

Held at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, VetCap is part of a national series of workshops to help train veteran entrepreneurs on where and how to raise capital, as well as to connect them to a network of financing sources. Our November event consisted of a 90-minute panel followed a number of pitches from local start-ups. DC’s panel featured experts across six different types of capital:

Here are some of the nuggets we heard from our panel:

The first step of successful fundraising for your business is determining the right target audience

All capital providers have different profiles of companies they will fund. Deciding who you’ll approach for raising capital depends on: the size and stage of your business, your business sector, your path to profitability, and how much you need to raise.

Not All Funding is the Same. Here’s What Each Type Looks Like:

  • Venture Capital (VC): invests for a minority share of stock in your company; usually preferred stock security; typically $3-30 million; will be very active in your operations, typically invests over 5-8 years and exits upon IPO or acquisition
  • Angel: Generally three types of angels: 1) friends & family, 2) organized angel groups (Angel Capital Association maintains a list on its website), and 3) accredited platforms; usually a “simplified” version of the equity a VC buys or a loan that converts to equity when the company raises its next financing round.
  • Venture Debt: This is debt financing for venture equity-backed companies that lack the assets or cash flow for traditional debt financing, or that want greater flexibility. Generally structured as a three-year term loan (or series of loans), with warrants for company stock.
  • Peer/ Marketplace Lending: “Crowdfunding for debt.” Replaces the bank with individual lenders and investors. The StreetShares model is 1) Shark Tank: borrower “pitches” to investors (online picture and paragraph), 2) eBay: investors bid/compete to lend; Combine best offers into single loan
  • Crowdfunding: a new approach to raising capital for new and existing projects/businesses by presenting offerings to a large number of contributors or investors, typically over the internet. Gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to attract funds through social media, affinity groups, industry portals.
  • S. Small Business Administration (SBA): Equity financing including Guaranteed Loan Programs (Debt Financing), Bonding Program (Surety Bonds), Venture Capital Program

Here are the Types of Companies that Each are Looking to Invest In:

  • Venture Capital: Companies with the potential to grow rapidly (50-100%+ per year) that are targeting a large market (usually $500 million or more). Companies that are creating a new market or disrupting a big, existing one. Fast growth, productive, high margin.
  • Angel: Most likely looking for high-growth companies with a great team and traction.
  • Venture debt: Often tech companies with strong management teams who have raised a large seed or Series A round with reputable investors. Looking for serial entrepreneurs with a track record of success, strong management teams, and the ability to execute. Also like companies that have reputable investors and well-known funds that offer more than just money.
  • Peer/ Marketplace Lending: Any small business/startup with: at least 1 year in business, some revenue, principal with reasonable credit. Looking for companies that have generated revenue, are creditworthy and have a great story.
  • Crowdfunding: Varies by stage of development – Crowdfunding outlets are developing for all stages. Looking for good leadership, a clear idea and ask, and a clear strategy.
  • S. Small Business Administration (SBA): Like all lenders, SBA is looking for candidates with the 3 c’s: credit, character, and capacity. Looking for planning, creativity, ethic and preparation.

For the final portion of the evening, the panel listened to pitches from a number of start-ups to include: Bunker Labs DC start-ups SRV’D, Snowcreek Consulting, RECON and locals Steptoe Group, LLC, Pair, MATBOCK, and ReVest.

“VetCap was a great event. The panel was top-notch and did a great job explaining the “how” and “why” behind what investors are looking for. The opportunity to pitch and connect with local investors was well worth it,” said Snowcreek Consulting Partner Suzanne Dougherty.

We look forward to co-hosting our next VetCap event in fall 2016. For those who are interested in future sessions like VetCap, consider becoming a member of Bunker Labs DC to learn more from similar experts and founders. Please contact Mary Iafelice at [email protected].