Christy Nelson of Makit Takit had the opportunity to participate in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses (10KSB) program.
How does a craft studio owner find herself in a room with a former president of the United States, a billionaire, movie stars, and professional athletes, and follow that with private meetings with her members of congress? It started when I did a scary thing. I applied to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses (10KSB) program.
The Application Process
At the time, my business was in recovery mode from 2020. Makit Takit is a DIY craft studio with a splatter room, drop in crafts, yarn, and sewing, and we host parties and camps in Lincoln, Nebraska.
We don’t typically hobnob with politicians or pro athletes. You’ll most likely find us with our hands in slime. What business do I have applying to a program like this?
I’m so glad I didn’t give in to my first instinct that my business wasn’t important enough to be considered for a program of this caliber. I met all of the requirements to apply. I had been in business over 2 years, had at least 2 employees and made revenue over $75K in the last fiscal year. I sent in the application and then promptly forgot about it. A month later, I received an email inviting me to interview for possible acceptance into the program. They gave us some more information on what the program is like and what would be expected of us to complete it. I again started to question why they would want to help me.
Christy traveled to New York City to present her pitch for growth opportunity in front of the other scholars and representatives from Goldman Sachs.
The 10KSB program is an intensive 12-week course designed to help entrepreneurs develop an actionable growth plan and understand the bones of business by studying topics like financial statements, marketing, and negotiation. The program is free and is run by top business professionals and academics. I often describe it as a mini MBA for business owners. Once I found out that I had been accepted to the program, the real work began. We spent 10-15 hours per week in Zoom classes and had homework. It’s quite difficult for me to describe the intensity and the excitement of working together with other growth-minded entrepreneurs as we figured out how to develop solid growth opportunities for our respective businesses.
Let me tell you a little bit about my growth opportunity. I didn’t have anything in mind when I started the program. It was fun to brainstorm and get the perspective of business owners who know nothing about a business like mine. I would describe what I do and I could tell immediately what piqued everyone’s interest: the splatter room.
The splatter room is my top selling item. It can accommodate up to 6 people at a time and we have appointments every hour. We also book parties to use the room and that is our most popular party option. I decided to work on a concept of how we could make the splatter room portable.
Each week of the program had a different focus. Some weeks were harder than others. For example, I have a pretty good handle on my work culture and processes. There is definitely room for improvement but it wasn’t at all like the education I needed on numbers week. I’ve already admitted a bit of imposter syndrome from even applying to the program but where numbers were concerned, I was out of my depth. Sure, I could figure out some of the basics myself but I left most things to my bookkeeper. After working with 10KSB, I can read my profit & loss, balance sheets, and I can even do projections. I don’t enjoy doing those things, but at least I know I can.
One of my favorite weeks was how to find access to capital. We had business lenders meet with us to discuss how they make decisions and what they are looking for when small business owners come in looking for loans or lines of credit. I was able to use my new-found numbers knowledge to see if it would make sense for me to acquire some debt to fund my growth plan. We worked with the website Live Plan to work on our business growth plans, and over the weeks we filled in just about everything you could think of to present a solid growth plan to potential lenders.
In March of 2022 Makit Takit launched their pop-up splatter room, a painting experience perfect for events and parties.
The program culminated with a (free) trip to New York City to meet the members of our cohort face to face and do our pitches for our growth opportunity in front of the other scholars and some representatives from Goldman Sachs. They rolled out the red carpet for us, and I still couldn’t believe that I was part of that crowd.
There weren’t any other craft-related businesses in my cohort. I’ve been determined ever since to spread the word so more business owners in my industry can take advantage of this stellar program.
Even though my 12 weeks are over, Goldman Sachs has an app for all of the 10KSB program alumni. There are now over 12,000 small businesses that have gone through the program, and we are all connected through this shared experience. In July of 2022, we were all invited to meet in Washington, D.C. to have our voices heard by members of congress. We shared our stories and spoke about our vision for the future of small businesses in the United States, such as more access to funding, modernizing the Small Business Administration, improved employee benefits, and more. It was such an honor to represent other small businesses from my community, and I am looking forward to seeing more Craft Industry Alliance among its alumni.
In March 2022, I launched our pop-up splatter room. In the past few months we’ve had several bookings and we already have some dates booked for next year. This extra revenue stream has helped my bottom line, and I surpassed my forecasted sales goals for the first two quarters. My growth mindset didn’t end when I graduated. I’m now implementing what I have learned to expand into other areas. Stay tuned. You’ll be hearing more from the little craft studio in Nebraska that dared to dream big.
You can apply for the next cohort of 10KSB at this link: https://www.10ksbapply.com/
Christy Nelson is the owner of Makit Takit, a diy craft studio featuring a splatter room, yarn, and sewing studio. She has been in this business since 2016 and before that she ran a craft blog featuring tutorials, product reviews, and Christy’s Craft Challenge. Making things and running a business are passions and she loves to help others realize their dreams through mentoring. She’s a proud member of the Craft Industry Alliance and an alumni of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program.