Napa Sonoma SBDCSanta Rosa and Napa, California

"I have many people and organizations to thank for helping position me where I am today, and one of them is the SBDC. I still remember walking in and meeting with one of the SBDC consultants. I won't lie, he was tough as nails, and he made me want to prove to myself I could do it and go after what I wanted even more: my own business."

Folia Design

Background
Folia Design is a multi-disciplinary graphic design studio located in Napa, California, with a national base of clients. They focus on impactful communications that help clients promote, educate and entertain their audiences through print, web and package design.

Challenges
As an award-winning designer, founder Julia Allen spent 12 years in the Chicago agency world. Working at large and small-scale design firms, non-profit organizations and teaching undergraduate design courses, Julia was armed with experiences that would help her launch Folia Design, which she relocated to Napa in 2002.

Actions taken
She met some of the newly established businesses in Napa's Riverfront District and began to work with the SBDC's programs of starting a business. It was too good to be true. It seemed that there were several opportunities that presented themselves for design work: those being many of the Riverfront District's businesses, the Napa Valley Opera House, Copia and the Napa Downtown Association. Julia of course put her nose to the grind stone and was ecstatic over the overwhelming positive openness these businesses were entrusting in her. Soon, she was building up a great portfolio of work and a steady pace of wonderful clients.

"In my previous work environments, I was allowed opportunities that became the basis for strong work ethic, creative exploration, good business development and relationship management - all to later blend into unique set of skills for a personal and professional working style that sets no limits while within a comfortable atmosphere with clients," Julia said. Thus far, Folia Design is proving successful with a continuously flourishing business that has a track record of winning awards each year.

Results
Julia worked with SBDC advisors in 2003 and in 2004 completed her business plan as a product of taking the SBDC’s NxLevel business planning class.

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Funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the California Governors Office for Business and Economic Development, and other private and public partners;  and nationally accredited by the association of SBDCs.