It’s been over a month since our Barbara Corcoran Seal of Approval contest winners received the opportunity of a lifetime – $10,000 to grow their businesses from OnDeck, and a private consultation session with business mogul Barbara Corcoran at OnDeck HQ in New York City.

Barbara Corcoran

We checked in with our winners to see how they put the additional capital and guidance from Barbara to use:

The Gents Place – Dallas, TX

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Owners Ben and Lauren Davis have a successful men’s grooming and lifestyle business based in the Lone Star State. Gentleman can get a haircut, grab a drink, and network at any of the four Gents Place locations.

Given their business’s popularity, Ben and Lauren believed they could take The Gents Place national through franchising, and spoke to Barbara about showcasing what The Gents Place has to offer to potential franchise owners.

With OnDeck’s $10,000 and Barbara’s advice, Ben and Lauren engaged a marketing agency focused on “tomorrow brands,” 3 Headed Monster, to create a recruitment video targeted at potential franchisees. The goal is to complete the shooting of the video by the end of February, and we’ll be sure to share some behind-the-scenes shots in our next update.

The Sugar Path – Geneva, IL

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Michelle Adams and Nina Cater opened The Sugar Path after leaving corporate America to pursue their baking passions. The Chicago-area bakery specializes in innovative desserts, including their new ‘cake jar’ products.

The sisters want to sell their cake jars nationally by expanding the online portion of their business. Barbara recommended that they first increase in-house consumer exposure to the cake jars and update the jars’ labels and branding.

Michelle and Nina went to work after seeing orders increase thanks to the social exposure from OnDeck and Barbara. The sisters reorganized their shop to put the cake jars in a bigger and better display right next to their entrance. They also created a shipping area, purchased more shipping supplies, and obtained professional photographs to display online.

Michelle and Nina spoke to Barbara about giving customers ideas on how to use the jars to announce a important milestones like the birth announcement or birthdays. As a result of that guidance, they have hired a graphic designer to design new gift packages (and hopefully share in our next update).

BodyWorksBall™ – Brick, NJ

BJ Dowlen’s muscle-recovery tool, the BodyworksBall does wonders for tightness, knots, and other pains due to improper posture and form. BJ, with her mother Diane, took a business that was shattered by Superstorm Sandy to a booming success, appearing most recently in the L.A. Times Holiday Gift Guide, O Magazine, and in national retailer, Brookstone.

BJ wanted to broaden target markets and sales opportunities for her product. Barbara recommended that BJ focus her gifted salesmanship on her best sales opportunities and prioritize her enthusiastic efforts into the most critical items.

The $10,000 prize was immediately used for inventory, packaging changes, and bar code system updates in preparation for upcoming demand due a high-profile TV appearance in February.

Her product is also featured at a highly visible boutique store Story, located on 19th St. and 10th Ave. in NYC through March 1. Story changes its product offerings every six weeks, and BJ was able to secure BodyworksBall™ a coveted spot the same day she met with Barbara at OnDeck HQ.

The social media posts with Barbara Corcoran and the OnDeck team earned BJ a call from the CEO of a national wellness chain the very next day, inquiring after her product (more info coming soon).

BJ attended the National Retailers Federation convention held at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC, where she focused her efforts on securing a deal to have her custom #Take2AndRenew recovery system using the BodyworksBall at airport lounges.

Stick to our blog and Facebook pages for next month’s update!

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