Chapter 3 – Gathering the Pieces
Once the idea was spoken aloud, the work began apace. In a matter of 5 months (3 of which she was still working full time at Pepsi), Eva conducted qualitative research, developed a business plan and financial forecast, searched for a site, hit garage and estate sales, refinished furniture, started building a client base, developed a marketing plan and tackled all the other millions of tasks that a good entrepreneur must fit into her day.
Thank goodness dad, at age 78, was a willing and available first employee. Before he knew it, he was stripping furniture, fixing and refinishing it and doing re-upholstery work full time. The lease was signed in mid-September and work began the following week. The space was completely raw – only the HVAC systems and bathrooms were in place, along with a few walls here and there.
Here’s where all the project management skills developed while launching new products really came into play. Eva ended up being the on-site construction manager, coordinating carpenters, drywallers, electricians, painters and hordes of volunteers (she never fully realized how many wonderful, generous friends she had until then). Construction was completed in a matter of 5 weeks. Time was of the essence as there were already three bookings in the month of November. Sight unseen!
In preparation for our first meeting in early November, the small crew of volunteers stayed up all night putting on the finishing touches and the last pane of glass for the French doors slid into place at 5:30am. The first client arrived at 7:00am.