Leather crafters Louise Comora and Gail Fivis met at a networking event, and discovered they were both trained by the same woman: a master leather artisan formerly of Hermes. They were both established in their careers — Comora owned a medical billing company and Fivis had managed human resources for luxury hotels for 30 years — but they both dreamed of owning their own boutique. Together, they merged their skills and pride for finely crafted leather goods to open a shop and atelier, Bohlux.
But as the women started their journey as leather goods producers, they knew they needed guidance. They called on SCORE to help them navigate the processes and regulations that were necessary for a successful venture.
Bohlux offers high-end luxury leather goods made with class techniques like saddle stitching, rolled handles, and finished-detail edging. To learn more about Bohlux, visit bohlux.com.
Since the boutique opened in September 2015, the pair has focused on increasing brand awareness in their community. “Advertising is very expensive, so a major challenge is determining how much you can spend or should spend, and where to spend on advertising,” Fivis says.
“Richard was always guiding us and ensuring that we were addressing everything we needed to do in order to be set up for success,” Fivis says. “We opened successfully with a soft opening and have since had our grand opening event, so we are delighted and feel we will be quite successful moving forward.”
Comora and Fivis connected with mentor Richard Fivis from the San Francisco SCORE chapter. “It’s very easy to drift away from completing the tasks you do not like or are out of your skill set, and he was amazing at corralling us to stay on task,” Fivis says.
Richard Fivis advised the pair on negotiating their first lease, acquiring relevant licenses, setting up the right bank account and mapping out equipment needs. He also helped them develop a schedule for each stage of preparation leading to the opening of the boutique.
Comora and Fivis met with Richard on weekly basis at first, and now check in every other week to review progress.