April Bukofser & Marin Milio, AprilMarin
In 2007, April Bukofser and Marin Milio were both full time employees with 2 kids and a busy home life. They decided that they wanted to look for creative outlets to invest their spare time. After several meetings, Bukofser and Milio came up with the idea of creating a custom clothing company. Although this idea was mostly a hobby, both Bukofser and Milio very much enjoyed creating new pieces and seeing their friends and family wear the pieces. They would also host home parties to show their pieces. In 2011, Bukofser and Milio were featured on the TODAY show and their idea that began as a hobby turned into a business overnight! Selling over 16,000 shawls in a day was exciting but completely overwhelmed the partners. In 2013, Bukofser and Milio decided that it was time for them to take AprilMarin to the next level by turning their hobby into a sustainable business. In May they opened up their first office space. In October the women enrolled in WEDC’s 60 hour comprehensive business training program for entrepreneurs. By 2014, Bukofser and Milio went from having their products carried by 1 store to 200 stores by focusing on the wholesale side of their business. With a strong support system including their family, friends and customers, AprilMarin has been able to excel in dramatically increasing sales.
AprilMarin sells women’s clothing and accessories that are mostly knitwear with some cut and sew pieces including dresses, shirts, ponchos, capes, scarves and gloves. Currently there are 200 retail boutiques and over 14,000 retail online customers nationally. With the understanding that great customer service is the key to success, Bukofser and Milio go to great lengths to ensure that their customers are always happy. Additionally, they are constantly reaching out to their customers through phone calls, mailings and via email. In the next year AprilMarin’s goal is to have their products in 600 stores and attend 30 trade shows in the United States.
During their time in WEDC’s training program, Bukofser and Milio learned about the different aspects of running a business including accounting, marketing, and legal matters as well as always being aware of cash flow. If there is one piece of advice that Bukofser and Milio would give to people that are thinking of starting their own business, it would be to: 1. learn as much as you can about the business that you are planning to open up, 2. talk to as many people as you can and 3. take the WEDC course to ensure that managing your own business is something that you really want to do. Most importantly, do your research.
“WEDC has helped us so much. We are now able to accomplish goals because they are clearly stated. WEDC gave us the tools we needed to take AprilMarin to the next level!” – April Bukofser and Marin Milio