Holly Aiken, entrepreneurial small business owner of STITCH, a handbag shop located at 20 E. Hargett Street in downtown Raleigh was guided to success by a SCORE mentor.

My Successes: 
Raleigh, NC Holly Aiken, entrepreneurial small business owner of STITCH, a handbag shop located at 20 E. Hargett Street in downtown Raleigh was guided to success by a SCORE mentor. Aiken, 35, a graduate of North Carolina State College of Art and Design said, "I started out making handbags for friends and slowly my designs became popular. I decided to do it full time. I didn't really know how to start a business. My mom mentioned SCORE and I made an appointment about 18 months ago. I didn't have a solid plan or money for growth." Lou Martin, a retired project manager, worked with Aiken. She brought a whole bunch of 'stuff' with her not knowing what was required. Martin interviewed Aiken ascertaining her need for a formal business plan and a small line of credit. Manufacturing the handbags from a small space when she began her venture, Aiken's success has allowed her to relocate to downtown Raleigh where she achieves more local exposure. Her handbags are now sold on-line and at small boutiques around the United States. "Being able to get advice, asking a variety of questions and having a person like Lou to help, has been an amazing experience. Not having to worry about paying for it gave me peace of mind. But having someone say, 'Yes, you're on the right track,' was the best," concluded Aiken."