What do you get when you cross ambition, a teacher, coach, lots of buttons, an Aerostar van and lots of giggles? You get Creative Cut-Ups. This promotional and advertising specialty business in Centerville, OH, is proof you can have fun and still be successful. Creative Cut-Ups was started in 1993 by Kathy Dane and Marcia Rose as a button-making organization. It began in their kitchens and has evolved into a busy store full of many specialty items that has built its network primarily through word of mouth.

My Successes: 

The company's origin is unique. Kathy was Marcia's daughter's fourth grade teacher. As they coached softball and Odyssey of the Mind together, they started making buttons to support their teams. Soon the button business started taking orders for coordinated pens, balloons, shirts and other items. "In the beginning the office was a kitchen table," Marcia said. "No one suspected that was our location because the service we gave was always so good."

In 1999, Kathy left teaching to be a full-time partner of Creative Cut-Ups. At the same time, the business started to exceed their current office space and they needed an office with a showroom. They decided they also needed some expert advice on how to run their burgeoning business. They decided that SCORE would be a good match for their needs.

Due to their success, they are expanding the business. They recently purchased the rights to two products: TRUETEE, a golf tee that uses three prongs instead of a concave head to hold the ball. TRUETEE can be customized with a client's name or appropriate saying. The second product, Es'steam, is a self-simmering potpourri packet. After placing the potpourri packet in water, it begins to simmer and releases fragrant scents. Ten scents are currently available. Kathy and Marcia are also considering the development of a sales force to market these new products.

Although they have worked very hard and their hard work is paying off, they would not be doing what they are doing if they did not have fun. "Combining the hard work and laughter makes the stressful time good," Marcia said. "The process to get you to the end point is as exciting as finally getting there."

What's Great About My Mentor?: 

"Both of us have been coaches and we believe in the benefits of this type of guidance. This is why we went to SCORE. People tend to go where their strengths are. SCORE helps us take care of the areas where we don't know about," Kathy said. "SCORE guides us in areas that we need them. They have years of experience; we would be crazy not to draw on this resource." SCORE Mentor Sue Anderson helped them navigate through the challenges an expanding business owner faces.