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Sidekick Creative Finds Continued Success With Mentorship Through SCORE

Sidekick Creative, Kelli Germain

Title / Role: Partner & Creative Director
Location: Glens Falls, New York
Formed in: 2017
What do you do?

We're Sidekick Creative, a small but incredibly mighty design studio specializing in branding. We're designers to our core, and we love what we do—which is making your story shine. From traditional graphic design services to one-of-a-kind illustration work, we’re here to bring your brand to life—whatever that may look like for you. Our uniquely dovetailing skills are incorporated in all of the services that we offer: Illustration and Custom Artwork, Layout and Print Design, Web Design, Packaging and Merch Design, Photography, and Social Media. We strive to create inspired visual design that's both noteworthy and noticeable. We’re here to tell your story.

What inspired you to start your business?

After working together in an agency setting for years, with open minds and big dreams, we decided to take a leap of faith and build a design business from the ground up. We wanted to run an agency by our own standards, values, and culture—and are so thankful we took that leap.

What's special about your business?

At our core, we believe that communication is key. Not only with our clients, but within our own working environment. We think the power of human connection is so strong, and we strive to keep those connections alive through every project and interaction. Since brand storytelling is our focus, fully understanding our clients is essential—and truly makes for the best possible process and product.

What have been the high and low points of being a business owner?

Some notable high points have been recently celebrating 3 years in business, getting regional and national recognition for our work at the American Advertising Awards, and being able to hire interns and our first employee. Our most recent low point has been in navigating the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on our business, clients and community.

What is your relationship with SCORE? SCORE client What influenced you to seek help from SCORE?

Local recommendations, the SUNY Adirondack Start-Up ADK business course, and word of mouth from others who have been in, or knew of the success of, the program definitely influenced us to seek out SCORE. And we're so happy we did!

How SCORE helped.

We have been taking part in SCORE meetings since a few months BEFORE we even opened our doors for business. From editing our original business plan to ongoing financial planning and marketing goals, we have found our sessions with SCORE to be one of our most invaluable business tools. We attended meetings very frequently in the infancy of our business, but have since been attending quarterly. These sessions have almost functioned as a business therapy safe space for us—where each partner takes the time to come to the table and be present with the nitty-gritty operational and financial elements of our business, and as an opportunity to identify areas for long-term growth.

In our three years with SCORE, we've received help from Steve Hovey, Dick Burke, Richard Sellers, and Mark Miller. All of them have been extremely helpful with their advice and guidance and we have enjoyed working with each one of them. 

What's great about my mentor?

We've specifically appreciated Richard Sellers' perspective and personal experience in a marketing setting, Mark Miller's positive can-do attitude, Steve Hovey's sales guidance, and Dick Burke's practical solutions and common-sense approach. With all of our mentors, we've found them to be incredibly invested in our success and seeing us thrive—and they definitely give us homework to keep us on track!

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a small business?

Plan, plan, plan! Whether that means making sure you have savings in place, a bulletproof business plan, or the right people to mentor and give you support, just make sure you have Plan A through C realistically laid out for yourself before taking a huge risk.

What have you learned from your experiences as a business owner?

Hard work pays off! It is refreshing to be able to conduct business in our own way and to enjoy certain freedoms that truly only come with being a business owner. Besides that, we've all grown exponentially both professionally and personally, because of all of the challenges we've had to overcome and have needed to learn on the fly.

Additional media
Image of logos, products from Sidekick Creative
1165 Herndon Parkway, Suite 100
Herndon, VA 20170

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