Mr. and Mrs. Stephen and Debbie Frakey are the owners of The Kolache Shop, centrally located in Clute, Texas and now with a second location in Brazoria, Texas. Mrs. Frakey’s kolaches have received high praise with winning both grand champion and reserve grand champion at the State of Texas Kolache Bake Show in Caldwell, Texas in 2012.
What role, if any, does a business plan play in building and launching an arts company?
Debbie: You have to have a business plan to know what you need to do as far as financing. You need to know what you need to spend and learn what you need to know about the business’ location and surrounding community. It is a very big part.
Did you find the concept of developing a business plan valuable in your experience of planning your company?
Debbie: Yes, definitely. S: We needed to figure out what we would need as far as supplies, the cost of labor, needs for that location and all around aspects of production of our product.
What turned out to be the best method for planning out and developing your business?
Stephen: The best method that we found was physical observation. You need to know the location of your business and you need to get to know the community. Find out what the community needs and meet that need.
What tools did you find useful in the development of your business?
Stephen: Social media, for sure. It’s huge and it can dictate your future. Facebook is huge and Twitter is huge. You can gage your community’s response to your future plan and work with it. You can get feedback quickly with social media, too.
What was the most difficult part of planning and developing your company? How did you overcome this difficulty?
Debbie: Financing and knowing what you need to finance was difficult. There are so many things that you need to know and that you don’t think about. When you open a business, a lot of people don’t think about everything that’s needed. The money to be able to open a business with and to support it with is a big thing. Also, as for financials, just knowing and convincing your lenders that you’re a good bet and you’re going to make it is a big part. And knowing how much to borrow and making sure it’s enough.
Stephen: The biggest thing was coming up with contingency plan. In the beginning, Debbie came up with everything she wanted to plan out but we ended up throwing it in the garbage. Nothing went as planned, which definitely taught us that you have to have a backup plan.
Debbie: I remember when the ovens and the refrigerators came in and they ended up not working. It set back everything that was planned. That was a big moment in realizing the importance of having a backup plan.
What was the best advice you received when planning and developing your company?
Stephen: The best advice we received was to find out what the competition is doing and turning around and doing it better. Definitely exceeding your competition.
What do you believe are necessary qualities, if there are any, for arts entrepreneurs to possess or develop?
Debbie: You have to have dedication and you have to believe in your product. You have to believe in yourself. Dedication is absolute.
What three pieces of advice would you give aspiring arts entrepreneurs about planning?
Debbie: You have to give everything to get your business going and you have to put it first. And so many don’t do that, they go into businesses half-heartedly. You have to do what it takes, no matter how many hours, days, months, or years. You truly have to believe in it and focus on it. It’s important. You also have to do your homework and absolutely plan. Knowing your competition along with realizing your expenses is valuable as well.
Do you give permission to release the following content of this interview to be published online on Southern Methodist University’s website?
Debbie & Stephen: Yes, we do.