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Marie Forleo’s B-School Reviews

They Did It.
So Can You.

These B-Schoolers made their
dream business a reality.

Anne-Michelle Frances

Anne-Michelle Frances

Co-Owner, Ohana Board Shop

San Jose, CA, USA

We were profitable from the moment we opened our doors. We have already beat every projection that we had!

Our purpose-driven business focuses on teaching at-risk high school students how to enjoy life in the outdoors through surfing, wake surfing, wakeboarding, and standup paddle boarding, which facilitates their personal growth and excitement for life by participating in sports that they normally would not have access to.

A few months before I started B-School, I was struggling with what I wanted to do with my life. My husband and I had recently closed our surf and skate shop after eight long, painful years with no direction and zero financial gain. Within months of closing, we were finally financially secure and had the flexible schedules that we dreamed of, but we lacked passion for what we were doing.

On the outside, everything looked great; I was a paralegal while my husband went from a high-profile job as a cool surf and skate shop owner to a process server who served people eviction paperwork. Even though the money and schedule was on point, we were both empty inside. We lacked motivation and didn’t have any goals. We were just living the day-to-day routine like everyone else in Silicon Valley. My husband had always worked hard NOT to be like everyone else, yet we found ourselves doing what everyone else was doing: I was working the 9 to 5, he was bustling our kids around to different practices and games, we were rarely spending time together as a family, and we were completely unsatisfied. We knew we needed a change.

Enter B-School! My husband encouraged me to go big with my allergy-free food blog, so I joined B-School to make it thrive. I worked on weeks of assignments. However, it still didn’t feel “right.” It was never the thing that just completely clicked. We eventually considered buying a baby boutique and even buying into a fitness studio franchise, but kept returning back to our surf and skate shop and thought, “Why would we pay someone else for a business when we already have one that we can reinvent?”

One morning, I noticed that a prime commercial space in a busy downtown area was available. Within hours, I had the property manager on the phone, and we were negotiating the space. My husband and I seriously debated opening our surf and skate shop again, but wanted to do it the right way. What would be different about the shop this time around? I was armed with B-School, we obtained a small business loan, worked on projections and bookkeeping, and hired a business coach/CPA.

Now we are over a year into our new (yet old) business that is now thriving. We were profitable from the moment we opened our doors. We have already beat every projection that we had, and the primary reason is because we did not base our retail business on retail; we knew better than that. We created a very beautiful, carefully curated store and now use it as our headquarters and home base for the fun and services that we provide during every season of the year. In the fall and spring, we host after school skateboarding programs on campus at local elementary schools. In the spring and summer, we teach week-long surf, wake surf, wakeboard, and SUP summer camps. All year long we provide our in-house, boutique-style screen printing services.

Our old store was dark, gloomy, and we dreaded going to work. Our new store is beautiful, open, simple, modern, and perfect because we have pinpointed our ICA down to the shoes he wears. Every last detail has been thought of on our sales floor. It shows how much my husband and I have grown as a couple and a family, from the first time we opened in 2005 after the birth of our first child, to the reopening of our new shop in 2016, after the birth of our fourth.

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