This story was originally published on orangecountysbdc.org.
Entrepreneur Shannon Saathoff launched Once in a Licetime in 2014 to answer the needs of parents searching for support and treatment to eradicate lice. She now has seven locations across Southern California. The Orange County Small Business Development Center (OC SBDC) presented the official grand opening for Once in a Licetime’s location in San Juan Capistrano on June 8th, 2018. The celebration included remarks from San Juan Capistrano Mayor Sergio Farias, Councilmember Kerry Ferguson, representatives for Congressman Darrell Issa and Clerk Recorder Hugh Nguyen, and Shannon.
Shannon opened her first location in Corona, just up the street from her daughter’s school. Six weeks later, she introduced a line of all-natural, enzyme-based products that eliminate lice. The products quickly rose to the third best-selling product in the body care category and best selling lice product at Mother’s Market. While surrounding schools were still struggling with lice outbreaks, her daughter’s school went from multiple lice cases to just two in a single school year. Shannon knew she was on to something and decided to expand with help from the OC SBDC.
“I had so many questions when I first met the SBDC,” Shannon shares. “I took so many of their classes and seminars, and I learned so much.” She also appreciates the SBDC’s resources, citing her connection to the organization for helping her negotiate her new lease for the San Juan Capistrano location. “Overall, their guidance is improving my operations,” she says.
Focusing on expansion
Shannon’s second location opened in 2015 in Lake Forest. Other outposts quickly followed in Brea, Palos Verdes, Huntington Beach and Beverly Hills. The SBDC offered a wealth of resources as she continued to expand. These included expert help on optimizing her website and social media reach. Says Shannon, “Using these free resources helped me focus on expansion and getting things done quicker, bigger and better than if I had to utilize my capital resources to hire everyone I needed to accomplish my goals,” and that also meant support with her product line. In addition to guidance on manufacturers and upgrading her product labels, the SBDC also connected her with a company that could get her product line on Amazon. Shannon also credits the SBDC with educating her on exporting, branding, human resources, handling compliance, and so much more. She continues to work with them to this day.
“You’re only as good as your resources, and the SBDC’s are priceless – I can call and ask them anything, and they’ll have someone who can help me,” she says. She recommends other entrepreneurs explore their opportunities with the SBDC, too. “Entrepreneurs always feel like they have to do everything themselves, but you have to find your resources – it can set you apart from the people who don’t make it.”