From Solopreneneur to Full Haus


45 S Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena, CA 91103


While working as a senior creative with Fortune 500 companies like P&G, Nestle, and Mattel, Bernadette Capulong hired a variety of high-end branding and advertising companies. Their service was always slow, inflexible, and extremely expensive. Frustrated with a lack of better options to choose from, she decided to create her own company, BC Design Haus, a boutique design and branding agency, in 2014. With a desire to experiment and challenge the status quo, BC Design Haus’ business model is based on innovative disruption, agility, and providing clients a premium experience without a big agency price tag.

Through past relationships, she was able to secure her first clients but lacked the experience to take her company to the next level. Being a new entrepreneur, Bernadette needed to learn how to balance multiple competing priorities by building on her business success while literally building her team. She needed to formulate a business development strategy while recruiting and hiring staff and managing client expectations.


Don Loewel, a Business Advisor at the SBDC- Pasadena City College, met with Bernadette. He provided her with a growth strategy, which included a new business development process and implementation of Salesforce, a customer relationship management tool that tracks sales, service, marketing, collaboration, and performance metrics. Next, he developed a robust talent management plan that included recruitment, interviewing, and onboard management. Don also assisted with the hiring process by interviewing candidates and helping to make final employee selections.


In 2014, yearly revenue was $28,000 but Don’s help allowed this to since skyrocket to over half a million. Additionally, since first contacting the SBDC in 2016, the company acquired larger office space, hired 7 employees, and 7 independent contractors. With the added growth, Bernadette has been able to offer employees an attractive benefits program. She contributes her success to the advice she received at the SBDC: “The SBDC is a hidden gem in the business community. Having a mentor to talk through issues is invaluable.”


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