Deena Prestegard

Deena Prestegard in front of cranberry wreathEarly in 2013, Deena Prestegard signed up for Venturing Forth, a 12-week comprehensive business planning class, after hearing about New Ventures Maine from a friend who completed the course.

“I checked out the website and read many of the success stories,” Deena remembers. “I couldn’t believe how fortunate I was to have this incredible resource available for FREE.”

Deena launched her new venture, Artful Cranberry, in the fall of 2013. Since that time, Deena reports, “We have had a solid three seasons. Last season we were lucky enough to be written up in the New York Times. That doubled our business and brought in our target market.”

Deena already has become a job creator and made an impact in her Freeport, Maine community. “We hired some part-time help. We’ve had opportunities to share our story in the hopes of inspiring others. This is a seasonal business, and at this point of our development, our strategy is to build the awareness we exist with the right people – a big step for a company that offers a unique product.”

How did New Ventures Maine help Deena move towards success?  “Having New Ventures Maine was a critical first step. My most important goal was to write a comprehensive business plan in a supportive environment that offered accountability and like-minded community. I desperately needed the support and resources they provided. They have given me renewed confidence and determination.” Deena says, “I’m delighted to have actually come this far and very proud of what we’ve accomplished. We are learning like crazy with each season.”

Deena’s advice to other entrepreneurs:”You must create a great team to support you and help you. Find the best people of each task you are not able to do well yourself. No one succeeds on their own. Every business starts local and builds from there. The opportunities New Ventures Maine creates through education and support make the difference between dreaming it and doing it.

For the coming year, Deena notes, “I’m hoping this season brings the return business we strive for and enough new business to indicate that word is getting out about us. My long view is to become so well known for our wreaths first. Mostly our goal is to keep it going, accepting what comes our way, honoring all beings including ourselves so we can enjoy a happy balance between our work and play.”