Our Clients

See our interviews with ICD and EpicStar:


Other clients:

Business Beginnings

My name is Flahn Manly. I was born in Monrovia, Liberia, in 1988. I moved to the U.S. in 1998. As a child, I was always the creative type. I loved art, drawing, sketching, etc. In high school, I started printing my own shirts, and my classmates soon took notice. I moved towards freelance t-shirt design and printing in 2005, and have been honing my skills and the ICD clothing brand ever since. 

I am a designer with the focus of spreading a positive message to the youth and young adults through clothes. Growing up as a child in Liberia, my dream has always been to live life to the fullest. I live life as if there is no tomorrow, and have come to realize that the life we are blessed with is nothing to be taken for granted - it is something to be cherished. As we pass our world on to the next generation, I ask that we implement the right messages into our communities; I ask that we acknowledge that we all have a dream and they all have the potential to become something. This is how ICD clothing was born. 

ICD clothing is the burning desire to inspire and to be inspired. The ability to realize the possibilities that can be achieved when one believes in positivity. The understanding that life is a progression of designs incomplete designs. Together we are artists, inspirers and dreamers. Our yearning for progression, inspiration and growth connects us. Together we build upon our foundations and recreate our talents and ourselves. Together, we, you, and I are Team ICD.

What services did you receive? What were your interactions with our staff like?

My former boss was also an Elmseed client and he referred me to Elmseed when he saw my vision for ICD Creative Studios. I got in touch with Elmseed where Robert, Adam, Julia, and Joyce helped me set up a business plan, marketing plan, and put me in good standing to be approved for an Elmseed loan. They were very hands-on and I appreciated how they really listened to my ideas.

How has your business grown since the loan was disbursed?

Since working with Elmseed, I have gotten much better about my bookkeeping and I’ve seen a steady increase in sales since June. I have a large social media following on Facebook and Instagram. Also, I just released an app. Through these social media outlets, I’ve been getting much more traffic in the stores where customers can actually come in and see the merchandise.

Would you recommend our services to other New Haven small business owners?

Oh yeah, definitely! Just write everything down as far as what you want to do. Come in with a game plan and you’ll get great advice on how to move forward.

Business Beginnings

Krista, Jamie, and Tracy grew up dancing and competing together, and this became a large part of their high school and college experiences. After graduation, Krista, Jamie, and Tracy found that the energy and fun of dance was something they missed, and that it was something they all wanted to reconnect to. EpicStar Dance Challenge became their way to do just that. 

Krista, Jamie, and Tracy had noticed a shift in the competition world. They first found that competitions were being run by people who had no expertise in dance. In addition, there was a declining focus on technique and skill in favor of participation awards. Lastly, the culture of inter-studio friendships and forming bonds with dancers from different teams had been replaced with a cut-throat and competitive environment. 

With their strong dance and competition backgrounds, Krista, Jamie, and Tracy knew they could create a competition honoring the values of the dance competitions they had grown up with. They believe that skill and talent are what inspires dancers to work harder in order to truly earn their trophies; with an environment that emphasizes collaboration and support, they could discourage studio and dancer rivalry. Krista, Jamie and Tracy are also able to continue support for dance education through a charity component of EpicStar Dance Challenge.

Why did you come to Elmseed?

Jamie: My two partners and I danced together for fifteen years. For fun, we would go and sit in the audiences of dance competitions and watch. We noticed that the people running the competitions had no expertise in dance. We did. We knew we had an edge in the business but we didn’t know where to start.

What services did you receive? What were your interactions with our staff like?

Tracy: We met with our consultant Nick a few times and he really helped us set up the actual business plan. Nick was instrumental in helping us set up our business fundamentals. Nick helped us with taxes, entities, and logical and legal questions. He helped us narrow our market research and business plan. He helped us create the ground floor of a successful business. 

Jamie: We were set up randomly with Nick, our consultant, and could not have been happier with the arrangement. We felt like it was fate. He was absolutely wonderful. He guided us along the way, calling us to double and triple-check things. Today, Nick still checks in on and us and he’s absolutely wonderful. If it weren’t for Nick, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Would you recommend our services to other New Haven small business owners?

Tracy: Yes. I would especially recommend Elmseed if business owners are in a place where they have an idea but aren’t sure how to carry it out. 

Jamie: I would highly recommend the services.