Adriane Deiulius gained a great amount of business experience in the past year and a half. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she has worked hard toward her dream business and, in turn, opened and closed four businesses during that time.
“The pandemic affected me greatly due to business restrictions and lack of financial support,” says Deiulius. “However, one thing I learned is that you have to keep fighting. I have gained years of experience during this time.”
With the support of her wife and five children, she continued to follow her dreams and now co-owns the Grand Blanc Vendor Market Place, a collaborative market where vendors run mini stores selling local, handmade goods. In the Market Place, Deiulius also runs her primary business, Sugar Mermaid Bath and Body, specializing in homemade bath and body products focused on children with skin sensitivity issues.
“My children loved bath bombs, but were suffering from skin issues,” says Deiulius. “I wanted to make a fun product that was safe for them.”
With her initial business, Sugar Mermaid, Deiulius has won several pitch competitions including the Pitch for K competition through 100k Ideas where she came in first place. Finding success through the competition, Deiulius wanted to work to help others find success, as well.
Now, she helps other businesses find their footing at the Grand Blanc Vendor Market Place, which is an opportunity she states is one of her proudest accomplishments.
Why did you decide to open in Grand Blanc?
The area has been very good to me as it relates to promoting and supporting my business ventures and the space we rented is in the perfect spot.
How would you describe the area to an outsider?
Flint & Genesee has an emerging small business market, especially for handmade goods. It is a fun and exciting place for small businesses to be.
Where do you like to eat, shop or spend time in Flint & Genesee?
Our family is always trying to find new small businesses to support.
Tell us about your family, how do they fit into the business?
My family is very active in my business. My children help run the booth for Sugar Mermaid at outside vendor events and my wife helps with set up and tear down at events as well as running the store.
How have these experiences affected your children?
They’re getting an amazing experience! One of my children opened Ava’s Mini-Brand Boutique where she makes jewelry. She has her own booth at the Grand Blanc Vendor Market Place.
Being an LGBTQ+ business owner, in what ways do you try to make your business a more inclusive environment?
We try and be as inclusive as we can. For example, on our website, we added a question regarding pronouns to our submission form to make sure that people feel respected.
What is your business philosophy?
To do the best job I can do and try to help others along the way.
How is your business involved in the community?
We participate in as many community events as possible. Sugar Mermaid was voted Best Small Business only three months of being open because of the amount of charity work we do.
What are your plans for the future?
Currently, we are working on running vendor events in the space next door to the Grand Blanc Vendor Market Place. We are working on a Shop and Sip event for charity in August. We are also planning to run classes out of the store with artists.
What advice would you offer future business owners?
Be strong. You may have setbacks and sometimes your plans will change but keep going.
For more information on the Grand Blanc Vendor Market Place, visit their Facebook page.