Karen Moulis & Cary Oliva; ABCville —Entrepreneur Profile

January 28, 2020

Karen Moulis and Cary Oliva, both CIC entrepreneurs, have known each other for years and as they were talking over coffee one day, Cary mentioned she had participated in the CIC entrepreneur workshop for her business, ByCary. Karen, a former Montessori teacher, had been thinking about starting her own business supporting young children. Karen then went on to become a CIC graduate and is now running her own small business called Birch Street Goods. As two entrepreneurs do, they were sharing thoughts about their businesses one day when Karen mentioned her idea of creating a children’s picture book about Charlottesville. She decided it was finally time to make the dream a reality when she asked Cary to help and ABCville was born. Over the past several years, they have learned so much about self-publishing and what it takes to create a picture book.  

Karen and Cary have started to dream about all the ideas community members have shared with them after ABCville has been so wonderfully welcomed into the Charlottesville community. They are excited to be exploring what the next book project can become! For now, they are making plans for a reprint of ABCville and look forward to continuing to share it with our community through local stores as well as holding storytimes at local schools and events. 

“CIC has been an extraordinary resource for each of us professionally and also with ABCville. As we both had already participated in the CIC Entrepreneur Workshop, we learned the basic how-tos for incorporating and running a business which allowed us to hit the ground running once we came together for ABCville. From creating breakeven spreadsheets to meeting with CIC volunteers, CIC continued to be a valuable source of support. We met early on with Waverly who shared some great ideas with us about local contacts and marketing. We were also able to receive some free legal advice for setting up our partnership which was quite valuable. These resources laid the groundwork for allowing us to become a successful business partnership. We feel that CIC gave us realistic expectations and tools that we needed to start and run a successful business. The local connections and networking that CIC provides is invaluable”, explained Cary and Karen. 

When asked what advice they have for other CIC entrepreneurs they say, “We recommend using all the resources available to you through CIC! Every time we approach CIC, we feel this tremendous sense of support which is so meaningful and unique. Once you are a part of CIC’s network, you are a part of a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and those relationships continue to help local businesses thrive. The support from CIC is there for you for many years to come to support further growth of your business. We have loved being a part of the CIC community and it’s a big reason that we love Charlottesville and want to stay here and help support other businesses as well as grow our own!”