David Mallin was eleven years old when he visited Big Thompson Canyon one summer with his family. “I had an epiphany there. I was to share the beauty I saw with the world.” Several months later, as David cut wood for kindling, the shape of a bird was revealed in the wood’s grain. He carved that image from the wood. He soon became an apprentice to Kansas City sculptor Adie Klugman, and his artistic passion drew him towards carving and indigenous cultures.
As an adult, David married his wife, Gail, and they had two children. The family lived in Colorado, mostly in the Durango. He was sculpting and had opened several studios at various times. In 2015, after the death of their daughter, Nattie Joy, David and Gail moved from Denver back to the southwest, and eventually settled in Mancos. The town had a thriving art community. David rented a studio in a converted movie theater. However, when the landlord saw his welding equipment as a potential fire hazard, David soon received a notice to vacate.
In the summer of 2017, David saw a ‘For Rent’ sign in the window of the former Mancos Brewery. “I thought that would be a cool place for a studio,” he said. Soon after, David had a dream of that building with a carved owl on the outside and a crowd of people carried out art and gifts from the gallery. In the dream, Nattie Joy gave him the name for his business, BOMDIGGITY. “That was her word for awesomeness.” David had another vision besides art. He wanted to give people the opportunity to experience spiritual and ceremonial artifacts through traditional drums, flutes, and metaphysical goods. He decided to name his gallery and studio ‘BOMDIGGITY – Mancos Mystical Market (B-MMM).’ To create this, David needed a business plan. He recently met Mary Shepherd, the Deputy Director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) of Durango, and subscribed to their email list. One email from SBDC highlighted the Leading Edge (LE) program. LE is a six week class for entrepreneurs wanting to learn how to start a business, create a business plan and provided them with resources to achieve their goals. The class was to be taught by Cindy Dvergsten. Cindy is an SBDC advisor.
As an artist, finance was not one of David’s strong points. “The LE class removed the number crunching anxiety and helped me learn how to budget, set goals and create action plans. Cindy’s background is in agriculture, although her teaching easily crossed over into retail. My biggest lesson was how to price my work. There are a lot of factors aside from wholesale price. There are overhead factors, shipping costs, perceived value and actual value. My art is one of a kind. Determining a price was no easy task.”
Two other areas David learned about were how to structure his business and market effectively. To properly structure B-MMM, David had to acquire a business license, learn about municipal codes, obtain a trade name and learn how to file sales tax. With marketing, “It is essential to determine where my dollars work best. I need to know who my customers are.” David opened his gallery May 25th, 2018, one week before the class concluded.
“I learned SBDC and the LE program were well worth the time commitment the class required. There is a lot of time and effort involved, but what you put into it, you get back. The information was valuable, especially for a startup. What was beneficial was all the information Cindy made available. The resources are great. And, the students were a very diverse group. We all learned from each other.”