Photos provided by Alla Bumburyak
After more than 17 years of working for the same law firm in the Asheville area, Alla Bumburyak needed a change. Capitalizing on her expertise and passion for event planning and design, Alla ventured into entrepreneurship and founded Alla Studios in 2022.
For Alla, the jump into small business ownership was a few years in the making. She began planning weddings in 2018 on the side, and her wedding experiences mixed with some nonprofit work formed her skills as an event planner.
“I had the desire to pursue entrepreneurship for a couple of years before shifting careers,” says Bumburyak. “Change was a desired essential path. I took a step back and breathed, and focusing on my small business just reignited my passion for event planning and I began to structure the things that would set me apart from other event planners.”
Through the Asheville community, Alla was connected to the Western Women’s Business Center (WWBC), a program of Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) that works with women entrepreneurs in Western North Carolina to provide small business coaching, workshops, and access to capital.
For Alla, the original connection to the WWBC was as an event planner and not a business owner, working with the organization to plan its annual conference in April of 2022. The conference, titled “The Spirit of Women”, convened small business owners, community partners, and more small business champions together in Asheville, with Bumburyak playing a vital role in the planning of the day. “I’ve always had a passion for women and just helping to empower them,” says Bumburyak. “And the mission and vision of the WWBC just trying to bring excellence to that audience, it challenged me and allowed me to add value. Empowered women empower one another. It’s special.”
Later in 2022, Alla returned to the WWBC, this time as she looked to upscale Alla Studios and pursue entrepreneurship full time. “I worked with the WWBC to get the coaching I needed,” says Bumburyak. “The coaching helped me to create Alla Studios.”
For Alla, one of the biggest areas of coaching she received from the WWBC in helping her scale her small business was in establishing a price point for her services, something she and many other small business owners struggle with.
In working with the team at the WWBC, Bumburyak was able to make sure that Alla Studios was a sustainable, profitable small business. “What I learned was that I was underpricing myself, but the coaching from the WWBC really helped me there,” says Alla. “They helped me to see what my value was as an event planner and price myself accordingly so that it’s not just a passion, but it’s also a profitable business.”
As Alla Studios was established, Bumburyak also added design work to the business, working with real estate investors to professionally stage and design homes. In doing this, Alla ensured that her business would be profitable year-round and not just during the busier event seasons.
“Alla is a great example of ‘don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great,’” said WWBC Director Zurilma Anuel. “The first time Alla supported us with our annual conference, we could see her passion. She took the opportunity to be part of a community of professional women who offered support, collaboration, and positive energy. For the WWBC, Alla Studios has been a great asset for our events. We are always confident in the outcomes of our projects, and the WWBC is immensely proud to see Alla’s achievements as a small business owner and are honored to have been a part of the journey.”
One year after initially working with the WWBC on its annual conference, Alla returned in 2023 to help plan the 2023 WWBC Conference, titled “Me + WWBC; Better Together.” For Alla, the experience of planning the event while also being a full-time small business owner was a full-circle moment.
“The first time I was involved with the WWBC, I was exposed to so many women who go full on and full speed in their small businesses. And there’s a lot of them in Asheville,” said Bumburyak. “I saw that energy. And then the second year I came into the event as an entrepreneur as well, and it really was full circle. I was a small business owner among other small business owners. It was really great.”
Bumburyak also worked with CSBDF in May of 2023 on the organization’s Small Business Awards, planning the event that brought together small business owners, community partners, policymakers, and more to celebrate North Carolina’s small business ecosystem.
The future is bright for Alla Studios, as the young small business continues to make a name for itself in both Western North Carolina and across the state as a trusted event planner and designer. As for Alla, her biggest piece of advice for other hopeful entrepreneurs is to find coaching like she did at the WWBC.
“Sit down with a person like I did. Go through a checklist and a business plan, and work with someone to give yourself clarity,” said Bumburyak. “It’s one thing to have a passion, but when you’re running a business, you need to have that business knowledge. Otherwise, you’ll feel unorganized and like you’re sinking. The WWBC helped me swim.”