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Muse Curatorial Consulting Group

Name: Melanie Dellas

Location: San Diego, CA 

Type of Business:
Artifact preservationists for museums and private collectors

What does your business do?
We are cultural object preservationists who take care of artifacts and collections, we are exhibit developers/curators, and we create custom storage solutions, display mounts, and pack objects for transport.

When and why did you start the biz?
We are a women-owned small business that began out of our love of history preservation. Making sure all cultural objects/histories are around for future generations is our passion. We incorporated on Sept. 11, 2017, and have been working hard for museums and private collectors since.

How Many People are in your Company?

Where's your office?
We each have a home office for admin stuff, but we go to the objects we need to work with. It's safer for collections if we travel to them, rather than take them out of a space and transport them elsewhere. Our home offices are very small spaces (1 desk and a file cabinet).

What's the toughest part of running your biz?
The toughest part about running our business is getting the word out to potential clients. We are the only company in Southern California that does what we do, but it's difficult to make people aware of that.

What's the most fun part?
By far the most fun is working with objects and collections from cultures around the world, from every time period. We have experience working with all materials and so it becomes exciting to start new jobs. From mummies to pre-columbian pottery, to Civil War weapons to Native American clothing from the 1700s, it is truly worth it!

Anything you would have done differently?
Yes. I would have met with a tax consultant much earlier to help me set up my LLC taxes and help with the payroll. I waited too long, tried to do it on my own, and now I've messed up a couple payroll things and have to file more paperwork.

What's next on the horizon for your biz?
We are trying the advertising route in order to drum up more private client business.

What advice do you have for others?
1. Only partner with people you've worked with before and know you can get along with. 2. Meet with a tax business consultant before you file all the paperwork. 3. Keep overhead costs low. 4. Don't spend frivolously as soon as you start making money. 5. Set up a couple accounts (for taxes, for insurance, etc.), and put a little in each one every time the company gets paid.

How do you use Idea Cafe to help your biz?
I read the Small Business Tax Center page and the forum a lot. The Working at Home forum is great too, especially since I am a single mom who works from home on admin stuff, and goes out to clients' for jobs. Seeing how others who are in similar situations balance that is helpful.

School (where, still in school, degree)?
Graduate degree from University of San Diego, Undergrad from Purdue University

Prior jobs or business?
I owned Native American Casino magazine, and San Diego Performer magazine for 9 years. I've worked as an editor, writer and preservationist since 1995.

Favorite Food?
anything Greek or Italian

What are your pets' names?

Do any of these pets help with your biz?
Just for comfort.

Is there any one person or event in your life that led you to go into business for yourself?
My father is a very smart businessman, and he has always encouraged my sense of entrepreneurship. I also prefer being my own boss so that I can set my schedule and pick up my sons from school on time.

Anyone you publicly want to thank?
I'd like to thank my family for always supporting me and my crazy endeavors.

Contact Info:
Melanie Dellas
4405 Pescadero Ave
San Diego, CA 92107



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