Merida has completed a two year program in the art of beauty/cosmetics. She has combined her educational background and her entrepreneurial instincts to open a beauty salon. Merida offers hair services such as styling, cutting, coloring and other hair related services, as well as nail services (manicures, pedicures etc.) She plans to use this loan to invest in the purchase of various beauty products/tools such as hair dryers, a hair straightener, scissors, creams, shampoos, nail polish, etc. Merida started her business five years ago with a loan she shared with a friend. This loan will be her first with Fundación Mujer.
Over the past year, Merida has been focused on raising her newborn son. As a result, she has been working half time at her salon. This loan will mark the return to full time work for Merida, as she aims to transform this loan into profits. Full time business hours are from 9:00AM to 6:00PM, Monday to Saturday, and Merida works alone. The months of October, November and December are the busiest in the beauty industry. Merida can count on anywhere between 60 to 100 regular clients who make monthly visits during this time. Merida´s services are sought not only by members of her immediate community, but by clients in neighbourung communities who travel to visit her salon (San Jose, San Carlos, Guanacaste). These clients have helped to keep her business flourishing as there are a number of beauty salons in the area, creating high levels of competition for clients.
In an effort to differentiate her salon from those of her competitors, Merida would like to invest in an automatic nail painter. This machine paints nails quickly and with intricate designs. The machine is quite expensive, so Merida will not be putting the current loan towards such a machine, possibly the next loan.
In general, Merida wakes up early, prepares breakfast for her husband and son, and carries out domestic tasks. From 9:00AMto 6:00PM she will be working in the salon, with an hour lunch break.
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In Costa Rica, funding for microfinance institutions is hard to come by, and many institutions find themselves having difficulty growing and reaching all the demand for loans that exist. Kiva works with Fundacion Mujer because it attends a very marginalized population in Costa Rica, with a specific focus on women. In addition to the loan, Fundacion Mujer provides specialized training programs for their borrowers on everything from computer classes to salon training. Because of the difficulty in obtaining capital in Costa Rica, Fundacion Mujer cannot serve all the women that need loans. Therefore Kiva plays a unique role in helping Fundacion Mujer grow its portfolio and reach borrowers it otherwise would not be able to.
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