Eight years ago, Emma G. started selling jewelry out of her husband’s shop as a hobby. “Of course, all women like jewelry, you know? I found it interesting.” She found that the jewelry sold well, so she decided "to get a space, put up showcases, and the whole works.” She called her shop "Kary's Corner."
Now that she’s divorced, however, the business is vital. “I’ve been supporting my house and my three kids with this little business. I depend on this 100%. So I have to make this work. It’s not something I do for fun anymore. It’s something that I live out of.” Emma is supporting two teenagers at home and one in college.
Emma wants this loan so she can go to California to buy some silver jewelry. “Right now, what’s selling the most is silver, more than gold, mostly because gold has gone up in price so much …So I’m investing in silver jewelry for the holidays.”
Emma is most proud of her repeat customers, “People who know me and …[know] they can trust me to get stuff that they like. …My customers who keep coming back and who’ve been with me for a long time.”
So customer service is very important. “I respect my customers as much as I possibly can. If I keep them happy, they’ll keep coming. …If they have any doubts, I make every effort to make them comfortable with what they’re buying. … These are good metals… They’re not going to lose their value, and in the long run, it’s an investment.”
Emma hopes to stop renting at some point. “I’m probably dreaming too much, but that would be my ultimate dream; to have my own building and have someone there who can build the jewelry I design.”
Because jewelry is a luxury, not a necessity, Emma says it has been a challenge to keep her business going. “I’ve been happy that I’ve been able to continue my business with this economy and everything that’s been going on.” And the economy is not going to stop her. “I’m not a quitter, and I’m not about to let this business go down because I’ve been there before. This is what my kids depend on, what I depend on. [Without this loan] I probably would have to sell my car or my personal jewelry or something.”
“It’s been hard, but it’s not impossible. You just have to give it all you got.”
LiftFund. (www.liftfund.com) is an award-winning nonprofit organization (previously known as Accion Texas) with a mission to provide credit and loans to small and start-up businesses that have limited or no access to credit from commercial sources. Established in 1994 in San Antonio, LiftFund has helped Texas and Louisiana entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment, and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. Learn more at www.liftfund.com.