Annette P. sells MicheTM fashion bags and accessories. Her primary vending location is a kiosk at Lackland Air Force Base’s exchange, but she also sells at Fort Sam Houston and various special events in and outside of San Antonio.
Annette likes MicheTM bags because she believes they are unique, fun products. MicheTM makes “base” bags that people can buy and then customize with special “shells” (covers). The shells can be changed off and on so that the same bag can have many different looks. It’s a creative way for fashion-conscious women to have the perfect-looking bag for any occasion.
Originally from New York, Annette settled in San Antonio after serving in the military. When she first started her business, she was working full-time with Travelocity. She would work nights at Travelocity, and then go work all day at the kiosk. Now she devotes all of her time to her business, which allows her to attend and sell at more events. Last summer, Annette was invited by the Army Air Force Exchange Services to sell bags at military bases in Arizona and New Mexico. Despite the fact that she had to drive so that she could bring enough inventory, the events were very profitable for her and are something she wants to continue in the future.
Annette is using this loan to increase her inventory. Because MicheTM frequently updates its product line, she has to have the latest styles so that she can maintain her client base. By the end of the year, she hopes to buy a van so that she can have more inventory with her when she sells at out-of-state military bases and events.
Annette says she has definitely lost personal time since starting her business. However, she says it works for her family because her husband is supportive of her and her business, and helps out a lot at home. Annette’s advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs is to not be afraid. “I’m not really a salesperson, I’m kind of shy, so it was hard for me to sell something. I’ve learned that if you just talk to people, you find out what they like, and it is easier to sell things to them.”
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.