Emmanuel is living his life-long dream of being an entrepreneur. As he watched his parents run their business, he learned how to properly run a business. And he helped numerous family and friends with their business plans.
Today, Emmanuel’s online business, Basket Box, has undergone many transformations. He knew with a broad business name, he could fill gift baskets with almost anything. His latest goal is to sell globally.
“I began Basket Box in 2004 and the concept then was still with the boxes but incorporated entertainment: CDs, DVDs and games that would be included with a snack,” he says. That business was strong but not strong enough to keep up with the burdensome prices of media. He closed in three months.
Emmanuel then launched an online job search engine, but over the years, the Basket Box concept continued to interest him.
Emmanuel conjured different concepts for his business, juggling ideas such as selling fresh fruits and artificial flowers, but the hassle of shipping and handling led him to sell nuts and dried fruits instead. He eventually returned to the concept of offering snacks in a reusable box, which act as bowls. Currently, he sells dried fruit: apples, apricots, peaches, strawberries and bananas, 16 types of nuts, some salted, unsalted and even chocolate-covered. All are available separately from the boxes and customers may purchase a mix of dried fruit and nuts.
Recently, Emmanuel introduced an auto delivery subscription for gourmet nuts – a service through which subscribers receive the same kind of nut every month. Also new to his business, Emmanuel carries bowls and scoops, the sale of which comes with a free small sample of dried fruit.
Working in the corporate world for 14 years, Emmanuel got tired of that life and being trapped in the same position. “I’m used to being independent while being at work,” he says. But he’s currently trying to expand his business and become a full-time vendor.
“I’m so glad Accion Texas Inc. is here,” he says. “In 2004, an absence of capital killed the vision of Basket Box. Small businesses are typically locked out of banks.” A returning client, Emmanuel learned about Accion through a flier. “I’m dedicating those proceeds to marketing. If I use it wisely, we’ll increase revenue.” He purchased an online radio ad that will air on stations such as Pandora and a list of other similar online radio stations.
“This is my third loan. Accion always stayed with me. I’m familiar with the staff, which is easy to work with,” he says, adding that he hopes to hire employees as his business grows.
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.