In Houston, Texas, Angela owns Angela's Bridal Designs Tailoring & Alterations, where she works with all fabrics specializing in custom-cut bridal wear, dance costumes, embellishments, quilts and then some.
With more than 30 years of experience, Angela's next step is to create a line of wedding veils; she already has permission to vend at a local wedding shop where she offers her services. She is positive that once the veil material arrives, the demand will follow and she'll be able to hire the list of people waiting for a job with her, that without the loan, she would not be able to do.
When Angela attended school to become a designer, she knew to sew and quickly learned to make patters. "God gives you a gift, and that's very important. We have that; my daughter and I have that. We don't say no to anything," she says. "We do a lot of stuff here," she says. "It's the only way to keep in business. I do a lot of custom-made pants, shirts, tuxedos and suits." You can view Angela's full list of services on her website www.angielocustoms.com/.
She's helped launch several companies through her work: one man employed Angela to create and sew designs for his business of selling custom-designed soft computer cases; that man is now in China shopping for a large factory to keep up with his orders. Another man requested Angela create a prototype of his detachable vinyl-type house invention, which allows clean air to flow in while workers in factories and refineries can work without the dangers of harmful fumes. Currently, Angela helps a lady develop her fashion line of dresses by sewing.
However, her life hasn't always been this easy. In her home country, Angela was married by 18 years old to a jealous man, who never let her leave home, but when he left to work, she walked to stores and purchased small amounts of materials and paints. To escape her life, she painted, designed baptism, other formal dresses and sold them to local businesses where people started to order multiples, she says. "I love what I'm doing," Angela says. "It's my life."
The business grew, Angela hired an employee and purchased two sewing machines, but it wasn't enough; the business continued growing. "I decided to open my business. I had 20 people working in morning and another 20 working at night. That was very successful; my husband decided to help and stay home, until the divorce."
Afraid her jealous, and now angry, ex-husband would try to find her, Angela fled the country to Texas where she began working with a designer, "but she didn't pay me sometimes because I didn't have papers," she says. Shortly after, Angela went to work for herself.
Angela says her business is stable and receives many referrals but she needed a loan to purchase materials to make bridal veils. She went to her bank and they recommended her to Accion Texas Inc. for a loan. She also plans to create dance costumes and sell them to local dance studios.
An established business woman, she reinstated her business by working from home and expanded to her current location: a large office on a busy corner in Houston. Since the beginning of her business, Angela says: "Now, we receive orders for people we don't even see in Florida, North Carolina, from everywhere; they like what we do."
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.