“I never worked for a company, never. I don’t like having a boss or having no control,” Octavio declares.
In the middle of his studies to become an architect, Octavio had to leave college and raise money for tuition. So he began working as an interior designer. By the time he graduated, he didn’t have to look for work because he already had his client list. “I never had the chance to look for a job or be an employee,” he says.
Octavio studied architecture in Mexico, graduated in 2007 and began to make money through U.S. partnerships. However, his knowledge wasn’t enough to attract Brownsville clients who didn’t know him.
Octavio says he established a name for himself in Mexico, but when he fell in love and moved to Texas to be with his wife, he had to establish a reputation in a new country.
In his store, The Gallerie, Octavio offers home furnishings and accessories at reasonable prices. “My most expensive item is $400 and it’s a king-sized bed with a headboard,” he says.
Octavio offers a contemporary and simple style. “My target audience is people who make about $300 weekly. They may not be able to make enough to have new furniture,” he says. (Unless you visit his shop, that is.)
In his line of work, Octavio visits with the client to decide what type of furniture they will need to build a comfortable home. “I do the blueprints, construction and interior design,” he says. Since he is building a reputation for himself, Octavio decided to create a showroom to help ease customers when choosing what to purchase. “They wanted to see the product before I bought it. I created a showroom to showcase the quality of products I use,” he says. “They are then more secure about what they’re buying.”
Currently, Octavio employs one designer, but is looking to hire a delivery person in the future. “When you buy stuff from me, I give you installation and delivery free,” he says.
Before Accion Texas Inc., Octavio went to Compass Bank for a loan, but since his credentials are new in the U.S., he couldn’t receive a traditional loan. But the bank told him about Accion Texas Inc. “I went and applied, and they treated me really well,” he says. “They called me a week later and said I was approved. I am happy because Accion is helping me to build my business and helping me to build my credit.”
Octavio expects to gain publicity by hiring a graphic designer to create a business logo. Octavio projects he’ll have more sales with the new inventory he purchased with the loan. And he can now afford to hire a driver and accountant. This will ease his schedule as he visits clients and manages the store after working outside all day.
“I expect to grow with this loan and probably get another loan,” he says. Currently, Octavio is working on his website. When completed, you will be able to find the site here: www.arqoctaviocanales.com
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.