Monica doesn’t know the meaning of the word “quit”. After working for many years as a meter reader for San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Monica was forced to retire due to injuries sustained on the job. Faced with this setback, she turned adversity into opportunity by focusing on a passion she has held through her entire life: a love of art and animals.
In 1990, while shopping at her local California mall, Monica saw a kiosk selling t-shirts with dog images on them, and immediately her mind set to work on improving the designs. She expanded the idea to embroidered hats and eventually raised the capital to found her company, Animal as Art, in 2001 at the Irvine Spectrum shopping center.
Reception was overwhelmingly positive, with her business immediately starting to attract buzz in the local dog-owner community. Monica particularly thrives on the interpersonal aspect of what she does.
“One of the things I like the most is to provide comfort to people who have lost their pet. They are able to buy a t-shirt or hat with their deceased dog (breed) printed on them,” said Monica. “If the picture does not look like their deceased dog, they bring me a picture and I draw their dog. I enjoy making pet owners happy and love to be among animals myself.”
Things were going well until the owners of the shopping mall raised the rent exorbitantly, and despite the undeniable quality of her product, Monica’s margins weren’t sufficient for her to keep the business above water.
Now that a few years have passed, Monica is hoping to restart her business and is looking for startup capital. Monica will use her $750 Kiva loan initially to purchase inventory and set up an online store to branch out from her local market to the online market, which would increase her pool of potential customers.
Monica hopes that, with the help of generous Kiva donors, her business will become a real force for pet-ownership and animal rights in her local community as well as in the cyber community.