Total loan: $6,000


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Oswego, IL, United States / Clothing

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A loan helped a minority owned business get upgraded equipment and begin to build a legacy.

Joseph's story

I learned the value of hard work at a very early age. My parents made sure that we understood that in order to get the things that we wanted, we had to earn them. I have always had the entrepreneur spirit. I started with cutting lawns and shoveling snow for neighbors as a kid and have done many other endeavors based on what people wanted and needed. I started making custom shirts back in 2004 when a college friend of mine Dave Chappelle wearing a graphic tee on his show and said that he wanted to find one like it. I told him " I can make that for you!" He offered to pay me $25 and without much prior experience, I launched Kool Joe Clothing. I have always had a love for the simple complexity that a well designed shirt holds. The ability to express so many different thoughts without even saying a word. Since then I have made thousands of shirts, hoodies, hats, and other items. I have worked the business on and off for years as a side hustle while I worked different jobs, and even co-founded a non-profit organization. One of our first program with my non-profit was actually teaching high-risk youth in Chicago how to build business and make t shirts. I now have many various product offerings and have learned many different ways to print. I am still learning daily, but my experience, knowledge, dedication, and passion gives me an advantage that my customers appreciate. I have a recently taken steps to incorporate the business with hopes of doing this 100% full time and moving into a physical print shop to provide a valuable need to others. I also want to show my 6 kids how hard work and dedication to your craft can lead to the fulfillment of your dreams and goals.