Kimberley Ward, salsa dancer and owner of Salsa Sexxy, recently chatted with us about her challenges as a small business owner and the obstacles she was able to overcome with the help of her Headway Capital loan. Now Salsa Sexxy is supporting their shoe sales and expanding their products into a boutique. Read on to learn about their journey.
Journey to Find the Right Funding
When I started looking for a loan, I realized that a lot of lenders would ask for very detailed information. I expected to provide these banks with proof of income to demonstrate that the sales of my business, Salsa Sexxy, could support a loan — a fairly common practice. However, I use Square for my purchases, and the statements I could pull from there were not detailed enough for the lenders I first met with. It did not help that my biggest sales months are May through July, so when I reached out during the holidays, my sales numbers didn’t support my needs.
The Flexible Vendor We Needed
I found Headway Capital and it became clear they were someone I’d like to work with. I was looking for a lender willing to work with the information I had available, but who could also provide the flexibility and speed necessary to fulfill my needs — qualities that were of the utmost importance to me as a small business owner.
My business takes me on the road two, sometimes even three times a month — east coast, west coast, even Puerto Rico! This makes it quite hard to sit down and process paperwork, fill out applications and meet with someone. At the time we needed the loan, we were on the road 80% of the month, so flexibility was a big priority to us. We were also in the midst of expanding our business to a storefront boutique! Being able to apply online really made the process easy.
Currently we are based out of New Jersey, but when we travel, we find other studios in need of shoe suppliers. It’s a great way to expand our network and increase sales, but it also poses a funding challenge.
Customers come to us to find special shoes, mass shoe orders for teams and sometimes a unique color that will really make them stand out. We’d get the orders, but we wouldn’t always have the funds to put in the order. For example, the order may be for 20 shoes, but we would have to purchase 50 from our supplier to fulfill that order. Plus, for larger orders we only require half the money down and half when the customer receives it — it’s great for customer support, but it’s challenging when it comes to purchasing. Our Headway Capital line of credit helped to bridge that gap. In fact, our business has increased 29% over last year thanks to receiving the inventory and reserving the space to sell our items at events and online.
It can take up to a month to receive an order for a customer. If it’s a brand new shoe design, it can take even longer — usually a month and a half — so the quicker I can process any kind of loan details, the faster I can submit my order to a supplier. Headway Capital’s ability to quickly answer questions I had and the overall speed of the loan process allowed me to meet the needs of my customers in a timely fashion. As a result, we could confidently expand our efforts from shoe sales into much more!
We are currently making big strides by expanding into a boutique. The majority of people that come through the boutique are social dancers, meaning they look for new costumes more frequently. Now we’re selling dresses, salsa shoes and street shoes. Salsa shoes cannot be worn outside, so these street versions can be worn out more casually. We’ve already had some success with this new prospect and it’s actually now become a large piece of business. In fact, we’re looking to hire someone to help! We even used some of the capital to buy a van to allow us to have two vehicles — one for the highway when we travel and one when we want to keep the studio open. It’s the speedy expansion we needed!