Turning a Bright Idea into a Creative and Rewarding Worldwide Business
As a full-time touring musician, Adam Gatchel often found himself at home between tours looking for projects to fill his time. To pass the days, he started buying and remodeling houses and building light fixtures for his own home. As the light fixtures began piling up, his wife encouraged him to put some up for sale. Just like that, Southern Lights Electric began.
Adam, along with his wife and later with long-time friend, Joel, they began his small business journey. “We’re a small team. I do most of the designing. Joel, who’s our production manager, pretty much is building everything. Jamie—she’s sort of the boss. She’s the glue that holds everything together.”
While their team is the heart of the business, it’s the products they create that have really lit their path to success. “We have projects all over the world. You can see our work in hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, private residences, and even a bowling alley.”
At the onset of Southern Lights Electric, the team aimed to be entirely self-financed. Eventually, growth became too rapid and orders grew bigger. SLE didn’t always have the working capital to float the incoming demands.
Finding the Funding for More Than Just Keeping the Lights On
When they started their search for funding, Adam quickly realized Kabbage’s application process and approval qualifications made it the best possible fit for funding Southern Lights Electric.
With its ease of use and quality customer service, Adam felt like he could trust Kabbage from the start.
“It was something that I could wrap my head around—really simple payment schedules that we could compare against our projections for the coming months,” Adam says. “For someone like me who doesn’t know everything about finances, I felt really safe asking a lot of questions.”
Because they often have to begin actually creating their signature light fixtures weeks or even months before payment arrives, funds were a helpful way to float the money for supplies up front.
Southern Lights Electric initially planned to use Kabbage funds to cover parts and materials for a large hotel job, but soon used additional funds for building out a new space. “There were a lot of costs we didn’t plan for. Kabbage was able to help us get all of that stuff up and running a lot faster.”
While covering materials and construction has been crucial to his business, Adam also relies on Kabbage funds for the peace of mind they bring during slow seasons when it’s time to cover payroll or should any unexpected expense come up.
With the stress of certain financial factors alleviated thanks to Kabbage funds, Adam can focus on creating the light fixtures he’s grown to love designing.
“We’re making spaces more beautiful, and at the end of the day, we’re really proud of what we’re able to provide for people.”