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How The Right Kind of Small Business Loan Helped This Female Entrepreneur Create the Best Customer Experience, One Strand at a Time

As part of our October monthly content theme, “Women in Business: Remarkable Entrepreneurs, Real Leaders,” we’re covering stories of remarkable women entrepreneuers. This is the story of Monika Boyer, and how she built a business out of compassion. Monika relates how she started her unique business with a small business loan from Kabbage, and explains how focusing on creating an awesome customer experience helped her achieve success. 

Often times we hear inspirational stories about entrepreneurs who turned their passions into a business. For Monika Boyer, that’s an understatement. She could write a book on how she has been able to turn her compassion for those suffering from hair loss into a business by selling hair extensions and wigs at Really Mine Hair Supply.

Boyer has been able to marry her business skills with that of her compassion and empathy for those suffering from hair loss, specifically those participating in the fight against cancer. By using her kindness and understanding, she has created an environment which fosters a private and intimate setting where customers can peruse Boyer’s hair supply products. A comfortable experience when buying wigs and hair extensions is especially important to her customers because we’ve all seen the stares and second glances when someone, in particular a woman, has lost his or her hair. For those battling cancer locally in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, this is something that people with hair loss do not have to endure, all thanks to Boyer.

In the short 2.5 years that she has been in business, Boyer has been able to serve a clientele that has historically been underserved. To be specific, in Sioux Falls, there is little to no local competition. When she began her business, she understood that she would be standing alone in the market. But she also understood the value of creating a niche developed around the core concept of the customer experience.
The Idea
Starting any new business venture is a gamble and Boyer’s case was no exception. She understood that starting the business would be a risk, but the very thing that makes her stand out from the local crowd is what also made her business risky. The fact that there was nothing else like her business in the area is what made starting her business a challenge. But she believed in herself and put her best foot forward.   

“I decided to follow my heart”

Seeking A Small Business Loan
As most small business owners do, Boyer soon realized she would need funding. At first she sought a small business loan from a traditional bank. And while they were willing to lend to her, they wanted her to start big, meaning that she was approved for business loans but the banks wanted her to apply for loans that were in excess of what she wanted or needed. Boyer knew that was not in the best interest of Really Mine Hair Supply.

After all, it was Boyer’s goal when she started to begin at a comfortable pace that would allow her to remain customer focused and to build brand awareness. She wanted to be able to grow at a rate that would still allow her to provide an intimate, warm environment for her customers. What Boyer really needed, was the right type of small business loan.

Although she did not agree with the direction the banks wanted her to go in, she realized that she could not survive with a small business loan. To keep her business growing and thriving, Boyer would need working capital for inventory and marketing among other business expenses. As business owners, don’t we all know that dilemma too well? Especially owning and operating a product-based business, inventory is just as critical to survival as the money to purchase it is. So she turned to Kabbage.

“Without Kabbage, I wouldn’t have been able to get financing,” she says.

As a business owner, she understands that you must have discipline in your spending, but she also enjoys the flexibility of having a small business loan from Kabbage.

Boyer says, “I love being able to use Kabbage. If I need a little, I can take a little. If I need a lot, I can take a lot.”

By seeking a small business loan through an alternative funding source, she was able to access enough capital to grow her business at a pace that was comfortable for her.
Getting the Word Out

Boyer has been able to implement a marketing plan that encompasses both strategic business development tactics and the creative initiatives that serve her customers. Because she sells her products online, she has implemented specific marketing strategies to increase brand awareness, like:

Facebook – The Facebook page for Really Mine Hair Supply currently has over 400 likes and is still growing. Boyer uses the page to share information about her business and offer daily promotions. She also uses a lot of images so that her existing customer base and potential customers can take a look at new products she may have in her inventory. It’s a great tool to use because customers can see what each product looks like before purchasing.

Yahoo Local works – The SEO that Boyer has integrated into her marketing plan includes Yahoo Localworks. Yahoo Localworks allows people to search for local businesses. And those businesses that are listed on Yahoo Localworks have the benefit of being listed in over 40+ directories. As Boyer has learned, this is a great tool to utilize to attract local customers.

Google AdWords –Google AdWords allows a business to advertise locally or globally, and you only pay when someone clicks to visit your website (pay-per-click). AdWords is another tactic that Boyer has used to attract customers.

Another huge part of Boyer’s marketing strategy is attending events like, tradeshows and cancer awareness functions to showcase her products. These events have given Boyer the opportunity to showcase some of her favorite products. Whenever she attends a breast cancer awareness event she also sells her pink hair clip-ins, of which she donates 100 percent of the proceeds to a local breast cancer research foundation. Now that’s giving back!

As a small business owner, giving back to local communities and organization is often a sacrifice. But because Boyer works so closely with those battling these types of diseases, she understands the need to be at the forefront and to be able to help. She truly is a role model for other business owners and members of her community.
The Future
What does the future hold for Really Mine Hair Supply? In the short term, Boyer plans on remaining customer focused. She will continue to take feedback from her current customer base and improve on her product offerings. The company will also continue to be an affordable hair supply solution by continuing to offer specials and discounts.
Kabbage Takeaway
During Boyer’s time, has she made any mistakes? Boyer’s response was” Absolutely!” As a business owner, I am sure you can relate. She explained that early on when she was starting out, she did become discouraged when doors were closed or she was told no. But she was tenacious and kept pressing forward.

So we have learned three important things from Monika Boyer. First, as a business owner and in particular a small business owner, you just have to keep pressing forward, keep it moving.

“Believe in yourself.”

Secondly, as it relates to business while you are strategizing, think compassionately about how you can help your community. We can all take a page out of Boyer’s book and couple our business ambitions with compassion.

Finally, we can all learn from Really Mine Hair Supply the value of creating an awesome customer experience.

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Kabbage Team

Kabbage is here not only to provide access to the small business funding you need, but to also help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.