How Kabbage Gave Back: A Heartwarming Small Business
I’m Francesca Coughlin. I’m the owner of the amazing company called HairZing. When I created HairZing it was because I needed to get my hair up and I needed it to not break it, I needed all sorts of reasons and nothing existed so I invented it. It was such a great hair accessory but it worked differently than anything else, so I tried to license it. Large companies told me that women would never be able to understand this hair accessory so I thought “fine, I’ll just build the model. I’ll build the company and we’ll show them.” And sure enough we put it right on QVC it started doing just under a couple million dollars right away, shockingly. It was seen by a very very large infomercial company, and they came out with one that looked so similar to mine even my mother couldn’t tell the difference. We tried to fight back; as a small company, as most small companies would, and we were hauled into court for that. During that battle it took us all of our life savings – it took us 25 years including selling a company to finance that, to finance the company and the lawsuit – that we were fighting over a product that I’d invented. Now suddenly instead of working 8 to 10 hours a day you’re working 14 to 15 hours a day, and you’re working seven days a week. The sacrifices have been profound – no shopping trips, no vacations, no new shoes – but I think of everything I missed; I’ve missed vacations. It takes a toll on your family because they watch you struggle and suffer. I am Francesca’s husband Carrie, we met back in 1990 we have been married for 17 years. My name is Kenya Tucker and I am Francesca’s stepdaughter. At the time of the legal battle I was going through a lot of things and I suffered a slight heart attack. The cause of that had a lot to do with the stress in my life. My friend lost her passion for everything and she was sort of drowning; it’s always noticeable when someone that is that strong in your life sort of loses their spirit. Patent number 7748390, this is my favorite patent of all time because this is the one that changed the course of my life. We’ve gone from being nearly bankrupt to now selling well over five million units. None of that would have been possible without the patent and without being able to stay in business to see that happen. Capital’s the oxygen of business and that’s what keeps you going. A company like ours would have been would have gone under had we not had working capital. We would have closed and Kabbage kept us alive. What I found myself in was a place where banks, my traditional banks, and then there were subprime predatory lenders. And then I found Kabbage and Kabbage was right in the middle. Kabbage was easy to use, Kabbage gave us everything that we needed. It’s the most amazing funding that I’ve ever seen and I’ve been in business for 30 years; I’ve never experienced anything like that.
Can you read those, please? Yes, did you want me to read it out loud? Please. “Dear Fran and family, from everyone at Kabbage we want to thank you. More so we want to celebrate you everything you’ve gone through, the adversity you’ve overcome, the sacrifices you’ve made, all you’ve accomplished and endured, the trials and triumphs. Your story is one of perseverance, unrelenting will, motivation, and hustle. We want to celebrate your undying dedication to your company, your love for your people, and commitment to community. You keep us motivated and we want to return the favor. Kabbage is sending you and your family on an all-expenses-paid vacation. Recharge, come back, and kick ass. The Kabbage team.”
Thank you. We haven’t been on a vacation in so long.