A Kiva Story: An Entrepreneur's Journey May 19 2018

After a long hiatus, I have restarted "Busty Girl Stories." Life became so busy for me that I was unable to devote adequate time to blogging, so I decided to focus my efforts on growing Exclusively Kristen and other commitments. Starting and running a business takes a lot of time, grit, and energy. I devoted a lot of time to processing orders, overseeing production, materials sourcing, marketing, social media, pop-up shops, bookkeeping, and updating my business plan. All of which are heavily time consuming. On top of that, I was responding to inquiries about restocking merchandise.

My inventory woes and desire to grow Exclusively Kristen brought me to the Brooklyn Small Business Development Center and SCORE NYC, which I will be forever grateful. Representatives of both programs directed me to a few small business loan resources and also helped me to fine tune my bookkeeping. One of the loan resources was Kiva, which is a crowdfunding microloan platform. I applied on their website and was approved for a $6,000 crowdfunding campaign. First, I had to get 15 friends and family to loan me at least $25 in a private round within two weeks. Once I reached that milestone, my campaign became public and I had 30 days to raise the full amount requested. To my surprise, excitement, and delight, I was able to raise the remaining $5,500 in just two days! The quickness in which Exclusively Kristen was able to reach its crowdfunding goal and the fact that I've sold out of many styles very quickly is enough validation for me to keep driving this business forward. Not only does Exclusively Kristen fill a void in the market but I have a product that people are willing to support.

A few weeks after the successful crowdfunding campaign, I was in South Florida having lunch with my family and received a phone call from AM New York newspaper. They were going to run a story about WE Fund: Crowd, which is part of the NYC Department of Small Business Services and a Kiva partner. WE Fund: Crowd was one of the funders of Exclusively Kristen's Kiva campaign. A week later, AM New York ran a wonderful story about female entrepreneurs and crowdfunding, featuring yours truly and the Collared Sheath Dress

Now I'm in the middle of a large production run of our most popular style: The One and Only Shirt...and, thanks to SCORE NY, Kiva, WE Fund: Crowd, and many others, I am able to offer three different colors. I will update you on the progress of this large order in an upcoming "Busty Girl Story."