-- and they are greatful for the chance to work! - Kathleen, Full Circle Quilts
I have two businesses - one was born as a side project to support the other. Both companies share in the desire to bring flexible, in-home jobs to rural women in Wyoming who have few economic opportunities. Wyoming is the least-populated state in the US, yet is the 9th largest in terms of geographic size. Basically, our entire state is rural! Our state economy has long depended on the extraction industry - an industry that is not female-friendly to begin with, relies on skilled mobile labor, and is prone to extreme boom-bust cycles. Drilling man-camps (called "man" camps for a reason) pop up and disappear overnight, creating further instability. As the US moves away from fossil-fuels, Wyoming residents are facing an extremely challenging time. Women are often responsible for providing child care, elder care, community building - all of which require time, yet none of these are income-producing. Women in rural communities face a more difficult time - there are simply no supplemental income opportunities. I have 30 year old mothers and 70 year old grandmothers working for me - all of whom are thankful to have this work opportunity.
E-commerce requires intensive marketing and advertising in order to be successful. I have built a remote-manufacturing company where I ship pre-cut components to rurally-based women to sew in their own homes. My Kiva loan is providing working capital for marketing, trade shows, and my employee wages. It is important to be realistic about the actual cost of internet marketing. Customer Acquisition Cost is the single most important part of an e-commerce business. "Viral" or "free" sharing of your company/products in order to drive traffic/conversions to your site is highly, highly unlikely - it's like winning the lottery. Social Media is not free. The huge number of hours necessary to spend on developing successful marketing campaigns can not be overstated. There is a real cost for those hours. You will be spending time making your products, working in your stores, working on your farms. Do you have additional enough hours a day to devote to marketing?
I appreciate the rapid processing of my loan - I was able to purchase a booth at a MAJOR upcoming trade show because of the loan! This is an enormous opportunity for me and my team of sewers, and one I would have missed without the loan. Because of the support shown for my Kiva loan, I was able to apply for a State Incentive Grant specifically for Trade Shows, which will help stretch my Kiva dollars even further!
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