How a Children’s Birthday Changed Claudia Aponte’s Life

Take a Bow

Five years ago, Claudia’s best friend invited her to her niece’s birthday party. At the party, goodie bags were distributed, and Claudia noticed something interesting about the contents of each bag. While most of the items were cheaply made and easily disposable, each bag also contained a bow. Unlike the other items, the bow stood out to Claudia as something that would last, that the girls at the party would actually be able to use. That day, a light went off inside of Claudia. She thought “let me try to see if I can make bows.”

 

Claudia and her husband were in a critical financial situation. Claudia was unemployed, and her husband’s income was barely enough to support them both. Despite being on a tight budget, Claudia was determined to see where her crafting abilities would lead her and purchased $300 of ribbons. She taught herself how to make the bows by watching YouTube videos and began sharing them with her friends and family, who loved them and would refer her to others.

 

Soon enough, Lucky Girl Bowtique was created. Claudia expanded her inventory to more hair accessories and tutus, and began selling her items at local flea markets. Claudia wanted to offer her products to larger crowds and began traveling to state fairs across the country, where people began to recognize her brand.

 

 

Sources of Support

As business continued to grow, Claudia needed financing to meet the requests of her customers. She was referred to Accion by Chase Bank and was approved for a loan, which she used to buy more ribbons as well as new merchandise and new sewing machinery to make her products. “This loan helped us get to the next level,” Claudia explained. “Accion was very helpful with the entire process, from beginning to end.”

 

Now with two kiosk locations and seven employees, Claudia’s business is thriving and her and her husband’s financial challenges are finally behind them. She plans to open another kiosk at a third location in south Florida and one day turn her company into a franchise.

Happy Customers

For Claudia, running the business has always been so much more than selling a product. “We are part of these families’ worlds – their kids’ worlds. And just to be a tiny little part of that is unbelievable,” Claudia explained.

 

She recounted one of her favorite days of running the business when she was approached by several women who all told her their daughters had included Claudia’s bows on their Christmas wish-list. “The moms send me photos of their girls with the bows in their hair in different places wherever they go. I think that’s the most beautiful thing about it. I love it. I wouldn’t change anything about it.”