Structured for Success
Wayne was ready for a professional change. “I wanted to create something unique.” At the time, he and his wife Julie often kept their dogs gated off to prevent them from making a mess, using a small and uncomfortable enclosure that made the couple feel guilty. Julie suggested an idea that they create something modern and enjoyable for the dogs to be in instead. They began testing structures that provided a uniquely comfortable environment for pets. Passionate about pets and the lasting benefits of the human-animal bond, Julie and Wayne founded Clearly Loved Pets to promote exactly that.
“By 2017, we had the product well developed, but in order to buy enough inventory to get started, we needed more money and quickly, since many places we ordered from had a lead time of several months.” The couple applied for a loan at their bank, but because they were a new business, they did not quality. Their banker instead referred them to apply for a loan from Accion. “The application process was very well organized Our loan consultant at Accion guided us through all of the steps.” Wayne and Julie received a 7a SBA Community Advantage loan for $80,000 in 2017. “When our loan closed, sales were just starting to pick up.” The couple was then able to purchase the raw materials needed to assemble their products.
The Sky’s the Limit
With the support they needed to begin production, business sales skyrocketed. “In 2018, we grew an average of 15% per month. In August, our sales went up 44%.” The couple was able to move their workspace out of their home, double its size and hire five employees. Lastly, they were able secure their first business bank loan: a 7a loan for $270,000, indicating that the growth attained with Accion’s support enabled them to achieve lasting self-sufficiency and bankability. “We were very happy. Now we can build on that relationship and eventually receive a line of credit.”
Wayne and Julie are proud to be able to create a product that illuminates their passion and fills a need for like-minded pet owners. “We’ve put the best of us together to make something unique and special.” With four children, Wayne and Julie also have the flexibility to prioritize their children’s schedules whenever needed. “My stepson has a performance tonight, and I can just go.” Recently recognized as “Entrepreneurs of the Year” by their local SCORE chapter, Wayne and Julie show no signs of slowing down. “We’re going to keep growing and hiring more people.”