Thanks to Opportunity Fund for this story!
Marcia Charles has worked in fashion for her whole life. When Marcia was 15-years-old, she started working at department store warehouses in the Bronx. Over the next 35 years, Marcia grew into a self-taught fashion designer and merchandiser, and eventually a self-made small business owner.
Marcia opened her own clothing store, Pinky Rose Boutique, in Los Angeles in 2013. Pinky Rose Boutique features the latest styles in clothes and accessories, as well as Marcia’s original designs. One of her signature designs is the Nadda dress. “It’s not a dress but like a jumpsuit, comfortable with built-in pockets that work as a belt and can be worn five different ways,” said Marcia.
When Marcia first needed a loan for her growing business, she went to a high-interest alternative lender that charged her a 45% interest rate. Rather than help her business, the loan nearly killed her business cash flow. Marcia needed funding more than ever – as well as a trustworthy and transparent lender.
Marcia was connected to Opportunity Fund through a community partner, BusinessSource LA, and found the reliable funding source that she was looking for. In 2015, Opportunity Fund provided her with a $7,500 loan, helping her refinance and keep her boutique’s doors open. “It helped me pay off the loan and get a lower interest rate,” Marcia said. “That helped me stay in business because the loan would have probably put me out of business.”
Over the next three years, Marcia came back to Opportunity Fund for three more loans, of $15,000, $18,000, and $25,000, to help with her wholesale expenses and grow her business. “Opportunity Fund believes in me and I believe in them,” said Marcia. “I see them as a fair lender that cares about small business owners like me. We all need that.”
Marcia uses her experience and wisdom to keep her business thriving in a tough industry while building up her own fashion brand. Marcia envisions establishing her comfort couture brand, by expanding to a second location that houses only her original designs.
Marcia is also a leader in her community. Pinky Rose was the first boutique on the street, and she helped establish the business neighborhood around her boutique. “When I started, there was nothing on the street. Along with two other restaurants, we were the first businesses here.” Now her street has a much more established business community, and Marcia is active in developing it. “I work with people in the community to improve the neighborhood for small businesses,” Marcia said.