We're less than two weeks away from crowdfunding and I wanted to take advantage and focus this Currently Post on exactly why we're crowdfunding and why you should support us. We've received so many questions re: what it means, what it looks like to support, how to support, all completely understandable questions because we can't show you our actual campaign page until we launch on the 18th. However, I can clear up any misconceptions or questions about why we're journeying down this path and even preview of our actual pitch!
Obviously, growing a business requires money. When I set out to create House of Lilac, I never intended to become a florist in the traditional sense of the word. I always intended to become a brand that provided flowers (the best kind) as its product, but also served the community and had a mission more expansive than just the product. Thus, I decided off the bat that I was going to focus on everyday flowers instead of big flower productions, first and foremost because the "big events" weren't part of our mission, and second because we wouldn't be able to focus our time and effort on actually educating people and the community about flowers.
Cue startup and operation financing. I've financed this business in small amounts throughout the last four years, through every avenue available to me in my short entrepreneurship tenure - small business loans, merchant financing, cash advances, small family loans. These have all been small investments because it's very difficult for small business to secure large amounts of loan or credit financing without several years of profit and experience under their belt (you would think there would be more financing available for startups but the 2008 changed a lot of the banking industry).
To put things into perspective, here are the funding options available for small women run businesses:
In fact women business owners receive 50% less funding compared to male business owners. We're now at a point in the business where we want to take the company to the next level, which includes:
- Increasing our customer base and community reach
- Investing in better equipment
- Expanding our content and product offerings across MORE channels and MORE people.
This business growth and structure requires a lot of investment (more than we've ever had available to us) and most growing small businesses can agree that anything that requires A LOT of investment needs additional capital outside revenue streams (from somewhere). People might be asking, well why don't you just use the money you're making to grow? Well, it's a catch 22. We make enough to support our current finances (which is awesome) but we want to be able to grow MUCH MORE, reach more people and grow our content; but we can't reach those people, unless we spend A LOT MORE money that we're not making. So we can't grow or make the money needed to grow, unless we have a larger amount of additional funds.
So we are asking the same community that has supported us through the years and built us up to continue supporting us in this journey through a crowdfunding campaign. "[T]raditional fundraising vehicles require you to compromise on [control and independence in your idea and your business]. With a small business loan, you’re taking on debt and putting yourself in a potentially less stable financial position. With an equity investor, you’re ceding a measure of control over your enterprise. With rewards-based crowdfunding, you can raise cash and keep control of your business." via iFundWomen.
As Miami, becomes more of an entrepreneurial hub for small businesses, we’re proud to be among the first to take advantage of this new growth technology by partnering with a female-focused fundraising platform, IFundWomen that helps address the unique challenges of female entrepreneurs. On March 18, you will be invited to contribute to our "Help us Grow" campaign via our iFundWomen page and, in exchange, can choose from a list of hand-picked rewards including newsletter and instagram mentions, discounted credits, private flower workshops, exclusive membership to our new "Flower Club", and our new flower subscription program. So YOU DO GET SOMETHING IN RETURN! It's not a donation by any means. All you have to do is purchase something for yourself (or someone else) and by doing so, you support us. EASY PEASY.
Here's a snippet of our pitch below. Please know that by supporting us, you're supporting a female run business that WANTS to make a change in this community. For the better. I would be honored and humbled if the community that has supported us from the beginning gave us the opportunity to grow even more by providing us with the means to get there.