I was born and raised in San Francisco’s Fillmore District, pre-gentrification. It was a very different place, more communitites of color. I grew up around drugs, and listened to violence. I watched the crack epidemic destroy a community. I watched it destroy families, including people in my birth family. Despite the hardships, it was home. I eventually grew up and watched gentrification “clean up” the area I lived. I worked, went to college and eventually graduate school. I traveled, had a good job, bought a house, and sold it at the right time. Life seemed pretty good until a gluten-related illness pretty much took over my life. Since then I’ve given birth to an amazing son who will turn 9 in June. I’ve fortunately taken back my health, but have had to endure some pretty extreme financial hardships. I studied Holistic Nutrition and started a business. I’ve looked for outside work for over 3 years now, and mostly have had temp jobs. Due to the housing issues, we experienced housing instability for over a year. Fortunately, I am working more and we’ve had more stability in the last couple months than we’ve had since we moved from our home in January 2015. I’ve lived on and off in Oakland since the late 90’s and look at it as home as does my son. Despite the current housing problems in Oakland, it’s where I am raising my son for now. He is a great child and goes to an amazing school, and stability is very important for me, for us. I have a clean bill of health, and a very clear vision of the life I’m creating for both me and my son. My dream is to create more than enough financial stability so that I can raise my son comfortably, travel, and fund programs I believe truly help people who want a better life for themselves and their children.
More about this loan
Tara’s Teas is a line or organic, loose leaf teas. In November of 2013 I decided I wanted to try something new to increase revenue in my Nutrition business. Since I had been making my own herbal teas since pregnancy, I decided to create a line of herbal, organic teas. I find that I love blending herbs and spices. I also enjoy networking and being around positive people. When I bring my teas to events, the people I serve are happy and enjoy the flavor. I’ve since added blends that include black teas. My biggest challenge has been the financial backing. I have to work out of a commercial kitchen and I have yet to come up with the deposit. I’ve had several opportunities to attend events, which I’ve missed due to booth fees and the commercial kitchen. My customers are people who love teas, and also host events. When I do bring teas, customers make purchase requests. Over the next year I’d like Tara’s Teas to attend as many events as possible. There are monthly wedding fairs, plus networking events that we can attend with teas for service and purchase. I have a business plan for a tea shoppe, which we actually planned on opening 2 years ago but did not get the funding or location. I am still contemplating a tea shoppe, however I’d like to see how catering will work. My long term goal includes studying herbal medicine, which is actually the root of my love for blending loose leaf teas. Once I become a Clinical Herbalist, I can discuss the medicinal properties of the teas. For now however, I focus on the look and flavor profile. What I love most about Tara’s Teas is their unique design and flavor. I custom blend all of our teas. What makes me most proud is that my son is actively involved, and sees himself managing our company when he gets to be a teenager. I also love the fact that people are happy when they see and taste the blends.
(Note on location below: I complete most of my paperwork and calls at Impact Hub Oakland. Once I secure a commercial kitchen or physical location, that will be my actual business address).
What is the purpose of this loan?
Commercial Kitchen: $800 ($500 Deposit + $300 for first month) Event booth fees: $1697 for next 4 events Supplies: $400 for next 4 events ($100 per event) Business cards: $45 Banner: $30 Assistant: $150 ($15 per hour, 10 hours to start)
If were to book one wedding with 200 guests, that would be $1,500. If I were to book 3 events per month I could bring in over $3,000 per month. That’s just wedding events. I’ll start advertising for wedding gifts, bridal parties, and tea parties which would increase revenue another $2,000. This loan will help me get myself out to the communities who appreciate tea and unique gifts. The revenue will help me grow my business and make more than enough to sustain myself and my son. I’ll be able to provide more than the basics, doing work that I love, and still have time to parent my son. I actively volunteer with his school and having my own business, though busy, I’ll still have time to be present for my son and his education. What’s most important, I’ll have a livable wage so that we have our own living space and thrive.
Years in operation: 1 year – 3 years