We were really excited to have decided upon a name for our business: “dahlia”. Registering the business with state and country made the business feel real. But now we had to deal with the dollars and cents. Argie asked me the minimum amount of money I thought we would need to get started. I replied, "$800 for the both of us”, thinking we could “bootstrap” the business. I guess I knew the concept at the time but not the term. I’m not talking about a rodeo! Bootstrapping is where you start a business with a minimal amount of your own money, but plow all your income back into the business, growing over time. To come up with a number I made an educated guess on the cost of materials to create a set of wedding and a set of baptism candles (lambades) knowing we could buy more materials once we sold these initial products.
Bootstrapping, of course, has it’s challenges: we weren’t able to buy supplies cheaply in bulk as we could only afford small quantities. We would grow more slowly. And it doesn’t provide money for a retail space, lawyers andlegal fees, or advertising. We wouldn’t even be able to afford a website. We considered a business loan to help with these expenses and accelerate our business, but ultimately decided against it. We wanted to keep the risks to our families low.
It was decided: Boots on, we were running lean! The money for supplies would come out of our personal finances. Argie's basement became our workshop and my home office became the business store. Phew...no rent, no extra insurance payments. Which meant no pressure on achieving a certain amount of sales per month. My husband offered to be our accountant, tracking our finances and filing our taxes. ....no fees here.
Are we ready to decorate candles yet?