Saafara, San Francisco
Saafara is a line of premium handpicked West African herbal teas. Saafara has 5 flavors of tea available in boxes of 15 pyramid sachets. Saafara's brand provides traditional and medicinal West African Herbal Teas. $.25 cents from each box sold helps build acceptable delivery rooms with clean beds plus linens as well as potable water facilities in poor African communities.
From 2007 thru 2009, Ismael Diagne, owner of Saafara was selling his special tea in bulk to small African communities in America, but he decided to approach big chains of supermarkets such as Wholefoods and Rainbow. These supermarkets did not want to receive the tea in bulk but in nice packaging. Ismael did not count on the financial resources needed to package his product. He was trying to obtain a $25k loan for over a year but with no luck from both traditional lenders and micro lenders. One of the micro lenders referred Ismael to Gabriela Sapp to improve his business plans and financial projections.
Gabriela reviewed his business plan and financial projections and realized that Ismael was only relying on Wholefoods to sell his product. Ismael needed to improve his marketing plan as well as his projections that were not sound. Gabriela referred Ismael to Anni Minuzzo, food specialty consultant, who met with him several times to work on strategies to launch his product wholesale. English is Ismael’s second language so his writing skills were somewhat limited. Gabriela helped with editing the business plan with a new and improved marketing plan as well as worked on developing better financial projections. Gabriela also helped Ismael in practicing his presentation skills for the loan committee.
The result was that Ismael was able to secure a $25K loan to package his tea and now customers can find this tea in Wholefoods, Rainbow and other 15 stores in the Bay Area. Ismael sent an e-mail to Gabriela expressing his gratitude and said “without your support I would have never got my loan approved. Great job! I wish you I have known about the SBDC a year earlier.”