Alicia K Designs, San Francisco
“Event planner secures loan for critical expansion”
Alicia K. Designs is a leading San Francisco based full-service event company. Before coming to the SBDC, Alicia Falango, owner of Alicia K. Designs, was in the midst of a classic business financing conundrum. After experiencing rapid growth and expansion from 2010-2012, the company had hired additional employees, moved into a larger leased premises and purchased vehicles and additional equipment. This large increase in overhead enabled the company to commit to serve more customers, but the wedding event industry stalled in 2013, as a significant number of weddings were deferred to avoid a marriage in a year ending in “13”. While still profitable, the investment in expansion had tied up cash needed for further growth.
Despite the temporarily stalled wedding industry, the stellar reputation of Alicia K. Designs continued to secure bookings and commitments. During 2013, the contracted bookings for events in 2014 rose to record levels representing a near doubling of sales. In addition, a major sports team began to use the company as its “go to” event planner. To serve this huge increase in the level of business, the company needed to borrow significantly more funds to invest in additional equipment and to provide additional working capital. Since the company did not own substantial assets, a lender would need to understand the business and the fact that the contractual commitments were solid.
The company’s banker at the time looked at the loan proposal and eventually turned the request down. At this point, Alicia Falango asked if the SBDC could help locate a lender that would understand her situation. Business Advisor, Lee Lambert, was assigned by the SBDC to assist the company. He helped Alicia revise and complete her business plan and financial projections, and introduced the company to the San Francisco Emerging Business Loan Fund (EBLF).
After working with the San Francisco SBDC and revising her business plan and financials, Alicia’s loan was approved, and the company was able to make the investments necessary and to have the working capital to continue its rapid growth.
“The San Francisco SBDC helped us to locate growth financing at a critical time. They were a gift, and gave me the tools to continue to take my business to the next level.”