It’s Small Business Week! So we’re featuring some of the small businesses that are taking big steps!
Who is Bond Street? Bond Street provides fast, affordable financing to grow your business. We offer term loans of up to $1 million, with interest rates starting at 6% and terms from one to three years. If you’re interested in capital for growing your business—or just want to say hi—drop us a line. We’d love to learn about your goals and tell you a little more about us, as well.
Who: Manuel Gonzales-Luna and Stephanie Park
What: Standard Deviation, a direct-to-consumer menswear line combining contemporary style with streetwear influences.
Why: When conceiving the brand’s main design concept, co-founders Stephanie Park and Manuel Gonzales-Luna looked to their group of male friends as a starting point. Striking out in New York City, many were seeking to evolve their styles beyond more traditional fashions, but couldn’t readily find well-crafted casual clothing with a “fresh” look at non-designer prices. With backgrounds in merchandise planning and technical design, Stephanie and Manuel sought to address this gap in the market by creating Standard Deviation.
How did you originally finance your business?
We are largely self-financed, although we also have lines of credit with our bank.
How important do you think it is to understand money/finances as a business owner?
As a business owner, it’s extremely important to understand all aspects of your business, including money and finances. Retail is a capital-intensive business, and being able to plan for future cash flow needs is essential.
What do you wish you’d known about money/finances before starting a business?
I wish we had had a better understanding of the various grants that are available to small businesses owned by minorities and women and businesses that manufacture in the U.S. This is something that we’re still researching.
Do you think too many people let money get in the way of starting a small business?
Unfortunately, not having your finances in place will be a non-starter for most retail businesses. You need the capital in order to finance your orders and pay for marketing, etc.
What business expense have you most underestimated?
We significantly underestimated how much it would cost to get trademark protection domestically and internationally. International trademark protection is more of a long-term investment for us, as we currently sell only in the U.S. As a small business owner starting out, one may be tempted to forgo registering one’s trademark internationally, but we decided it was worth the upfront expense to save us a headache and potentially a lot of money later.
How do you cover upfront productions costs without killing your cash flow?
You can try negotiating favorable payment terms with your vendors (for example, net 30 or 60 days), but unless you have a previous relationship and credit history with the vendor, that may be difficult to get at first. Projecting your other upcoming cash flow needs will also help you plan how much money you’ll need and when.
Is there anything about finance (or a financial concept) that still totally freaks you out (or you just can’t seem to get the hang of)?
We both started our careers in finance, so we’re pretty comfortable with most financial concepts. I personally loathe doing accounting in Quickbooks, and it takes me forever.
What about your business finances/money keeps you up at night?
We’re in the stage of our business where we’re focusing on marketing and brand awareness to drive sales. Figuring out the smartest way to spend our marketing dollars is not an easy task, and we’re still testing the waters with various platforms, including traditional PR, digital marketing and influencer campaigns .
Do you have any financial wisdom you’d like to share with other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Taking on bank debt can feel scary, but used wisely, lines of credit and other types of loans from your bank can really open up avenues for growth for your business. The Small Business Administration (SBA) can also be a good source of loans if banks aren’t an option.
Is there a book you’ve read that has helped you better understand money/ finances?
No, but the SBA regularly holds educational seminars at various places in the city.
What business person/ entrepreneur would you most like to have lunch with?
Someone at Instagram and Facebook who can give us direct insight into their advertising business!