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Stephanie and Leah

Awesome Bars

San Francisco, CA

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Personal Story

I was born with a passion for food and discovered my love of cooking in my early childhood. My mom is an excellent cook and instilled in me an appreciation for healthy, home cooked meals. I have always struggled with my weight and I know that cooking my own meals is the best way to control calories and sodium intake, while also enabling me to avoid preservatives and additives.

I grew up in New Jersey, in a single parent household with my mom working often. If I wanted an after school snack, I had to get creative and make it myself. I remember wanting an EZ-bake oven for my birthday to help me in my cooking escapades. Unfortunately, they were sold out, so, she improvised and bought me a bunch of mini kitchen items: a small cookie tray, muffin pan, spoons and spatulas and taught me how to cook in the toaster oven. This turned out to be way better than a child’s toy and was the beginning to my cooking creativity.

In High School, my mom opened her own restaurant and asked me to take on the position of head chef. It was through this experience that I learned the ropes of starting a business and the courage it takes to do so. I was also inspired to attend culinary school in the hopes of one day starting my own business. I moved to San Francisco when I was 25 with the dream of becoming a personal chef. I knew that people out here appreciate healthy food made from scratch, but they don’t always have the time to do it themselves. Using the resources I had, I designed a website and promoted my services around San Francisco. Soon enough, I was a hired chef for small parties and families.

Business Description

Awesome Bars were born out of my personal hunger for a healthy, delicious snack that did not have additives, or GMO soy products which are difficult to digest. I was training for the San Francisco Marathon and had started making peanut butter, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies before my runs to give me a boost of protein, carbohydrates and sugar to sustain me throughout my workouts. As my training progressed, I needed to increase my protein intake and the cookies weren’t enough. I tried eating the power bars, protein bars and just about every bar on the market, but they tasted terrible and were packed full of GMO soy products.

With my chef skills at hand, I set out to create my own granola bars using simple ingredients. I gave the bars as gifts to family and friends, and received an overwhelming response to sell them. My sister helped me sell the bars at a farmers market, and eventually we partnered together to write a business plan and officially launch our business together.

Awesome Bars are currently sold in 200 independently owned retail locations around the Bay Area and expanding into the Northwest region of the US. Our primary customers are health driven individuals, busy office people, or anyone seeking a delicious snack.

One of the main challenges we’ve faced is being women entrepreneurs. We primarily sell to independent coffee shops and natural food stores with a sales approach of hitting the pavement and speaking directly with the owners, who are predominantly male. We’ve been commended for our courage to take the risk of starting our own business, but this has come with a lot of skepticism about the viability of our business. We know our product is Awesome, we have proven there is demand for our product, and it simply a matter of proving this.

What is the purpose of this loan?

This loan will be used to fabricate a granola bar cutter ($500), purchase kitchen supplies ($500), hire new employees ($2,000) and provide working capital ($2,000).

Our small business is going through a growing phase because we are starting to receive large orders from bigger clients who are on Net 30 terms or longer. To balance our growing accounts receivables, we need working capital now so we don’t lose out on these opportunities. Hiring new employees will accommodate our production increases, and the fabrication of a granola bar cutter will improve our efficiency drastically. These factors will also help with our growing overhead costs, as our kitchen rent has recently increased due to the amount of production time we have used in the past few months.

With this loan we hope to be able to build our profits up to obtain our own kitchen space. This loan will provide immediate relief to our payroll and with the hire of new employees and improved efficiency, my sister and I will have more time available to grow our business in strategic ways. Ultimately, this loan will allow our business to become sustainable.

Stephanie and Leah's loan is endorsed by Urban Solutions. The information below explains why her trustee thinks Stephanie and Leah is a great candidate for a Kiva Zip loan.
How long have you known this person?

1 year - 3 years

Tell us about your relationship with this borrower.

Stephanie and Leah came to small business services approximately one and one half years ago seeking technical and financial assistance to help stabilize their new business. While their business was in its early stages, Urban Solutions helped the sisters with business planning and formalizing a system for making better financial projections. They are currently continuing to meet monthly with the small business consulting program to receive technical assistance and loan packaging services to secure additional capital to help grow their business.

You can find Awesome Bars at more than 200 retail locations in San Francisco!

Tell us about this borrower's personality and character, and why you are endorsing him or her for a Kiva Zip loan.

Leah and Stephanie Melnik possess the characteristics necessary to be successful business owners. They are creative, have strong leadership qualities, and both of them have excellent customer service traits. They are willing to follow up any opportunity that will assist the business. They entered Awesome Bars in a contest for the Specialty Food Association's contest recently.They were selected to be reviewed by a panel of New York judges and won the honor of Runner Up!

For the past year while their business was in its early stages, Urban Solutions helped the sisters with business planning and formalizing a system for making better financial projections. They are currently seeking funds to off set their rising working capital requirements. They are energetic and smart and a loan would would be just the boost they need to stabilize their business. Aside from all that it is like no other granola bar you have ever had. It's awesome!

You can find Awesome Bars at more than 200 retail locations in San Francisco.

Tell us about this borrower's business, and why you believe a Kiva Zip loan will contribute to his or her success.

Stephanie and Leah envision a world where you can see your ingredients and appreciate them for their beauty, as well as their tastiness. They use all natural and organic ingredients and no added preservatives. This is what makes the bars so awesome. The bars are handcrafted in small batches by the two sisters. With her culinary background, Leah created the recipes for her granola bars out of a personal need for a healthy, nutritious snack that tasted delicious. With encouragement from family and friends, the sisters partnered and began selling their granola bars to local coffee shops and natural food stores. They have since managed to place the product in 200 independent retail locations in San Francisco and they are growing and expanding at an Awesome rate!

Due to their speedy growth they will need to monitor their ability to manage it moving forward. This will be one challenge for the business however is manageable with the proper attention on the operations.

187 Total , 1 invited by Stephanie and Leah , 1 invited by Trustee
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San Francisco, CA
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PAYING BACK

A loan of $5,000 helps me to fabricate a granola bar cutter to improve efficiency, purchase kitchen supplies and hire new employees. It will also provide working capital.

Disbursed Aug 27, 2013
Repayment Term:
24 monthly payments
Grace Period:
N/A
Listed:
Aug 20, 2013
Disbursed:
Aug 27, 2013
Paying Back:
Aug 28, 2013

About Awesome Bars

Industry:
Food production
Years in Operation:
1 year - 3 years
Website:
youcantfakeawesome.com
Follow:
Facebook Twitter Etsy
Badges:
Badge_connectedness_gold_small

What are Borrower Badges?

Borrower Badges are a system designed to recognize and reward borrowers’ engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

There are two types of badges that are tiered like medals: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

  1. 'Repayment badges' are awarded for the on-time repayment of loans.
  2. 'Connectedness badges' are awarded for engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

This loan is endorsed by

Trustee Type:
NonProft, Technical Assistance and Business Development
Location:
San Francisco, CA
Badges:
Badge_repayment_silver_small
On Zip Since:
Dec 6, 2011
(28 months)
Loans Endorsed:
5
Total Value:
$23,000
Fundraising/Raised:
0
Paying on Time:
4
Paying Back Late:
0
Repaid in Full:
Not enough data
Defaulted:
Not enough data
Repayment Rate:
100%
Why are you endorsing Stephanie and Leah?

Leah and Stephanie Melnik possess the characteristics necessary to be successful business owners. They are creative, have strong leadership qualities, and both of them have excellent customer service traits. They are willing to follow up any opportunity that will assist the business. They entered...

What are Trustee Badges?

Trustee Badges are a system designed to recognize and reward trustees’ engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

There are two types of badges that are tiered like medals: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

  1. 'Repayment badges' are awarded for the on-time repayment of loans.
  2. 'Connectedness badges' are awarded for engagement with the Kiva Zip website.
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