Ana Poe started Paco Collars while serving as head trainer in a dog day care facility, where she worked with Paco, a certified therapy dog and the inspiration behind her custom-made leather dog collars. Ana wanted a leather collar for Paco that wasn't decked out in spikes or chains. Seeing a gap in the market for high-quality, fashionable leather goods for pets, Paco Collars was born.
While Ana possessed the ideas and creativity, finding the funding necessary to get Paco Collars off the ground was a challenge. She came to Opportunity Fund initially for a $5,000 loan to build her business. Having never received financing before, Ana was able to establish her business credit through her Opportunity Fund loan. Later, as Paco Collars continued to grow and generate buzz, she received a huge order that required purchasing a large amount of materials and supplies.
Ana Poe (left) and CEO Eric Weaver.
Ana came back to Opportunity Fund for a $10,000 loan and became the first recipient of our newest microlending innovation, an EasyPay loan (which was featured in Entrepreneur magazine). EasyPay allows small businesses to pay back their loans bit-by-bit, taking a small percentage of each credit and debit card sale they make, rather than a fixed monthly payment.
"I love how I can pay the loan sooner when we're doing great on sales, and won't be dinged for not paying as much later, because they're basing the loan on our average monthly sales" said Ana.
Today, Paco Collars is both a brick-and-mortar shop in Berkeley, as well as a successful online retailer. You can browse the handmade items for your pet, which include ladigo leather collars, tags and harnesses that are all built to last a lifetime.