'Will Work for Loan' Sign Works

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Nashville Business Journal
By: Eric Snyder
April 8, 2010

Here's the thing about stunts and gimmicks -- sometimes they work.

Veronica James, the self-employed graphic designer who stood on the streets of downtown Nashville holding a 'Will Work for Business Loan' sign, says she has found the funding she needs to launch her "Urbandillo" line of specialty clothing.
James wrote Wednesday on her blog, Will Work For Loan, that she had received a microloan from the Small Business Administration Express Loan Program. Despite holding her sign among the downtown business professionals for several days, the loan is not being facilitated by a local bank, but by California-based Superior Financial Group.

According to the SBA's Web site, the microloan program provides up to $35,000 for working capital or the purchase of inventory, supplies, furniture, etc. Microloans cannot be used to pay existing debt or purchase real estate. The average microloan is for $13,000.

James said she will use her $7,500 microloan for legal expenses, such as finishing her patent work, and some marketing. "Not much, but it's $7,500 more than I had a couple weeks ago."

It will not, though, be enough to fully launch her Urbandillo line. She is working with a local facilitator, Will Mulligan, to secure a line of credit between $50,000 and $100,000. Though she has only a portion of the funding she will need to go foward, James said feels she has crested the hill, and is confident the rest will come. James said she expects her clothing line to be fully launched by the end of the year.

James spent seven days holding her sign downtown, but said she knew from day one the exposure would pay off. She plans to continue posting advice for others seeking small business loans on her blog.

"For me to keep it to myself and bottle it up won't do any good," she said.

Today, James posted the ten things she learned while standing around in the cold of March. Her last piece of advice: "Check the weather before planning to stand on a street corner every day AND make sure your sign looks better than the homeless guy on the other corner!"

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