Small Business Loan Success Story: Interior Design Fair’s Collaboration with Pacific Community Ventures

Small Business
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About Interior Design Fair
Interior Design Fair, or IDF, is a San Francisco-based design firm that specializes in creating innovative, unique and functional living and work spaces for Bay Area residential clients as well as businesses (including Nerdwallet’s!).

NerdWallet’s 2013 offices

IDF, however, is more than just your typical design firm. Aside from crafting beautiful spaces, the company also creates plenty of job opportunities for its community and supports its fellow small businesses by relying upon local vendors and manufacturers.

Founder Kassin Laverty started the company in 2009 and gradually expanded her business by keeping overhead costs low, drawing upon her extensive connections, and following leads through word of mouth.

By 2012, Interior Design Fair had five employees and a growing list of commercial clients. In order to ensure further expansion, Laverty realized she would need capital to invest in marketing and to hire more designers and operations staff.

Interior Design Fair Partners with Pacific Community Ventures
After extensive research, Laverty reached out to several financial institutions in 2012. However, because IDF was so new, the design firm didn’t qualify for a business loan. While Laverty continued the search for capital, she attended a mixer with the nonprofit organization Pacific Community Ventures, where she learned about its SAIL loan fund, which offers loans of $50,000 to $200,000 to growing Bay Area businesses.

Excited by this huge opportunity, Laverty eagerly filled out the loan pre-application for Pacific Community Ventures and was promptly matched with a financial advisor through the organization’s business advising program. The advisor provided hands-on support throughout the application process and helped her draft financial projections.

Pacific Community Ventures reviewed Interior Design Fair’s application with a holistic view of the 4 Cs of credit. After determining that IDF met the loan fund’s minimum requirements and that the business would create more jobs in the area, the organization’s loan committee approved IDF’s loan request.

Even after receiving the loan, Laverty continues to work with her financial advisor on a quarterly basis. She benefits from these free consulting services, as they provide an extra pair of ears and eyes on her company’s financials while also helping Laverty refine new ideas that could benefit IDF.

Interior Design Fair currently consists of 14 full-time staff members and five part-time contractors who receive ample benefits, including paid time off, maternity/paternity leave, a health care stipend, education funds and training to grow professionally. Due to its rapid growth, the company just relocated to a larger office in Potrero Hill.

IDF’s growing team

Tips for Small Business Owners
Prior to getting a loan from Pacific Community Ventures, Laverty conducted extensive research on the most appropriate loan product for her business. Laverty is especially pleased to have found a partner who shared her belief in creating economic opportunity for her surrounding community. Taking the time to find the right organization to work with requires patience and effort, but can ultimately be very rewarding.

IDF’s commitment to supporting its community is also reflected by its relationship with local vendors. For any given project, Interior Design Fair has a network of small businesses that provide sewing, furniture-making and construction services. These mutually beneficial relationships highlight Laverty’s belief that “when so many small businesses work together, we are able to create a healthy and vibrant local economy.”

Like many entrepreneurs, Laverty’s time is her most valuable resource. Instead of trying to do everything, Kassin builds her team’s skills and also maximizes the talent within her company with the help of her advisors from Pacific Community Venture’s business advising program. By doing this, Laverty supports her team’s professional development, receives expert advice from industry leaders, and gets to focus on what she enjoys most, namely, facilitating further growth for her business.