Caitlin Turner has been in the beauty industry for over a decade and was running a salon in Berwick, Victoria, offering eyelash extensions when Covid-19 drew trade to a standstill.
Caitlin knew she had to ‘pivot’ the business to survive. Her husband was able to access some super money early due to the Covid ruling, and invested it in her beauty vision: an in-person and online academy to train people in the art of lash extensions and brows, and educate them to be able to set up their own business.
“We were basically betting our retirement on making this business work,” she says. That was in May 2020, but the business’s pivot wasn’t all plain sailing by any stretch of the imagination.
The proposition of training in a job that requires face-to-face interaction was a tough one to sell, particularly to people in locked-down Australian states.
In addition, Lash X Artistry and Academy’s customers pay for their courses – which can cost from $299-$2499 – by direct debit, and if students lost their jobs they couldn’t pay for the courses they’d enrolled in.
Expansion on the cards
However, Caitlin was convinced her business had significant potential, particularly in the U.S., which was not as subject to as strict Covid measures as we’ve been subjected to here in Australia – so she called Bizcap to see if she could get additional funds to fuel an expansion.
“We actually got referred to Bizcap by another lender, who’d refused us because of my credit rating,” says Caitlin.
“My credit report has six defaults from a few years ago when I really didn’t understand the impact of my credit report. I’ve been trying hard to get all of these things off my name, and ultimately my personal credit report doesn’t reflect my ability to run my business.
“All of those defaults have been paid off, but they’re still there and it affects my file.”
Bizcap prides itself on being Australia’s most open-minded lender, looking beyond your credit score to support Australian businesses, and we were able to help Caitlin fund her American dream.
“Ted and the team at Bizcap looked at my bank transactions and bank statements saw massive growth and gave me the money within a couple of hours.”
Bizcap was able to provide $30,000 to Lash X Artistry and Academy, enabling Caitlin to take the business stateside by investing in a number of things including the partnership that was able to take the business to America, as well as other supplies that the business needs to expand.
Eyes on the future
Within the first financial year of running Lash X Artistry and Academy, Caitlin managed to turnover $663,000 – a remarkable achievement at any time, never mind in the middle of a global pandemic – and with a little help from Bizcap will hit $1.4m this financial year.
“It’s almost like you guys are silent investors in a way,” Caitlin says. “It’s such a positive partnership, and the money Bizcap was able to give us was a godsend.
“The process was so easy and to be honest, I was in tears when Ted told me the good news. I was so relieved someone was helping me. I’d been turned down time and time again and the reassurance I’ve gotten from Bizcap has been great!”
Now, Caitlin has her sights set on opening up to new markets in other countries around the world.
“Once we’ve nailed the US we’re planning to expand into the UK and New Zealand, and we’ll certainly be coming back to Bizcap to help us realise those ambitions.”