Creating the Smell of Success
They say it takes 10,000 hours of hard work to master a skill. So how good do you become after 20 years? Ask Fatima Ahmad Al Bandar: She has been managing her shop for accessories, gifts, and perfumes in South Lebanon for two decades.
Today she’s ready to add product lines and sell them rom a new location. The plan calls for a second shop with women’s undergarments and baby clothes, and her relationship with her local lender is offering her access to the capital she needs to grow.
Fatima started the business after her husband died and had run her shop for more than 15 years when she realized something had to change. “I wanted to attract a wider clientele, but I didn’t have the money to diversify my stock.” In 2013, she approached Al Majmoua, the Lebanese Association for Development. She knew taking the loan could be risky, but Al Majmoua liked her odds and backed the play.
The expansion succeeded and led to two more loans, working capital that has increased her business, laying the foundation for the second store. And her ties to the lender became closer in the process.
“We’re like family,” she explained. Al Majmoua nominated her for the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, and Fatima won USD 1,500, more capital for her business.
Fatima has already hired an employee to help out at the shop, and she credits the financing as one key to her continued success. She added that overcoming obstacles in the past with the support of Al Majmoua has stoked her confidence in her business acumen, giving her the right kind of attitude for welcoming customers at her second store.