When Sarah first heard about Kiva’s 0% interest loans from a fellow business owner within the I Made It! Market network, she thought it sounded too good to be true.
“I was on the fence about whether to apply because I thought, this is never going to happen, you know what I mean? I just didn’t think that it could be that easy to attain something like that.”
However, with encouragement (& an endorsement) from Kiva Trustee and owner of I Made It! Market, Carrie Nardini, Sarah applied for and fundraised a Kiva loan in August 2017. That $3,000 loan has been a game-changer for her business. A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to talk with Sarah about her loan and how MetaMorph Jewelry has grown this past year.
Bethany: In your loan bio, you mentioned feeling overwhelmed during the holiday season, did your loan help fulfill that need?
Sarah: There were a couple holiday seasons where I couldn’t sustain order volume because I was using the most basic tools for metalworking. The more sophisticated tools that you get, the more work you can do at once. For instance, to create my metal pieces, I used handheld sandpaper in multiple grits and it was extremely time-consuming. With the flex shaft machine, I can use the motorized sander, as well as do other things mechanically, like drilling holes and setting stones. I can now probably do twice as much work in the same amount of time.
I also used part of my loan to buy a label printer, and stock up on shipping supplies and extra jewelry components.
Bethany: How else has your Kiva loan helped your business?
Sarah: There are a million different things that go along with running any e-commerce business. With jewelry, it’s even harder because there are so many tiny components to every design. So, to be stocked up and not have to worry about having what you need on-hand is amazing. With extra materials and my new tools, I’ve been able to experiment and create more complex designs to expand my product line.
Having the tools and supplies to streamline my business has allowed me to shift from part-time to full-time at my business.
Bethany: We’d love to get more Pittsburghers lending locally & shopping where they lend. Why is shopping locally important to you?
Sarah: A lot of people have said, ‘Why don’t you just have all this stuff laser cut?’ but, I think that the element of hand crafting something is really important. It’s a small business and I want it to stay a small business. Even if I get to the point where I can hire people, I still want to teach them the craftsmanship behind it. I think craft is important to people who value supporting local business and care about what they’re buying, so I think it’d be great to see more local lenders supporting their neighborhood businesses.
Follow MetaMorph on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter. You can purchase any of Sarah’s jewelry from her website, metamorph-jewelry.com (including recently added wholesale!), on Etsy, or at many local retailers around Pittsburgh & the greater US.
Written by Bethany Arneson. Interview has been edited for length and clarity.