Our blog series “5 Questions With…” takes a behind-the-scenes look into the lives of our small business customers. Our next installment is below!
Name: Sunny Yoo
Location: Owings Mills & Hanover, MD
Products/Services: Shoe and Leather Goods Repair
Years in Business: 5 Years
Facebook: Metro Cobbler & Co Owings Mills
1) Tell us about your business – how did you become involved in the cobbling trade?
My parents owned a shoe-repair business since I was in middle school, so I’ve been around cobbling for half my life. Our first store, Hakky Shoe Repair & Tailor in Hanover, MD, opened in 2011, just three years after I graduated from high school. I helped my parents with everyday tasks, like repair and customer service, and I eventually became familiar with the trade to the degree that I now own that store and manage our new location, Metro Cobbler & Co Shoe Repair, in Owings Mills, MD.
It feels great to carry on my parents’ legacy and feel the same joy they felt as business owners for so many years.
2) What does it take to be a cobbler?
You need to know the material, how to stitch and glue on soles. Shoes that are made these days are harder to fix – the materials are not as durable – but we find a way to get them on our customers’ feet again, so our customers can get on their feet again!
Our most common repairs are men’s and women’s heels and soles, where we basically replace the sole or the heels to much better quality leather or rubber. We also repair leather goods like handbags.
Most people don’t know much about cobbling because we are not as common as in decades past. There’s less competition, yes, but then again we need to work just as hard to get the word out about what we do as when the world was full of cobblers. There is opportunity to stand out from the crowd, and that’s what I enjoy pursuing in my work.
3) Why were you looking for financing, and how did you learn about OnDeck?
We needed financing for inventory after our new location opening used up a good amount of capital. We tried to build a relationship with our bank, but it wasn’t easy getting funds that we needed. They turned us away because our business was too young and we didn’t have enough credit history.
I first learned about OnDeck through a piece of mail, which spurred me to research them a bit more. After feeling comfortable with what I read, I decided to apply.
4) How was your funding experience, and why did you renew?
The funding was so much easier than I thought. The loan specialists were very helpful and super quick, answering all my questions with clarity. To date, we’ve taken out four loans totaling $86,000.
The first two loans were small, just $13,000, and we used it to help purchase additional inventory. The second loan was $30,000 put toward operating the Ownings Mills location and buying more supplies, and our third loan, also $30,000, we used to purchase new sewing and shining machines.
We didn’t think twice about renewing because we learned that having extra working capital really helps manage our business without any risk, and the small daily payment was a plus.
5) How has your business grown as a result of OnDeck funds?
Thanks to OnDeck, we saw a 15% increase in new sales over last year. We were able to bring in top-quality items including French shoe polish and premium soles from Germany. We are able to give our customers the best craftsmanship and products in the world. I love seeing our customers’ faces when they have their shoes returned to them in such fine form. Makes me proud of what I do.
I would recommend OnDeck to other business owners. Time is money, and with OnDeck, business owners can focus on their business and not worry about where to get financing.