Q&A with Owners, Colleen McCord & Monica Lubbert
Give a high level overview of your business. What products or services you offer, where you're located, etc.
We are Canary Skincare & Apothecary, a women-owned startup located in Denver. We recently launched our first product (after more than 2 years in formulation), and we are finishing up a second product. Our first product is a high-tech, self- repair antioxidant serum designed thoughtfully for long-term, daily use. We’ll also add, that this product is well-loved by men who like the feel of the serum, the light natural fragrance and skin-balancing benefits. We are currently only doing business online at: canaryskincare.com
What inspired you to step into the world of small business?
Canary Skincare & Apothecary, which we started in late 2018, is a women-owned startup located here in Denver. We are former colleagues turned long-time friends, and entrepreneurs at heart. We’ve known for a long time we wanted to build a brand, we just never had a clear idea on what we would sell.
Describe your typical customer and what you love about your customers.
Our target customers are not based on age or gender - they are explorers, who are curious, early adopters who find personal satisfaction in discovering small, independent, unknown businesses. You may find these same people supporting selfless causes, and fighting for the underdogs.
Describe your journey in seeking out funding for your business. Ie, where did you first go to for funding, did you lean on credit cards, etc.?
I was doing research looking for the perfect startup business loan to start my business and found them by looking up black-owned businesses startup loans.
What was your experience like when trying to get funding for your business? Ie, how long had you been looking? Did you experience difficulties, etc.?
We mostly self-funded and we received money in the form of promissory notes from two friends. We had interest-free credit cards from our business bank which maxed out quickly, A sudden change by the provider left us in a difficult financial position, and we needed to consider other options quickly.
How did you find out about CEF?
The credit card debacle forced us to get serious about funding so we started researching local lenders. We heard about CEF online or via CPR and visited the website multiple times. We started the online application at least twice before we decided that the time was right to move forward.
What ultimately made you decide to go with CEF as your lender?
It was important to us to work with a local lender, especially one that understands start up businesses. And we wanted to work with a lender that was part of our community. It’s clear that CEF is committed to helping local businesses and that made our decision to work with CEF very easy.
What were you able to do with the funding you received from CEF?
We were able to pay off our credit cards and were able to fund the second half of the production run for our first product. A huge milestone!
What's on the horizon for you and your small business?
We just launched our first skincare product, the High Tech Self Repair Serum. We are working on our second product which we hope to have out later this summer. We are also focused on amplifying our brand through more marketing and promotional activities.
What is something you're looking forward to in the next 3-6 months in your business?
We are very much looking forward to expanding our product line, and we are extremely excited to get some press. We are currently working on pitches for local and national press. We hope to get attention, and this article with CEF will certainly be helpful if you decide to move forward.
What do you lov eabout the small business community in Colorado?The small business and start up community here can be described as energetic and supportive. There is lots of room for everyone here, and no idea is really off limits. It's inspiring!