We’ve all heard the old saying, “Choose a job you love, and you'll never work a day in your life.” Chad Clark and Mark Binegar are proving this adage true with the assistance of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
Clark and Binegar dreamed of owning their own cosmetology school for over a decade. Clark would handle admissions and marketing and Binegar, a trained cosmetologist with over 25 years of experience, would oversee education. Together, they put their heart and soul into developing a curriculum, creating a business plan, and designing a school they were proud to represent. After a few setbacks, the team was ready to make the dream a reality; however they stumbled upon a roadblock that jeopardized all of their hard work.
Clark visited multiple banks looking for a loan to fund the start-up company. Each bank led to the same response – “loan denied.” That is, until Clark was connected with Tim James from the First Microloan of West Virginia, a designated lender for the SBA. Through assistance from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), partially funded through the SBA, Clark was able to perfect his business plan and secure a loan through the microloan program.
“I don’t take ‘no’ very well and was getting frustrated,” Binegar stated. Luckily with help from James and the SBDC, Artisan School of Cosmetology was born. Binegar credits the SBA assistance they received saying, “If it weren’t for you guys, we wouldn’t be here.”
The school is doing well, they currently have ten students enrolled and two have completed the program. With the success, they are seeing next semester’s enrollment numbers have increased significantly and there are plans to bring on an additional instructor. Long term, the team has plans to open six to ten more schools in the next five years.
Not only are Clark and Binegar living their entrepreneurship dream, but they are helping mold the future of young blooming entrepreneurs. Students learn basic cosmetology technics but also how to own and operate their own salon. “Knowing how to build your clientele and run your own salon is very important for our students, especially now with the increased cost of booth rentals,” said Binegar.
For more information on programs and services offered by the SBA, visit www.sba.gov.