Kulae’s Eco-Friendly Products Earn Good Karma

Coaching and capital from MSBDC and MGCC help businesses grow

By Norman Eng, Public Affairs Specialist

 

A football player, Jeff McSharry sustained several knee injuries throughout his high school and college playing career.  Friends got him to take yoga classes for his injuries, and that’s when he began realizing the health benefits of yoga.

In 2009, a friend founded KULAE, where McSharry started working as the sales director.  After about six years of building the business and polishing Jeff ‘s skills to eventually take over the business, the founder wanted to exit and sell the business to McSharry so he could focus on other projects. 
 

MSBDC Business Development Coaching
When McSharry took over as owner of KULAE, he began getting more focused in all aspects of the business and started meeting more regularly with a business mentor he saw speak at a business seminar – Jill Beresford of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center.

 

Jeff McSharry

 

“When I met her originally two years ago, the business wasn’t where I wanted it to be – I was struggling because it was my first year running a business,” said KULAE CEO McSharry.  “Jill Beresford has been a Godsend.”

 

McSharry got to work and created a business development strategy focused on boosting social media and digital marketing - hiring a social media manager to increase brand awareness.  He also took an old school approach by hammering the phones and sending off emails to get face-to-face appointments.  Business began taking off when McSharry started traveling to trade shows and getting in front of customers, such as yoga studios and fitness centers for custom bulk orders.  Kulae also began a winning strategy of co-branding yoga mats, working with customers such as Airbnb, Wanderlust, Fitspot and Hippeas.
 

MGCC Microloans provide short-term working capital for fueling growth
KULAE kept growing and needed more capital for launching new products, cash flow for product order fulfillment and to attend trade shows to generate contacts.  McSharry had a significant order he had to pay upfront for inventory, and knew that he could pay down any debt capital borrowed quickly. 

Mentor Jill Beresford helped him understand different funding options and introduced him to different loan programs, including the SBA microlending program.  McSharry met with loan officer Robert Williams at Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation who helped him with the application process for a microloan – which he was approved and helped finance his business needs.  

The SBA Microloan program provides financing up to $50,000 to assist with working capital, or the purchase of furniture, fixtures, supplies, materials, and/or equipment.

In the future, McSharry sees KULAE as a potential top three yoga product company in the United States.  KULAE has a warehouse and fulfillment center in Haverhill, Massachusetts that holds all of their products and dropships orders worldwide.  Currently, he employs independent contractors while he continues building the business; someday hoping to hire a full-time team when the time is right.  

 


 

Participating SBA Microlenders in Massachusetts

 

Accion USA
10 Fawcett St., Ste. 204
Cambridge, MA 02138
us.accion.org
617-625-7080
Service Area: Statewide
 
Common Capital Inc.
4 Open Square Way, Ste. 407                        
Holyoke, MA 01040        
www.common-capital.org                              
413-420-0183
Service Areas: Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden Counties & parts of Worcester.
 
Community Teamwork, Inc
Merrimack Valley Small Business Center
165 Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
www.commteam.org
978-654-5673
Service Areas: Essex and Middlesex

Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation
594 Columbia Rd., Ste. 302
Dorchester, MA 02125
www.dbedc.org
617-533-9567
Service Areas: Lower Roxbury and Dorchester
 
Economic Development Industrial Corporation of Lynn
Lynn City Hall
3 City Hall Sq., Rm. 307
Lynn, MA 01901
www.ediclynn.org
781-581-9399
Service Area: City of Lynn
 
Fall River Office of Economic Development
139 South Main Street, Suite 400
Fall River, MA  02721
www.froed.org
508-324-2620
Service Area: City of Fall River
 
Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation
Schrafft’s City Center
529 Main Street, Suite 201
Charlestown, MA 02129
www.massgcc.com
617-523-6262
Service Area: Statewide
 
New Bedford Economic Development Council
1213 Purchase St., 2nd Fl.
New Bedford, MA 02740
www.nbedc.org
508-991-3122
Service Area: City of New Bedford.
 
North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation
860 South Street
Fitchburg, MA 01420
www.northcentralmass.com
978-353-7600
Service Area: Franklin County, Worcester County, Middlesex County.
 
South Eastern Economic Development Corporation
80 Dean St.
Taunton, MA 02780
www.seedcorp.com
508-822-1020
Service Area: Barnstable, Norfolk, Bristol, Plymouth, Dukes, Nantucket Counties

 

Company Name: 
Kulae
Location: 
Massachusetts