In celebration of Small Business Week, employees from Lendio’s two offices in South Jordan, UT, and Long Island, NY, are visiting local small businesses to see what makes them tick, learn how they’ve grown their business, and of course, enjoy a treat or two.
When Tracey Balaker stopped by a small henna tent at a local festival, little did she know that she was getting a glimpse at her future career. She was immediately taken by everything about henna, from wearing the art on her skin, to the demeanor of the artist doing the work and the idea of having a zen-like job in a crowd of people. So, living by her motto If it is to be, it’s up to me, Balaker took the initiative and started Freebird Henna.
Balaker, who is a certified henna artist, creates innovative and visually stunning henna designs, both contemporary and traditional. In addition to private sessions, Freebird Henna can also be booked for parties, corporate events, showers, and maternity shoots.
“I love being able to make a living creating something beautiful,” says Balaker. “Knowing I can meet different people every day, and be part of a little time in their lives is incredibly fulfilling for me. Looking at the art you’ve created and seeing someone smile and feel good about themselves is the best feeling in the world.”
As rewarding as many business owners find their ventures, it isn’t perfect all of the time. This is especially true for female business owners and those in the arts, particularly when it comes to finding funding to grow. According to recent research, only $1 of every $23 in small business lending goes to women. The good news is that online lending options are making loans more accessible to both groups, whether it’s finding financing for studio space, or loans for equipment and materials, securing funding doesn’t have to be a barrier or cause undue stress.
What stress remains as a business owner, is worth it, says Balaker. “I can make my own hours, and make my own destiny. A small business attracts other like-minded people who enjoy supporting other small businesses, especially in the arts. It’s somewhat of a movement, a little tribe.”
When it comes to shopping small, Balaker says, “Supporting small business is literally keeping that owner afloat, feeding their family, and giving them an opportunity to do what they love, for themselves and for you as their customer. Your money is clearly going directly to real human beings, directly into their real lives. It’s not going to big banks, or to parts unknown. It’s going into their cupboards. It’s going into their gas tanks, into their kid’s clothing. It’s keeping someone’s dream alive.”