“With immediate growth, you need funding,” – Julie Armock, Piggy Polish
Business owners know that when an opportunity to advance their business comes along, financial resources often determine whether they can capitalize on that opportunity. In the case of Julie Armock, local entrepreneur and owner of Piggy Polish, GROW’s microloan program helped her take advantage of a great opportunity and bring a new product to market.
Julie created Piggy Polish on a whim in 2003, when she wanted to develop a professional-grade nail polish that came in fun, bright colors. Since Julie wore polish mostly on her “piggies,” she decided on the name Piggy Polish.
The names of the Piggy Polish colors are unique—some whimsical, some poetic—but they all have special meaning to Julie. Color inspiration often comes to her from the shores of Lake Michigan, where the business is located. And this setting also inspires the company’s mission to create products that are as earth friendly and pure as possible without sacrificing quality and durability.
GROW staff met Julie just a few years ago. In August 2014 she was approached by a chemical company with a new molecule that was organic, acetone free, and non-flammable. This was part of a chemical that people were using to remove graffiti from walls. If it could remove graffiti, could it remove nail polish?
“I wasn’t sure if that would work for nail polish remover, but I wanted to research it and see,” Julie said.
Julie worked with this company, and together they created and tested several formulations for nail polish remover. Eventually, the Remoooover gel was created. This meant a huge opportunity for new markets, increased sales, and most of all, the need to scale production.
“With immediate growth, you need funding,” Julie said. “We needed to get new ingredients, bottles, and inventory to help the business grow. My business adviser recommended approaching GROW to see if they could help us with a microloan to get over this hump and ramp up production.”
The best part was that the entire process happened quickly. Traditional loans can take weeks or months to get, and Julie didn’t have that much time to get a jump on this market opportunity. Within a week and a half, she was approved and given the funds. That gave her a huge advantage in capitalizing on this opportunity.
Of course, Julie and Piggy Polish had their financials and business paperwork in order, which is critical when applying for any type of loan, especially a microloan, as it helps the approval process to move quickly. Also helpful was the support from GROW staff: “GROW’s microloan manager came out to meet with us at our location for meetings, making this process easier for us, too,” Julie said.
The Remoooover product hit the market about a year ago with much success.
“While Piggy Polish is not a new company, this new product made it feel like a new company,” Julie said. “It is opening new markets for us. Grocery stores may not carry nail polish, but they do still tend to carry a polish remover. With this product having no alcohol or acetone, the natural stores are willing to pick it up, too.”
The team at Piggy Polish is celebrating their continued growth. You can find their products in stores across the country, now including Target. And they will be launching a new website in summer 2016.
Julie told us that the company likely could not have had the immediate success it experienced without the microloan from GROW. With it, Piggy Polish was able to fulfill orders and go out and see more prospects.
“The funding was a great boost to help push the business to the next level,” Julie said. “I’m not sure I could have gotten to where I am now without it.”