AmsedBK Designs Business story

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SmartBiz Loans is a team of small business owners who are dedicated to helping them get the funding that they need.

AmsedBK Designs (r), owned and operated by Desma Ann Bidjou Kerekes, has helped bring color, creativity and happiness to the carnival scene.

Desma has left a 5-star review of SmartBiz Loans TrustPilot Page:

Wonderful experience!

As a first-time sole proprietor, I was worried about getting funding. I also had many questions throughout the entire process. Nick H., a very responsive and knowledgeable application processor, addressed my concerns. Nick made the first draw process easy and seamless. I now apply for my second draw with SmartBiz in confidence and have recommended my contacts to do so!

This is the story of Desma and her unique business, as well as her plans to rebuild with money from a PPP.

Desma is an entrepreneur who has three successful business ventures to her credit. Her first business venture was created in partnership with an old childhood friend. We sell a seasonal makeup line at street festivals. We never did any real accounting. We were incorporated, but we didn’t treat it as seriously as should have been. “When the pandemic hit, we could do nothing.”

Desma was a Human Resources Specialist in the Non-Profit Industry. She was laid off in April last year and decided to start a second company that provides HR support. “My two children who are in college help to provide solutions for small businesses. We help with legal compliance, minimum wage posters and employee insurance. We hope that this will eventually become a full-time gig.

She’s focusing on AmsedBK Designs for the moment. The owner of the creative business creates custom designs for Carnival celebrations, private events and other special occasions.

“I am a costume designer of the 2nd generation, originally from Trinidad. I’m known for the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival.”

Participants’ colorful costumes, and the exuberant celebrations of this annual event are well-known.

As a child, I was involved in my mom’s Labor Day Parade costumes. In the last two or three years, I began to take it seriously as I worked a full-time job. I became an Independent Contractor, and I embraced the business processes – saving invoices, receipts, advertising agency expenses, and more.”

A leading advertising agency contracted her to design a large, elaborate headpiece for an upcoming show.

The client wanted to show it at Essence Magazine’s beauty carnival. It was the largest I had ever done. The installation was for photo opportunities. I have learned a lot from this costume design journey. It’s been a very busy time, but I am learning how to work around the chaos.

She offers advice to other business owners who are hardworking.

“Stop glamourizing the idea of being overworked and start embracing self-care. You can take a bath, walk or have your hair done. I don’t have a set schedule. I go to sleep at 3am and wake up at 7:30am. One day I do nothing. “So much inspiration has been derived from the opportunity to be still during this pandemic.”

Positive word-of mouth has helped her business grow. Alexis Skyy, a Love and Hip Hop actress and Instagram influencer, has also helped her to build a strong social media presence.

Desma’s home office is small, but she makes the most of it. I have bins and bins of storage in my work space. It can get a bit hectic between home and storage. “But my family helps me with costumes.”

Her business, like thousands of thousands others, came to an abrupt halt in the last few years. “Unfortunately, the contracts and projects that I had planned for 2020 have disappeared. This included events such as sweet 16 birthdays and weddings. “My son is also a stilt-walker, and he became suddenly unemployed.”

Her full-time job and her personal savings were the main sources of funding for this venture. When her costume business closed down following a large festival in February 2020, she started looking for ways to stay afloat.

“I know 13 people who are having bad experiences with other lenders. SmartBiz Loans was recommended to me on Facebook. I am impressed by the lending support provided throughout the process. His promptness was a great help. He answered my questions promptly via email. SmartBiz is a great company. Nick is the best. “I’m so grateful for this PPP opportunity.”

What advice does she have for struggling business owners?

“I was intimidated by PPP.” Go for it. You can reap the benefits of this program for a long time. “I’m looking forward to attending more events and increasing the HR support we provide.”

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