Success Stories

Daniel Lee of Curiosi-T

Daniel Lee of Curiosi-T

My Story by Daniel Lee:

“Just over a year ago, I could almost not imagine rebuilding myself as a person, let alone as a business owner. I had fallen a long way down. The recent years had culminated in personal and financial issues, which I suspected to be insurmountable. When I relocated to Charlotte, I was alone and quite weary. Although I secured a job in my field as a screen printer, it was obvious I was teetering, at best.

After some stark internal reflection and a somewhat serendipitous set of circumstances, the BNNB loan program was brought to my attention. I gathered myself up and began working with the compassionate and helpful members of this committee. They took a chance on me. I took a chance on me. To say the least, I am absolutely and continually grateful for the “leg up” BNNB has given me.

With an initial loan from BNNB fund, plus required matching funds as owner’s contribution (collateralized from the private loan of a Martin acoustic guitar), I formed my screen-printing company. I rented a space in Area 15 Creative Community in NoDA, obtained legal status on Dec 19, 2011, and named my business Curiosi-T Screen Printing, LLC. I also acquired a business license, opened a business bank account, and purchased my primary printing equipment (ink, supplies, and blank t-shirts). During the process, I continued to work at Freeman Screen Printing, in Charlotte, which provided a living wage. In February of 2012, I gave notice of leave at Freeman’s. To this day, we maintain a good working relationship, exchanging referrals and supplies. In this way, BNNB has created an industry alliance that strengthens the Charlotte business community.

One year later, Curiosi-T is the sole vehicle through which I support myself. I am currently employing an intern and seeking to hire a full-time screen printer to help me grow the business. I’ve remained in good standing with all of my vendors, including BNNB, have a wide variety of clients, and am gaining valuable insights into the projects and purposes of the people of Charlotte: From churches to charities, family reunions to sports teams, rock bands to restaurants — they all need t-shirts.

With the help of BNNB, I was able to overcome the infancy stages of an un-established business, rise above some health issues, and face other personal challenges. I can now safely say that Curiosi-T is a success, and that I have regained confidence in myself. In short, the Becky Nelson New Beginnings Fund has helped restore my function and faith in life itself, and I’d like to think that the partnership with BNNB, along with Curiosi-T’s initial track record, stands as a success model for this outreach fund and small business in general.”

 

 

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Holly Lane with sons Nathan and Ty Bescher

My Story by Holly Lane:

“When I moved from Florida to Charlotte in the summer of 2010, I was recovering from an ugly divorce. I was feeling lost and worn down, and had only my two boys, a commitment to building a new life for my family, and the faith that if I persisted, things would work out.

It was slow-going in the beginning. I had difficulty finding full time employment and instead had to juggle a series of part time jobs (and the occasional house-cleaning gig). My oldest son is a special needs child, which presented problems when it came to finding suitable childcare. Housing was another issue altogether. My dream was to put myself through college (continuing the college education I’d started ten years prior), but the practical concerns of my life began to crowd out that dream and, after only four months of living in Charlotte, I started second-guessing my move, and even the practicality of my long term aspirations.

While working the first full time job I found in Charlotte, a telemarketing position, a coworker told me about BNNB. She’d spent years in homelessness and was transitioning from a halfway house to an apartment, with BNNB’s assistance. She gave me the BNNB web address, which I tucked away for a rainy day, not realizing that rainy day would come only two weeks later, when the company I was working for went out of business. Feeling desperate and out of resources, I filled out a BNNB application for help. Within a matter of weeks, I not only had a team of genuinely caring individuals behind me, but I was enrolled in classes at CPCC. BNNB gave me the jump start I needed, and I have been on an upward climb ever since.

So much has changed since that first time I sat for my BNNB interview, and I can’t help but be overwhelmed with gratitude. It’s difficult to put into words what BNNB did for me and my family, as it encompasses much more than just lending me the money to return to college. The BNNB board members believed in me, provided guidance and support when I needed it the most, and reinstated my belief that I could accomplish anything I dreamed of, if only I was willing to put in the effort.

Today, I am a full time student at Queens University, there on scholarship and fellowship. I have my own successful freelance writing business, and I also manage to work in some volunteer time around the community, in the spirit of BNNB. I recently branched into a new career endeavor when BNNB recruited me as their Communications Associate. It is now my goal to advocate for the BNNB mission by spreading awareness of the BNNB program in the Charlotte community, recruiting and mentoring new Partners, and investing my talents into the growth of BNNB.”