BACK

Small Business Credit Profiles

A pint-size CEO and her ingenuity have built a business empire

With a (persistent) nudge from her daughter, an exasperated mother created a product all little girls can appreciate

Summary

7-year-old Gabby Goodwin convinced her mom, Rozalynn Goodwin, to fill a need in the hair accessory industry. Five years later, GaBBY Bows is flourishing and the duo learned a few financial lessons along the way.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired. Please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

Rozalynn and Gabby Goodwin

Rozalynn and Gabby Goodwin

Like countless 7-year-old girls, Rozalynn Goodwin’s daughter, Gabby, was constantly losing her hair barrettes. Tired of replacing the costly little things, Goodwin and her daughter took matters into their own hands and invented GaBBY Bows – the first patented, double-face double-snap barrette. Problem solved and business created.

“I started to sell the barrettes online in February 2014,” says Goodwin, who hails from Mt. Carmel, South Carolina. “Now, we fill online orders to all 50 states in the U.S. and ten countries. Beauty supply and retail stores across America, Canada and South Africa sell GaBBY Bows – and 74 Target stores began carrying them in October 2019!”

But that’s not all. In November 2018, the mother and daughter team franchised their brand, launching the Mommy and Me Entrepreneurship Academy. To date, they’ve helped 80 girls start their own businesses.

Naturally, the press came calling. They’ve appeared on The Real, The Harry Connick, Jr. Show and The Today Show. The pair has also been featured in Kiplinger Magazine, The Washington Post and Black Enterprise.

GaBBY Bows was named a 2016 American Small Business Champion by SCORE and Sam’s Club. And Gabby, herself, was named the 2018 Black Enterprise Teenpreneur of the Year.

GaBBY Bows is experiencing accelerated growth, and a couple of credit cards are helping the duo keep up with a seemingly endless flow of orders.

See related: Out with old and in with the new business credit card

What was the start of your business like?

GaBBY Bows

The beginning of our business was frightening, quite honestly. As first (and now second) generation entrepreneurs, we had no idea what we were doing. Thank God for organizations like SCORE Mentors and our local government offices of business opportunity.

We’ve had to overcome challenges of securing funding to grow our business. Taking an idea of a new, physical product from paper to prototype to production was daunting. And banks were not excited enough about our dream to lend to us – especially since one of our product creators and business partners was still in elementary school. My husband and I had to tap into retirement funds in the early stages of the business.

Where there any surprise costs that caught you off guard?

Having a physical product that’s sold through e-commerce, I was surprised by the high costs of shipping to consumers and wholesale partners.

Also, not having worked with attorneys before, I was surprised that every minute of phone consultations regarding our intellectual property was costing me.

See related: 9 common small business costs, and the best cards to pay them

How have you been using credit cards for the business?

When our expenses for growth exceeded what we could easily access through retirement loan funds, we used credit cards to launch new aspects of our business – including our micro-franchising through our Mommy and Me Entrepreneurship Academy and girls’ natural hair product line.

We knew we needed to extend our brand beyond our barrette invention, but we didn’t have the required cash on hand to do so.

While banks have not been as eager to help fund our growth through traditional loans, they have been more amenable to credit card financing. So, we have a BB&T Spectrum Cash Rewards credit card and a Security Federal Mastercard (as it’s our local bank).

I have to admit that I haven’t maximized the rewards they come with – and I should probably get that going!

My credit is impeccable, and I always make payments on time, but we are usually leveraged because we’re growing so rapidly. It’s stressful. Credit cards are great but at some points, they aren’t enough. The Target opportunity is huge so I’m actively pursuing a term loan.

What types of expenses do you typically charge?

We only charge business growth and development expenses that we believe will yield returns – mainly manufacturing and inventory.

For example, some of our micro-franchising legal fees and some of the manufacturing of our girls’ natural hair product line was charged. Spreading out these business development expenses allowed us to keep cash on hand for daily operations.

Do you have any regrets – anything you’d like to do over?

When we didn’t fully understand who our target avatar was, we veered from her a little, created a new clip with a different function and wasted a small amount of money.

I also wish we had saved more in our early days, but these and other losses have been lessons for us and all who follow us. For that reason, we don’t regret our path.

What are the future plans for the business?

We’re on a mission to help 1,000 girls and their mothers start their own business by 2025. And we want to continue to extend our products and services so those businesses are profitable, while their entrepreneurial pursuits incite confidence and creativity that lasts a lifetime.

What have you discovered about cash and credit that you can share? 

Definitely tap into the free or low-cost resources surrounding you, like SCORE Mentors, your local government offices of business opportunity, the Small Business Administration and 1 Million Cups.

We have learned that borrowing money for the business is more appropriate for growth and expansion. If it appears that money needs to be borrowed for daily operating expenses, a business’s budget needs to be reevaluated. Perhaps the business expenses are too costly.

Regarding credit cards, I’ve learned to use them when I know I’ll see the return in revenue. With credit cards, I can buy in bulk and get things cheaper – I don’t need to tie up cash.

My advice is to always have a plan to pay the debt off. Set goals to eliminate debt. And, more than anything, enjoy the journey!

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

What’s up next?

In Small Business Credit Profiles

How to manage your company’s finances effectively using a business credit card

A business credit card, used well, could mean the difference between business success and failure – for example, when it provides crucial cash flow between the time you order inventory and when you get paid. Here are nine ways you can use a business credit card to help your business succeed.

Published: October 22, 2019

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: December 11th, 2019
Business
15.09%
Airline
16.88%
Cash Back
17.38%
Reward
17.04%
Student
18.58%

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more

Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on CreditCards.com is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company’s business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.