Erika Ruiz

Katie ArnoldSmall Business, Success Stories

Erika Ruiz started out in corporate America, but knew that it wasn’t her true calling. She had always felt a call to service and wanted to help others. She had a passion for cosmetology, and helping people become their best selves. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with late stage cancer which drastically changed her life. She went through her rounds of chemo and radiation, and never gave up hope of one day becoming a small business owner that would be able to help others. Erika kept thinking to herself “when, not if, I get better, I am going to do what I need to do to make myself happy. I realized that was going to be by helping others.”

After successfully beating cancer, Erika enrolled in cosmetology school. She excelled in her classes and was quickly able to secure a job renting a booth at a local salon. Then, opportunity knocked and the salon owner wanted to sell the space. Erika tried to get a loan from traditional banks, but kept getting denied because of her new mortgage 8 months prior, and her income to debt ratio. After running into several closed doors, she was referred to Justine PETERSEN. Erika and her husband Brian came to Justine PETERSEN to see what steps would need to be taken in order to get their business to the level they knew it could achieve. They worked with their small business loan counselor and followed her advice. Soon after this, Be-YOU-tiful Hair became a reality.

Erika and Brian were able to secure a $10,000 loan from JP to get the working capital that was needed to take their salon to the next level, and start working towards opening a second location. Additionally, by Erika and Bryan making their loan payments on time they were able to raise their credit score. While they had once been unable to secure a traditional bank loan, through their determination and work with their small business counselor this changed. In February of 2018, Erika and Brian achieved financing through UMB Bank to secure additional capital to continue to grow their small business ownership dreams.