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The basement of Lisa Petti’s home in Windsor, Ont., is brimming with bikinis – a testament to the success of Kayokokoswimwear.com, the online shop she started three years ago with $6,000 and a personal credit card.

“You should see my guests sitting there watching a hockey game with bikinis practically falling on their heads,” jokes the ambitious 25-year-old, noting that Kayokoko Swimwear began as a sideline to her career at a pharmaceutical company but has since become nearly another full-time job.

Ms. Petti started the business without the help of a financial institution. Windsor and its automotive industry had been hit hard by the recession, and it was difficult, even as the economy was coming out of the downturn, to be approved for credit. So she relied on her own resources and hard work, including persuading suppliers to give her 30 days to pay for inventory. By offering free shipping to anywhere around the world, she went from filling one to three orders a month in the first year to shipping out 250 to 300.

As her business grows, Ms. Petti recognizes that she may need a credit backup plan.

“When I incorporated last year, I sat down with the business expert at my bank and discussed a line of credit to increase my inventory,” she recalls. “At that point, I was hoping to do everything on my own, but some time [this year] I’ll be sitting down with him” to see about finally getting that credit.

New businesses like Ms. Petti’s commonly go through credit growing pains, and small business experts say economic uncertainty in recent years has exacerbated that.

“Since the 2008 recession, it’s definitely become more difficult to get financing than it was before,” says Brent Finlay, a Waterdown, Ont.-based business financing specialist and author of the Definitive Guide to Business Financing. Although the prospects for entrepreneurs seeking credit have improved, “lenders are still a bit more cautious and there are a lot less lenders – a lot of lenders have failed and disappeared from the landscape,” Mr. Finlay says.

To read the full article – Click Here – Globe and Mail – Marlene Habib – May 31, 2012

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