Sandy Ledray
Brookside Soap

Lynnwood, Washington
CDFI: Cascadia Revolving Fund
Loan type: Small business loan

Sandy was living in an old farmhouse in rural Washington state, growing her own vegetables and trying to make a living off the land. When she ran out of laundry soap, she began to make her own out of natural herbs. She started giving it away to friends who suggested that she go into the soap-making business.

The business grew very quickly and Sandy realized that she needed a piece of equipment for wrapping the soap. After researching and finding the right machine, she marched down to her local bank, full of enthusiasm. "They literally laughed in my face. I went to other banks and they said, 'Show us your experience in the soap industry. Show us your experience running this equipment. Show us your chemistry degree, and maybe we’ll talk.'"

Fortunately, Sandy heard about the Cascadia Revolving Fund in Seattle, who responded in a very different way. "Practically on the phone, in the first conversation, they said yes. They were so excited. They said, 'You’re exactly the kind of company we want to be involved in.'" Cascadia worked with Sandy to develop a business plan and have stood by her as she expands her business. "Cascadia has been very clear about helping with marketing or any kind of business needs. They have been very involved, very hands on."

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