These days San Francisco is crawling with mobile business entrepreneurs.
Topshelf is a miniature replica of a chic “brick-n-mortar” fashion boutique, only there’s no seasonal store front display -- just a set of alluring pastel stairs leading into the back of a platinum and pink truck.
The name Topshelf speaks to Ruiz’s other career as a bartender, where the best of the best is kept on that top shelf. With a $100 price-line and merchandise selected by Ruiz — like mini dresses by Ezra and quartz cocktail rings by Adina Mills to rocker-inspired T-shirts by Purrr —Topshelf delivers the high quality customer care of a small boutique but without the high prices.
“It was important for me to bring cute fashion at an affordable price in a boutique environment,” explains Ruiz.
The Topshelf Boutique can be found at many popular Bay Area events, like the Urban Air Market in Hayes Valley or the annual Treasure Island Music Festival. Ruiz sees the change in scenery as more fitting to her lifestyle.
“I didn’t like the structure of a 9-to-5 job,” she says. “And not being stuck in a store is really nice. You get to make your own schedule and you get to kinda pick and choose which events you wanna do or be strategic about where you place yourself and take yourself to your consumer.”
For Ruiz, the dream to start her own boutique was many years in the making. As is true for many small businesses, her biggest obstacle was finding the financial means.
Increasingly, small businesses have very little access to loans from large banks, which prefer established businesses that can prove lower risk.
Fortunately, Ruiz found Kiva Zip, received a loan for $5,000 -- and is now in the repayment process.
“I needed that loan,” explains Ruiz. “It was the last chunk of change to push me over the edge.”
Thanks to innovative small loans through Kiva Zip, unique business ideas like Topshelf Boutique are made possible.
“Sometimes I can’t even believe this is happening,” Ruiz says. “I knew I wouldn’t qualify at a larger bank, it was a block in my road.”
To keep up to date on Topshelf events and appearances, visit Topshelfstyle.com. And to learn more about how Kiva Zip can help small business owners, check out the Zip homepage.