HOLYOKE — The Holyoke Economic Development and Industrial Corporation has awarded its MakerLoan to Raw Beauty Brand who will use the funding to expand and grow the business through the purchase of new equipment, wholesale ingredients for products and working capital.

A MakerLoan is a no interest loan for makers that is intended for entrepreneurs or micro-businesses that cannot access typical financial services and is intended to build borrower’s financial history and help formalize the business. The loan is for entrepreneurs, sole proprietorships and micro-businesses that employ five or fewer people.

“This loan program provides access to capital to small, early-stage and start-up maker businesses in Holyoke. With this loan, owner Crystal Headly will be able to increase her manufacturing capacity, hire employees and take her business to the next level,” said Holyoke Economic Development and Industrial Corporation Vice Chair Callie Flanagan. “I am excited to welcome Raw Beauty Brand as a new addition to Holyoke’s vibrant maker community and look forward to witnessing Crystal’s success here in Holyoke.”

Raw Beauty Brand creates artisanal soaps and skincare with an emphasis on organic ingredients that are safe for sensitive skin. Headly, owner and founder, started making artisanal soaps to try and ease her children’s sensitive skin issues and allergies.

Currently, Raw Beauty Brand is an online only business but has a space on Main Street for production and has future plans for the space. For more information on the business, visit www.rawbeautybrand.com.

Headly told Reminder Publishing seeing the extra chemicals that are included into various skin care products was shocking to her as there were many harmful things included. She added that many different products failed for her children’s skin and seeing the price tags on alternative organic options, she decided to try creating her own to solve the problem.

“I felt like there wasn’t really transparency with big brands and their ingredients and/or their intention with their skin care,” Headly said. “My mama bear instinct kicked in and if I can’t find it on the market, then I’ll create the market.”

With time, this small endeavor grew to a successful online shopping experience and Headly began bringing her products to sell at events all around the area. Averaging 20 events a month, Raw Beauty began growing rapidly and was ready for the next step.

Raw Beauty will also be using funds to purchase industrial equipment that will speed up production time, allowing the business to increase inventory and take on bigger contracts with stores.

“I was relieved when I heard that I had received it. I’m very thankful,” Headly said. “We’re excited and we have major plans for it.”

Raw Beauty applied for the MakerLoan program as the zero-interest loan program offers maker type businesses financing during early stages of growth. A “maker” business is a business that creates a good that then goes to market. To qualify, applicants must be in business less than three years, be in Holyoke, be a maker, and not yet qualify for more traditional financing options.

Office of Planning and Economic Development, Development Specialist Marie Brazeau told Reminder Publishing last fall when applications opened that HEDIC has a specific charge of working with industrial uses and manufacturers and less of bigger industry companies.

“We wanted to create a program that would work for smaller organizations. Smaller startup businesses who maybe aren’t on this massive scale, and maybe they’re not going to be able to meet these higher amounts of financing like our traditional loan programs have. We created the MakerLoan program to be a little less bogged down in that area,” Brazeau said.

The mission of the program is to fill in gaps financially that other lenders cannot take on due to higher risk, as well as enhance Holyoke’s rich tradition of manufacturing.

“The key to a business’ success is having adequate access to business resources and capital. I am proud to live in a city that offers both: resources through EforAll/EparaTodos, our vibrant Chamber of Commerce, and our TDI District; and access to capital through HEDIC’s new maker loan program. It can be very difficult for a small, early-stage business to acquire financing. Unfortunately, without capital it can be difficult for these businesses to grow or even start at all,” said Flanagan.