From architecture to paper lanterns

From architecture to paper lanterns

Some people are born entrepreneurs without realizing it. Yvette Scheltema is someone like that. “My personal development took off like a missile.”

After working in architecture for 11 years Yvette ended up losing her job during the building crisis.  As a result of several different circumstances Yvette decided to design a new product. After a lot of cutting and pasting she ended up with the prototype of what is now called The Cardle.  Yvette describes her product as “a little lantern that you happen to be able to mail to someone.” (visit http://www.cardlestore.com).   In September 2011 she showcased it at a trade show which drew quite a bit of attention from shopkeepers and wholesalers.

Self-taught

This positive feedback reassured Yvette that she had not put her savings into a fly-by-night idea. “It became very clear to me that I needed more funds,” says Yvette “for things such as high quality paper and to be able to patent my product.”  Before heading to a bank she thoroughly searched the internet to find out what documents were required by financing institutions.  Even though she did not come from an family of entrepreneurs (“I am totally self-taught.”) she single-handedly wrote her own business plan supported by the necessary calculations.

After meetings with several banks, Yvette decided to go with Qredits.  “I had taken my product along and when I showed it to the Qredits loan officer, she was very enthusiastic and said she would definitely buy that herself.”

Speeding up

The end product in combination with supporting figures quickly convinced Qredits of the potential of the Cardle. “There where banks stressed the fact that building your business around one product makes you very vulnerable, Qredits saw the potential of this first product from which others could be developed,” says Yvette whose business is now in full swing.  She has contracted with several distributors in the Netherlands and Switzerland and has almost finalized negotiations with an Australian distributor. “Things are speeding up fast now. The business is becoming to large for a sole proprietor, so we are setting up a corporation.”

It doesn’t seem to phase Yvette that she is tackling many things at the moment. She is more aware of the fact that “by becoming an entrepreneur my personal development has taken off like a rocket.”

From architecture to paper lanterns