How a SmartBiz Loans Customer is Thriving During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Off-Road Vixens offers infant, youth, and adult clothing, bearing the the slogan “Girls Get Dirty Too!” The brand targets women into extreme motor sports and other off-road sporting activities.

“We have a niche in the market-nobody does what we do,” says co-owner Carey Kiehn explaining their success in a crowded sports apparel market.

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Carey and her partner came to SmartBiz for a $100,000 SBA loan with a low rate and a 10-year term in 2019. Here’s how those funds – along with in-demand products – are helping Off-Road Vixens expand and reach more consumers during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

We spoke with Kiehn, sheltering at home with her adult children, to learn how the business is weathering the COVID-19 storm.

How has your business been doing during the economic shut-down?

Carey Kiehn: We actually had our busiest month of online sales in April. With so many people being home and shopping online, our brand exposure and sales have grown. We’re operating with a 3-person crew. Unfortunately, we had to let an employee go but are planning on hiring her back soon.

What shopping trends have you seen from your customers?

CK: Most of the orders are from 1st time buyers. We processed over 600 orders this month. My partner and I don’t usually work in fulfillment but we’re both on deck. It feels like the start-up days.

Why do you think Off-Road Vixens sales are up so dramatically?

CK: We used funds from an SBA loan to hire a marketing company. We do the creative and the marketing agency is placing Facebook and Instagram ads. In fact, 90% of our sales are from Facebook. They use algorithms to reach people with the same types of interest.

The best ad going right now is long form about our company - who we are and what we’re doing. People do want to support small businesses during this time. At first I wasn’t on board with spending all the money up front but the SBA loan SmartBiz helped us get provided the funds.

How do you anticipate sales going through the summer?

CK: We’re trying to do a lot more online promotion and advertising. Our new products have helped to bring back repeat customers so we hope that keeps up. We typically roll out a new spring/summer line but we don’t anticipate things to be quite as good as in the past.

Unfortunately all of our summer events have been cancelled through July. We’re used to being out and traveling. We’ll lose hundreds and thousands of dollars from just missing 4 events that were supposed to have already been held.

Have you put any new programs in place since the coronavirus started to affect the economy?

CK: We have a lot of customers on the front lines in the medical field. We’ve created survival kits and have launched giveaways. We’re still very connected with our brand ambassadors. They are onboard and buying so we’ll continue to grow that program.

How are you using the funds from the SBA loan facilitated by SmartBiz?

CK: In addition to bringing on the marketing firm, we used the funds last year to pay off a bunch of debt. It has saved us about 10 grand a month. Had we not received that SBA loan, we would be in a world of hurt right now.

The SmartBiz team wishes Off-Road Vixens and its co-owners the best of luck during this challenging time. To see what the business has to offer, visit their website. To learn more about how they built their successful company, read our feature article on the SmartBiz Small Business Blog: Off-Road Vixens Business Story.