Taking it Personally

The number of small-business owners who must put their their own credit on the line to secure funding is growing

Raising capital has never been Kim Isaacsohn's favorite part of running her business, Clever Carriage Co. When she tried to get a $100,000 commercial loan two years ago, the experience proved both frustrating and agonizing. "My business was growing dramatically," she says. "I needed the money for cash flow for just an eight-week period." Clever Carriage, which produces high-end women's coordinated tote bags, travel bags, hand bags, and accessories, was established in 1996 and had built up a network of some 350 specialty-store buyers by the time Isaacsohn applied for the loan. But when she was finally approved for a line of credit in the middle of 2000, it was only on the basis of her personal credit history.

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