Kimberly Rogers doesn’t trust the future of her beloved small business to just anyone. The Pulaski County resident and Piccoli Horses™ owner has worked with SKED since its inception in 2016. From the beginning, Rogers has entrusted planning, marketing and financing of her one-of-a-kind technology-based toy company to SKED and its resources.
“Amanda Kelly has practically been “on-call” for me since I first met with her to pitch my business plan in October of 2016. Her role as SKED’s small business training director has given me the guidance and encouragement to bring my small business dream to life,” Rogers said. “To say SKED has been an important partner in Piccoli Horses’™ evolution goes without saying.”
Piccoli Horses™ is a company born out of a mother’s need to help her son.
When her son, Dylan, had learning and balance issues as a young child, she set out to learn why. A round of tests and a seizure later, she discovered her three-year-old’s brain was gradually being crushed by the pressure of a condition known as “gradual onset hydrocephalus.” He underwent several neurosurgeries to relieve the pressure, but all of this occurred during the time his language skills should have been forming correctly. She met with speech therapists and learned everything she could about helping him “catch up.”
SKED’s lending team has worked on different financing packages that have enabled me to grow and market my product to businesses around the world.Kimberly Rogers
Owner, Piccoli Horses
The result was an app to help children learn a language and help them play at the same time.
“I didn’t like the idea of children getting addicted to technology,” Rogers said. “So I created a plush horse to go along with the app to keep them engaged.”
Piccoli Horses™ are soft stuffed animals that are perfect for children of all ages. Piccoli Zoo is an app that parents can download to accompany the stuffed horses. Through the app, the children learn little words in different languages and are encouraged to jump, run, skip and do other physical activities. This helps them stay engaged in learning.
When Rogers needed working capital for more inventory in 2019, she called on the lending staff at SKED. The nonprofit lender combined its U.S. Small Business Microloan funds with money from its U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) to create a unique package for Rogers.