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Sheila - Liha Harlem

Harlem Boutique Owner Leads Women Entrepreneurs Through Pandemic with CDFI Support

Financial and Social Impact

  • Financial support provided to minority, woman entrepreneur to sustain her business through COVID-19 

Client: Sheila
Client location: Harlem, NY
CDFI: Grameen America
CDFI service area: National
CDFI services provided: Financing and technical assistance, with support from the Grow with Google Small Business Fund and Grant Program

Sheila owns mobile boutique Liha on 125th Street in Harlem next to the iconic Apollo Theater. When COVID-19 hit New York City in March, Sheila had to shut down her store due to social distancing mandates. Fortunately, support from Grameen America has helped Sheila, and as chief of her Grameen America Center, she and the group of businesswomen she leads are also supporting each other as they move through this critical period.

Sheila was able to quickly pivot her business at the pandemic’s onset. She adopted curbside pickup, relaunched her online store, and expanded her social media presence. Through her resourcefulness, Sheila set up a studio in her own apartment, allowing space to both design her custom-made accessories and market her products virtually through photoshoots and video. She also plans to take out a Grameen America Recovery Loan so she can invest in new stock and get ready for the busy holiday season.

“I’ll be out again on 125th Street with my customers and I will continue to connect with them online,” Sheila proclaimed over the summer. As promised, Sheila reopened her mobile boutique in the fall and remains optimistic about Liha’s future.

Photo by Vera Rubstova

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