LiftFund Small Business Disaster Relief Programs

Siriporn “Timbo” Chunkaew

  • Siriporn-(Timbo)-Chunkaew

Migrating from Thailand to Florida, Timbo says he only planned to be in United States for two years to learn English, but he instead moved to New Orleans and has lived in the USA for 29 years.

Timbo first began creating his hand-made, one-of-a-kind macramé and beaded accessories after noticing someone else doing it on the side of the street. Knowing he could improve on different styles he saw, he decided to enter that industry. The business began half-heartedly in 1994. Timbo got tired of it and quit. That was years before Hurricane Katrina.

As many New Orleans’ citizens, Timbo was affected by Hurricane Katrina, which consumed many homes and lives. Left homeless, Timbo lost everything he had worked for to the hurricane. Remembering the work he did when he first migrated to New Orleans, Timbo looked to nonprofit microlender, Liftfund for business support.

It wasn’t hard for him to go back to work, but the Bourbon Street office job wasn’t for him. So he saved enough money to purchase a van, lived in it, and then went to work in the French Market; only this time, he became serious about his work and took advantage that there wasn’t anyone else doing it.

His first loan in 2011 helped purchase inventory as he worked his way out of the van he was living in and into an apartment. Now the business is succeeding and Timbo is saving money to fund his home deposit.

Recently, Timbo completed the first-time homebuyer course and is working to save money for a deposit on a house. Remembering the passionate work of the LiftFund employees, Timbo returned for a second loan to purchase inventory, catch up on some bills, and save for working capital when the weather slows traffic on the French Market.

If his business continues to be a success, he’ll be able to purchase a home for the first time.

He says if he needs additional funding for his business, “I’m gonna go back to LiftFund again. They’re great people, I love them.”