Based in Los Angeles, MISA is a women’s apparel and manufacturing company that creates beachy and bohemian designs for women looking to embody the feminine, laidback, fun, and comfortable vibe of the West Coast. Shadi Askari-Farhat founded the business in 2001 when she was just 22. The original business, Tbags, produced patterned, brightly colored handbags. She relaunched the company as MISA in January 2016, combining her daughters’ first names, Milla and Sayeh, to represent the business’ evolution over the last fifteen years. What started as a line of fabric handbags has since grown to a full line of women’s apparel, including plus-sized and maternity clothing, children’s fashion, and home décor. Today, MISA apparel can be found online and in major department stores across the country and in select boutiques in Europe and Australia. After years of increasing sales, Shadi knew it was time to stop leasing space on a month-to-month basis and find a larger, permanent home for her business that would allow it to continue to grow.
"I had always been renting and one day our previous landlord decided to sell, putting everyone in the building in a position to move," said Shadi. "I didn’t want to rent and be at the mercy of a landlord again, and felt it was time to purchase my own building to call ‘home’. Furthermore, I had just launched a new label, MISA, and a growing business requires more room, equipment, and storage space."
LISC contributed financing towards a $2.8 million SBA 504 loan package for MISA. The SBA 504 program provides financing to growing small businesses that are acquiring major fixed assets, like real estate. For MISA, the SBA 504 loan enabled it to purchase a larger 14,000 square foot facility just a few miles from its former space. The loan from LISC ensures that MISA will remain in the Los Angeles community, keeping local jobs and helping the company to double its existing staff by hiring 10 additional employees.
As Shadi describes, "The loan allowed us to buy this beautiful building and have more room for equipment, storage, offices, and we now have a showroom. It has been a dream come true."