Small Business Administration: A small business success — Floclaire, DeForest, WI

Contact: Carol Wilkerson 312-353-7327

FloClaire located in DeForest, Wisconsin, is the exclusive North American Manufacturer’s Representative for a Swiss company that manufactures the O’tentika and Hypercreme product lines. These are ethnic beauty products, which address the specific and essential needs of hyper-pigmented or melanin-rich skin. These products are formulated and manufactured in Geneva, Switzerland under the well-known strict and high quality Swiss standards. The products are made with mulberry extract and other natural ingredients used to reduce the over production of melanin that can lead to hyper pigmentation in skin of African, Latino and Asian women and men.

O’tentika and Hypercreme were first introduced in 1986 as an innovative, effective, and specific answer to hair and scalp care problems. A few years later, the O’tentika brand was reoriented exclusively towards ethnic beauty skincare so that the historical know-how of the company could be fully leveraged. Each of the products has been designed to deal with a particular aspect of beauty care, but they are even more effective when they are used in combination or complementary to each other. With more than 20 years of history, these products are not only safe but of superior quality.

In 2003, Tim Chulu, owner of FloClaire, began selling O’tentika and Hypercreme skin care products from his home. After four years of steady growth, Tim knew he could build a successful business around these products. Tim always knew he had a great product but the rapid success of the natural skincare line sales was a surprise even to him. Sales climbed from mere $7000 to well over half a million in just six years.

FloClaire is off to a great start thanks in part to help from SBDC. Tim says, “Without the SBDC, I don’t think I could have achieved what I have so far.” When doing research on starting a company, Tim found out that the most important thing is having a business plan. He first took an introductory class on writing a business plan from the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. (WWBIC) and then enrolled in the Entrepreneurial Training Program at

UW-Madison SBDC that consisted of small business fundamentals, instruction on developing a business plan and individual mentoring. Tim says, “The class was very instrumental in helping me to see where I was going and not just a tool for getting financing. It helped me to visualize what I was getting into and to prepare for the problems that were coming.”

An SBDC business counselor, Linda Davies, assisted Tim in drafting his business plan as well as directing him to WWBIC for a $25,000 initial loan and later a $60,000 line of credit to purchase inventory and help grow his business. Tim continues to utilize the SBDC as he hires employees and seeks additional sources of funding to finance the rather rapid growth of his business. As at the time of this writing, Tim obtained further SBA financing through Associated Bank. Tim, who calls his SBDC counselor “amazing”, does not have the words to express his gratitude and feelings about the SBDC making her available to him pro bono.

FloClaire is projecting more than a million dollars in sales this year and is expanding into new export markets such as Canada. The company will be launching a new Paraben-free line with improved packaging and formula. To keep up with his growing business, Tim hired two employees earlier this year and recently added a third employee who will handle sales as FloClaire expands its reach. You can look at FloClaire at

Tim says, “My goal is to grow the market of my products and my vision is to eventually have my own brand of skin care and cosmetic products”.

It will be interesting to watch Tim expand the Floclaire market share in the future.