Scrappy Self-Care Dreams: How Non-Traditional Financing Helped Poppi’s Spa & Lounge Expand and Revitalize

Table of Contents:

Born to Hustle
Creating Space for Self-Care
Urban Oasis in the Heart of Downtown Tulsa
Finding Resilience in Tough Times
Expanding with Non-Traditional Funding
Seeing a Bright Future

With a passion for pursuing entrepreneurial success that was born in her teens, TJ Woodberry has launched several businesses over the years. Her latest venture, the luxurious Poppi’s Spa & Lounge in downtown Tulsa, highlights her simple yet powerful belief that everyone deserves a place to relax, rejuvenate, and reconnect with themselves. And that dream became reality through the financial partnership she found at TEDC Creative Capital.

Born to Hustle

TJ’s can-do attitude toward business blossomed in adolescence. “I come from a large family,” TJ explains, “and we didn’t get an allowance. If we wanted anything, we had to get it ourselves.” She had inspiring role models in her parents, who worked hard to bring in income and stretch the dollars they earned, something that TJ respected and learned from.

 She realized early on that if she wanted to accomplish her own goals, she could make it happen if she put her mind to it—which spurred her to earn her own income as soon as she was old enough to work. “My brother and I raked leaves and painted house numbers on curbs, being scrappy and finding ways to earn money.” Those early days taught her what she could achieve if she applied her industrious attitude to business.

Creating Space for Self-Care

Soon, TJ was launching business after business. As a serial entrepreneur, she’s explored many different opportunities over the years—from real estate investments and staging homes for sale and rental to consulting in the car business space. She then built an import-export startup exporting luxury cars—an enterprise that she maintained for eight years with great success.

 But as a single mom, TJ eventually decided she wanted to spend more time with her daughter. So, she opted to sell her import-export company and shift to an opportunity that allowed her more time to be at home. She also wanted to focus more on self-care. Naturally, the beauty and wellness space arose as a logical fit for both those goals.

And that’s how Poppi’s Spa & Lounge was born.

An Urban Oasis in the Heart of Downtown Tulsa 

Like the appeal of a luxury car, Poppi’s is all about enjoying a top-notch experience that promotes relaxation and joy. “I wanted to create a true spa where people could come and forget about time and all their cares outside of these walls,” TJ says. 

Located in a hundred-year-old building in the heart of the Blue Dome District, Poppi’s Spa & Lounge provides a full range of high-end services that ease the stresses of life. Customers can enjoy massages, facials, and other body treatments—the usual services that spas are known for—as well as unique therapies, such as infrared sauna, salt therapy, and color therapy, to soothe the soul as well as the body.

These luxurious treatments and the soothing environment they take place in make for a perfect go-to spot for baby showers, birthday parties, anniversaries, and Mother’s Day. Since its opening in April 2019, Poppi’s Spa & Lounge has had a winning formula. But like every business, it has faced struggles too.

Finding Resilience in Tough Times 

TJ knows that challenges are simply a part of the entrepreneurial journey of owning a business. “Ups and downs—who doesn’t have them?” she says. Starting Poppi’s Spa & Lounge had its obstacles, like any other new startup. Securing financing was one of those challenges, but TJ was able to leverage the assets, net worth, and success she had acquired from her previous ventures to launch the spa and lounge.

Then, COVID-19 hit—and everything shifted. In a time when people were being told to stay six feet away from and not touch each other, running a spa where those features were the whole business model wasn’t easy. “We were trying to figure out how to keep our little business alive and navigate that,” TJ says. Poppi’s got creative, offering services on their outdoor patio. “We had to learn how to be scrappy, but we made it through,” she says.

Expanding with Nontraditional Financing

To level up the spa’s overall experience and offerings, TJ decided to redesign Poppi’s space to make it more functional—not surprising for a location within a hundred-year-old building. That’s when she reached out to TEDC Creative Capital.

 “I love the team at TEDC,” says TJ. “I really had a partner in them. They’re just so warm and approachable. They understood the vision and the value that we bring to the community. I felt valued and seen. They helped me throughout the application and lending process, and I’m really grateful that I got to work with a group that got it.”

Seeing a Bright Future

Since partnering with TEDC for funding, Poppi’s has been able to maximize its space and create additional room, so it can serve more people. Their clients love the new, elevated space, and their revenue has increased—a definite win-win for everyone. Now, she can pass on what she’s learned to her daughter and anyone with an entrepreneurial vision.

“Leverage partnerships, and don’t be afraid to ask for help,” TJ says to those who, like her, own their own businesses. “There are so many amazing people here who want to see you win, and sometimes we forget that as entrepreneurs. There are people who want to support you and help you in your success. You just need to find them.”

TEDC Creative Capital provides various non-traditional loan programs for small businesses and startups. TEDC’s knowledgeable team can create the perfect capital stack to help your business reset and achieve momentum. Learn more about TEDC’s lending options and entrepreneurial development programs to elevate your enterprise.