From Bike to Board Room

Maria Boustead, owner of PoCampo

Maria Boustead, owner of PoCampo

Anyone who bikes to work or for pleasure knows that carrying what you need for the day can be problematic. In 2009 Maria Boustead and Emily Taylor launched Po Campo, a line of unique bags for people on the go. When Taylor returned to the corporate world to pursue her career of industrial design, Boustead became the sole proprietor of the company. With a shortage of capital Boustead approached several banks for a loan and describes one frustrating experience. “It’s hard enough pulling together everything that is needed for a loan application. At each encounter I had to defend my dream. I would leave feeling defeated and judged. However,” she continues, “when someone finally referred me to Accion, I had a different experience.”

Boustead used her $24,000 loan to boost inventory. The Po Campo line today features 14 chic designs, each available in multiple colors that focus on an active lifestyle. Women and men looking for a multifunctional bag can go from a yoga studio to the board room. Boustead sells her products in more than 200 stores around the country and has a strong online and international presence. “Bikers in Canada, Germany, and Australia have really embraced Po Campo bags,” says Boustead. “In addition, the brand is gaining momentum throughout the Chicagoland area.”