Spotlighting Female Entrepreneurs – Gloria Kim, Gloryous Productions

Being an entrepreneur can be challenging and even more so when you’re a woman. Breaking Barriers is a TD series that celebrates successful Canadian women entrepreneurs by highlighting their journey and the barriers they’ve overcome.

Act one: Gloria’s cinematic tale of success.

When it comes to launching your own business, passion goes a long way. For Gloria Kim, founder and principal of film production company Gloryous Productions, that passion was a lifelong love of storytelling. After getting a degree in English, Gloria would go on to become a writer and journalist, driven by a creative spark that would lead to the fulfillment of a big dream.

Before starting Gloryous, I was an English major at U of T, and a writer. I worked as a freelance journalist, so I was kind of used to the lifestyle of working freelance. After working as a journalist, I shifted into film.

With some professional experience under her belt, and a newfound focus on film, she began finding work in advertising and content production. All the while on the side, she also pursued her own passion project—writing a full-length feature production.

I did the Director’s Lab program at the Canadian Film Center, then kind of slid into advertising. From there I started booking my own work—bidding on and getting little projects. Then I started working for a content marketing agency. At the same time however, I was writing my own first feature. It was just something that I was so passionate about and believed in so much.

What started as a side hustle would eventually grow into a full-fledged business.

It took me about 11 years to get it (my first feature) off the ground. And to do that, I knew I needed to start a production company to make the film happen, because I was determined to be one of the producers on it.

With her completed script in hand, it was time to write the next act of her tale of success.

Breaking Through Barriers

After founding Gloryous Productions, it was time to start looking for financing.  Like many producers working in film, she turned to Telefilm Canada, a Crown Corporation with a mandate to finance and promote Canadian productions. Unfortunately, they turned her down twice, citing production schedules. Gloria persisted however, and Telefilm finally made her an offer.

I just kept going back to them. They were like, ‘Yes, Gloria, we want to support you, and if you go to a camera in the fall, come back to us and we’ll find a way’.

The catch? Financing would depend on whether or not she could float her own financing, for a few months until production of her feature was up and running.

Telefilm said ‘Look, we can give you cash in hand right now, a smaller amount, or you can wait for next year, and get the full amount you need, but you’ll need to float a loan in the meantime. Can you float a loan?’ I said, ‘You know what? I’ll float that loan and wait for next year.’ And like that, Gloryous Productions got a promise for all of the money we asked for!

With that promise in hand, it was time to look for financing. Gloria’s first approach was to ask some of the bigger players in the film industry for money.

I asked some bigger players in the industry if they would want to like partner with me, because they're much bigger production companies with way more access to loan money. Unfortunately, they were like, ‘Sorry no, it’s too late, we can’t help you.”

Rather than take no for an answer, Gloria approached TD.

Top 3 pieces of advice I would give to other female entrepreneurs:

  1. Bet on yourself and take some risk

  2. Create your own opportunities—don’t wait for others to hand you opportunities

  3. Network, get out there and meet people, find the right partners

Act three: How TD helped Gloria on her journey

While looking around for financing, Gloria remembered how impressed she’d been with her parents’ experience with TD, when they’d opened a coffee shop a number of years earlier. TD had helped them finance their shop and offered the sort of ongoing support she knew she’d also need.

With her promise from Telefilm in hand, she approached TD, explaining that funding for her production would be coming in the fall, but she needed coverage until then. It was there that she met an Account Manager Small Business, Ali.

So, I had this letter from Telefilm that says they’re going to give me the money I need. In the film business, producers call this a “bankable” letter. Her Account Manager, Small Busness said, ‘OK, I'm gonna fight for you’, and then really went to bat. He fought so hard for me and got me a small business loan. It wasn’t the full amount, but it was enough to get going.

In addition to the loan, her account manager helped Gloria secure a Small Business Line of Credit, and ported her mortgage over to TD in order to assist her needs as best as possible to help organize/streamline her banking relationship

They fought so hard for me. I ended up moving my mortgage, getting the Line of Credit and the business line of credit. It all kind of happened all at once. When I got the news, I actually cried. It was such an affirmation for me as a woman entrepreneur and woman entrepreneur of color. A single mom making it work.

With financing secured, Gloryous Productions was off the ground and Gloria’s first feature swung into production. Today, she builds on that first taste of success directing movies and TV shows, all through her own company. TD is happy to be part of the story.

TD’s products and tools

Whether you want to expand your line of products or services, increase your capacity and customer base, or are looking for ways to maximize profits, explore our available tools, articles, and resources to help you grow your business.

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We’re committed to helping our clients meet their small business banking needs through a variety of services, products and advice that we tailor to each unique business.

Get in touch:

Carole Vautour, Regional Manager Women in Enterprise, Eastern Canada – Atlantic

Deborah Cherenfant, Regional Manager Women in Enterprise, Eastern Canada - Quebec

Jennifer Monaco, Regional Manager Women in Enterprise, Central Canada

Melanie Campbell, Regional Manager Women in Enterprise, Western Canada – Prairies

Tammy Rea, Regional Manager Women in Enterprise, Western Canada – Pacific

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