The Challenge

Having launched the business in 2008 just at the start of the recession, business was tough with both the property market and retail industry taking a hit. However owner and Director of ALSO Home, Anna Schmidt, was determined to pursue her passion and business aspirations for the brand.

Anna started off small and over the years, the team expanded. With their joint knowledge and love for home textiles, ALSO Home became a key supplier for many High Street shops and started working with some of the largest retailers in the UK producing their Own Label ranges.

Working with larger retailers had an effect on the business. As is often the case, larger clients can restrict cashflow with up to 120 day payment terms, so a steady cashflow was required to ensure that business growth wasn’t hindered and that suppliers were paid on time.

In addition, with the retail landscape continuously changing due to the seasonal nature of business and recent pressures on the market, Anna realised the need for a funding solution that would help her rapidly expanding business absorb some of the challenges they faced and help protect the brand against the unexpected.

The Solution

In 2010 ALSO Home partnered with ABN AMRO Commercial Finance to support the business ambitions on its journey for continued growth.

A £700k Receivables Finance solution provides the headroom for the team to make business decisions confidently and pay suppliers on time, without concerns of cashflow pressures. The funding line can be increased depending on the changing needs of the business and continued growth. A USD and GBP account and ledger also provides additional flexibility, meaning they don’t have to pay currency charges and can trade freely with customers and suppliers.

With the provision of Bad Debt Protection (BDP), Anna noted that the cover provides peace of mind, knowledge and foresight that they may not have had otherwise. Through the Client Portal, cover is easily managed – giving visibility into customer credit worthiness and credit limit requests. A 30 day heads up in the case of bad debtors and industry expert knowledge helps Anna and the team make the right decisions for the business in advance of potential consequences.

In 2015, the team launched the ALSO Home brand online and introduced a wholesale offering, from their charming showroom in the English countryside. With the business expanding and tapping into new markets, an additional funding boost was soon required.

A £120k Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) Term Loan helps the business further invest in the development of their own (ALSO Home) branded products and diversify their customer base without affecting the supply chain across the business.

The Results

Since starting the business, stockists have rapidly grown to over 160 retailers across the UK and Europe and there’s no stopping there with the team tapping into new markets, diversifying the customer base and further growing the brand.

BDP gives them the confidence to keep growing in an unstable market, protecting the business from potential late payment or unheralded customer insolvencies at all stages of the business lifecycle.

The additional funding provided by the EFG Term Loan will also enable the team to purchase more stock and expand the ALSO Home product range. The now team of seven will also recruit an additional sales person who will help them achieve continued growth and extend their debtor base.

A new mezzanine floor in the showroom and further investment in improving the website and enhanced Search Engine Optimisation will also enable the team to showcase the brand and products – all of which would not be possible without the additional finance.

Anna highlights, "We couldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for the facility provided by ABN AMRO. Vital to our partnership is a flexible funding solution and a relationship manager that we know personally and can rely on. Our growth journey whilst at times challenging, has been really smooth with ABN AMRO, who have been there every step of the way."