High street is a buzz with sales – 30% off, 40% off 50% off!!
Sure it’s great for the consumer but not so great for local retailers who simply cannot compete with extreme discounting.
Unable to compete on price Jennifer Hart, owner and director of Everyday Cashmere, a boutique retailer based in Castlecrag, needed a more sustainable way to get an edge over high street players.
The solution…the voice of the customer.
Jennifer created an open dialogue between her brand and customers and as a result now knows exactly what they want and need.
This dialogue enables her to make informed business decisions on everything from product design to marketing.
When a customer complained about carrying their passport through customs Jennifer designed a pair of travel pants with pockets deep enough to keep it safe.
When a customer asked how to style a scarf, Jennifer produced a video tutorial.
When her customers showed an interest in where her cashmere came from, she gave them answers.
“Customers are more interested than ever in who is behind the brand – they want to know who you are and what you stand for,” said Jennifer.
Jennifer has always had a strong working relationship with her cashmere farmers in Mongolia but wanted to further differentiate herself as an ethical and sustainable cashmere producer. Jennifer decided to purchase silk and cashmere yarn in Mongolia and to invest in state of the art sustain-ably produced cashmere, silk and possum garments made in New Zealand by Untouched World.
To effectively plan ahead, Jennifer needed to purchase these materials in her off season and with a $40,000 price tag she knew she would need financial assistance.
She approached her bank for a business loan and despite being able to show 40% year-on-year growth they weren’t interested in funding her business unless she put her house on the line.
Jennifer felt taken aback and even admits to feeling worthless.
“As a woman running a successful and profitable business, why should I involve my family home, husband or my kids to finance it?” asked Jennifer.
Jennifer spoke to her accountant to find out what her options were and he suggested a small business loan from Spotcap, an alternative finance provider.
“Our accountant referred us to Spotcap and we found the process was easy, pleasant and respectful. Having someone who believed in our business gave us the confidence to hedge our risk, negotiate with suppliers and invest in groundbreaking products to give us an edge over high street retailers,” said Jennifer.
An added benefit of the credit facility is a renewed focus on her financials and bottom line. Jennifer now gives herself monthly goals to meet and regularly checks in on the numbers to ensure they’re met each month.
Jennifer used Spotcap’s credit facility a second time this year and won’t hesitate to use it again if and when she needs it.
Hear it for yourself here:
Originally published August 2 2016 , updated April 12 2019