Aylesbury specialist merchandise agency secures £1.35 CBILS funding

HMA Creative – image 1

A specialist branded merchandise agency has secured a £1.35 million funding facility from Independent Growth Finance (IGF), which combines a CBILS loan and confidential invoice discounting solution.

HMA Creative provides promotional marketing merchandising to some of the leading drinks brands in the UK, such as Jameson Whiskey, Absolut, and Malibu. The team of product engineers, designers and production managers primarily work in the realm of drinks, beauty and clothing. In recent years, the agency has put emphasis on creating designs for environmentally friendly products and ethical warehouse and distribution practices.

HMA Creative – image 2HMA Creative primarily sources items from manufacturers with long lead times. This can result in client invoice payments coming in months after initial costs are paid. The agency needed to source funding for additional headroom to avoid supplier payment delays as a result of COVID-19. Most customers pay their invoices to terms of 30 or 45 days, but HMA Creative wanted to prepare for the potential risk of late payment and supplier delivery delays.

Sue Hurst, Managing Director of HMA Creative, said: “Initially, we went to a high street bank, but ultimately we needed a more flexible facility to see us through this next chapter. Every day has been different and sprung on new challenges since the start of lockdown. The facility had to be put in place quickly to allow for a 6-month window starting in August and then ramping up to our peak trading in October and November. Not only did this funding give the business a safeguard, it ensured we could keep our team employed ahead of a recession.”

The £50,000 bounce back loan offered by a high street bank didn’t provide what HMA Creative needed. By combining an invoice discounting and CBILS facility, IGF was able to provide three times the funding amount and the flexibility needed for growth.

HMA Creative SueJeff Greenfield, ABL Director at IGF, added “When HMA Creative initially approached us back in March, they were simply looking to see what an ABL provider could offer them as an alternative to the high-street banks. With the onset of lockdown headroom became the primary focus and, within a couple of days, IGF offered a solution that fit their specific requirements. In the end, we built a flexible facility that combined invoice discounting and £150,000 CBILS support.”

IGF commits to a speedy turnaround for an indicative offer to businesses, with the entire credit committee reviewing and committing to an indicative offer within 48 hours. This provided the business with confidence of delivery, despite the uncertainty of the current climate.

While the entertainment industry has been knocked sideways and fewer consumers are visiting physical shops, the agency is still operating under business as usual. The funding provided will allow them to prepare for the next stage of growth.

Sue Hurst added: “The entertainment industry has always been strong and resilient. I have no doubt it will bounce back. It may take some time, which allows us the time right now to build out creative ideas for the coming year.”

Nigel Goodman, Audit Partner at Barnes Roffe, provides tax and accountancy guidance to HMA Creative and was the introducer on the company’s deal with IGF: “This funding has given HMA Creative the headroom to focus on driving the business, rather than firefighting cashflow management. As a result, they’re able to look beyond the challenges of Covid-19 and position themselves to succeed in the future.”