According to the government of Canada, as of 2017, 1.15 (97.9%) of employer businesses in Canada are small businesses – forming the foundation of the Canadian economy.
However, one of the biggest challenges for small business owners is accessing capital. Kunal and Priya are Canadian small business owners that faced this challenge as well. Their business, The London Bespoke Club, provides high-quality custom clothing for their clients and are located in the heart of Toronto’s financial sector.
Similar to thousands of other small business owners, they soon realized that it would be difficult or nearly impossible to get financing from traditional banks. This was alarming because The London Bespoke Club required funds urgently to manage their cash flow – the lifeline of any business.
Kevin Clark and Troy Wright – both former executive bankers at Canadian banks – recognized the struggles of small business owners like Kunal and Priya in accessing capital. This problem was a result of the banks’ unwillingness to take on unestablished businesses with a higher-risk profile that could result in higher loan losses.
To solve this problem, Kevin and Troy co-founded Lendified, an online alternative lender that would able to take on this space to support burgeoning small businesses. Technological advancements like Artificial Intelligence enabled our team at Lendified to quickly process every loan application and get the funding out the door. Our technology allowed Kunal, Priya, and hundreds of Canadian small business owners to get the money they needed to take care of urgent matters.
Though, alternative lending is priced higher than bank loans to account for the higher-risk, we’re able to provide additional value to small businesses which banks cannot. The reality is that small business owners require quick and easy financing solutions to grow and sustain their companies. Yet, bank financing applications are a cumbersome and discriminating process requiring extensive paperwork and weeks if not months of waiting for a high likelihood of rejection.
Many businesses owners simply don’t have the time or resources to go through that disappointing process.
Luckily, through an easy online application, Lendified gets small businesses the funding they need for their development in a matter of days. Consequently, empowering and strengthening the foundation of the Canadian economy.
Kunal’s Acceptance Interview
Lendified awarded The London Bespoke with our First Annual Small Business Award. We sat down with Kunal, the Managing Director of The London Bespoke Club, to get his insights into what it takes running his business with his wife Priya.
Kunal shared “Our passion for this business is hard to describe. With over 10 years of combined experience in bespoke tailoring industry we strive to offer an experience that is unmatched by anyone else. “
Kunal started working Direct Sales in the custom clothing industry 10 years ago. By nurturing the relationships he created, he had a strong customer base for when he began The London Bespoke Club in 2014. For 5 years now their business has been serving their downtown clientele.
The London Bespoke Club had one mission – to create high-quality finished garments for their clients. They didn’t want to give a cookie cutter retail experience and their Bay Street office reflects that. From their cosy couch, stocked kitchen, to the mounds of books on their shelves – their space was built to make their clients feel like they were at home.
What Kunal loves most about being a business owner? The flexibility to make decisions quickly, and getting to know each of his clients. He emphasizes that unlike most retail businesses, his clients are not just a number. He made his office face feel like home so he can get to know each of his clients intimately so he could foster long term relationships with them. Kunal emphasized “it’s important to get to know the client as much as possible. By understanding their interests and personality, we can best create pieces that best fit their needs and sense of style”.
Truly a one-on-one clientele service.
The Cash Flow Challenges of a Small Business Owner
Kunal says he looks at his high-level sales to determine how the business is doing, because they’re not inventory based, but made for order, it makes it easy to track growth in sales.
However, like many retail business owners, managing cash flow is one of the greatest difficulties The London Bespoke Club faces. With sales being their biggest performance metric for them, they can tell which months are more profitable that others. In their slower seasons this sometimes means that their ability to meet their cash needs isn’t always possible.
Financing the London Bespoke Club
In the beginning, The London Bespoke Club funded themselves through the help of friends and family, as well as their personal savings. They explored approaching the banks but soon realized the banks were not going to give a budding retail business a loan. Once their business took off however they were able to reinvest the profits they made into the business and when they were short on cash they were able to find Lendified to meet their cash flow needs.
Kunal shared that they found Lendified through a quick Google search. He said the application was easy and straight forward and as quickly contacted by a Lendified Representative – Alina. “It was super easy, Alina was very communicative and helpful. I appreciated the convenience, ease and smoothness of the process” Kunal commented. Her quick and timely communication helped them understand the terms of their loan and get the funding quickly.
Investing in the Future of their Business
Additionally, they’re beginning to find the custom clothing industry is becoming increasingly competitive. To stay ahead and differentiate themselves, The London Bespoke Club has invested in high-quality material and sells their custom clothing at a higher price-point. Kunal explains that “we’ve invested countless hours partnering with the best fabric suppliers from around the world.” By educating their clients about the quality of the product, their clients are readily willing to invest in a long-lasting piece.
Kunal told us that the thing he is most excited about when thinking about the future of his business is “that’s it’s becoming more than just suits”. He elaborates that “the world of custom clothing is expanding into the entire wardrobe, including custom denim, shoes, knitwear, etc.” He points out that there’s a transition going on with consumers away from fast fashion and instead opting for investing into high-quality garments that will last them years.
Kunal ends with “whether it’s just a regular work suit or perhaps the first suit of the rest of your life, your London Bespoke Club garment is meant to be celebrated. Enjoy your second skin for what it’s worth. It’s something truly special”.