On 20th April 2015 Gordon McCarty and business partner Jamie Milner registered boutique distribution service Interstoq, having both left roles in the same consumer goods organisation.
Interstoq offers brand development, private label and spot opportunities to FMCG brand owners and distributors. One of its main clients is a large British food manufacturer for which it has successfully opened up new channels in mainland Europe.
Gordon and Jamie provided the initial investment for Interstoq but by summer 2015, the money began to run short. The company was buying and selling plenty of stock, however vital capital was tied up in unpaid customer invoices.
As a fledgling business they were not in a position to turn down new clients, but the payment terms were proving problematic:
“We worked with a large retailer in Holland who wanted 60 day payment terms. For a business of our size, it was essentially swallowing up 50% of our working capital”
In November 2015 Gordon and Jamie decided to sell a percentage of the company to a private investor which provided an injection of cash, allowing the business to continue trading and supporting its growth.
After researching alternative funding providers, they decided to use Close Brothers Invoice Finance as it was felt to be the most flexible and accommodating. Interstoq’s private investor is well known to Close Brothers which gave Gordon confidence they were making the right decision.
“Close Brothers came to see us face to face and took the time to really understand how the business works. We agreed a bespoke contract and we were really impressed with Close Brothers’ flexibility. It’s all going really well and there is cash flowing back into the business much quicker than it was previously.”
Now its funding position has been established, Interstoq is going from strength to strength. In its first year of operation the annual turnover was just short of £2.2 million.
In the first quarter of its new financial year, the business has already achieved £1.4 million, - more than half of the previous year’s entire turnover and the company is now on track to break through £6m in 2017 thanks to the support from Close Brothers.
Interstoq’s key strategic focus is to develop its own brands and will soon be producing consumer coffee pods. They plan to take goods straight into discount retail across European markets and have already secured listings into four retailers. Once the products have been established themselves and further people have been employed to drive more growth, Interstoq will be looking to expand distribution into North America and potentially Australia and Asia.
Gordon said, “We have now set solid foundations for Interstoq, so now it’s about scaling that up. There’s nobody else out there who is rooting for you. You have got to back up your plans with application and believe in yourself.”